Back in early 2013, even before the deal that would kick-start a revitalization of the north edge of downtown Edmonton with a new NHL arena for the Oilers was signed, construction was already well underway on Westrich Pacific’s Ultima tower — a 32-storey residential highrise — just one block from the site of the future arena.

Ultima with Rogers Place under construction one block north, image by Dave Sutherland

This week City Ambassador Daveography took a guided photo-tour of the 109-metre tower, which recently topped off.

The view of one of the upper floors, awaiting framing, image by Dave Sutherland

Soon-to-be residents of the tower will be located right on the doorstep of the now under-construction ‘ICE District,’ a massive new entertainment district spread over 25 acres of former parking lots, itself comprising three new towers (two of which will become Edmonton’s tallest buildings when completed), and anchored by the sleek new Rogers Place arena.

The ICE District as seen from the construction skip, image by Dave Sutherland

Ultima is located in the city’s historical red brick-dominated Warehouse District, just steps away from a variety of restaurants at the Boardwalk next door.

Restaurants on the Boardwalk are right outside the front door, image by Dave Sutherland

With the construction crane disassembled and the brick portion of the facade — designed to tie the building into the historical aesthetic of the neighbourhood — now complete, the sidewalk hoarding is now coming down, finally allowing curious passersby a glimpse at how the podium meets the street.

The podium level is revealed, image by Dave Sutherland

The two-storey retail portion of the podium will soon be enclosed in glass, adding over 5,600 square feet of new retail space to 103 Street and will help connect the new ICE District with the Boardwalk and the downtown core.

Above that space, the third and fourth floors were originally designed to house offices, but have instead been built into four residential live-work lofts ranging from 765 to 922 square feet, with each boasting 10-foot ceilings.

One of the kitchen options available to residents, image by Dave Sutherland

Interior construction of ‘Villa Residences’ on floors 4 to 8 is well underway, with installation of the kitchen cabinets, glass-tile backsplash, sinks, and countertops helping to demonstrate how many of the suites will look and feel when completed.

Living room area bathed in natural light, image by Dave Sutherland

The triple-paned windows that wrap the building extend nearly the entire nine-foot height of each floor, allowing an abundance of natural light into every suite.

Barbeque area at the 9th floor amenity space, image by Dave Sutherland

On the ninth floor above the Villa suites, residents will be able to enjoy amenities such as an outdoor barbeque overlooking the ICE District, work out at the indoor gym, unwind by the indoor-outdoor fireplace and wet bar, relax in the outdoor hot tub, or sit at one of the many outdoor seating areas available.

Ninth floor amenity space including indoor-outdoor fireplace, image by Dave Sutherland

Further up the tower, suites are being framed, utilities and services are being run, and elevators are being readied to shuttle residents and their belongings into their new homes.

The tower units have largely unobstructed views of the city, thanks to the low-rise nature of the surrounding warehouse buildings. Every unit in the building (other than the podium lofts) has a private patio with a natural gas hookup for a barbeque.

Access to one of the tower patios, facing west, image by Dave Sutherland

Did we mention the views? The large, two-storey penthouse suites offer unparalleled panoramas.

The view from the Penthouse loft, looking south and west, image by Dave Sutherland

The first residents are expected to be able to take possession and move in over the summer of 2016, helping to bring life to Edmonton’s growing downtown scene.

Ultima, image by Dave Sutherland

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