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