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Planning for Paskin: A short history of community-led development in McCauley

Planning for Paskin: A short history of community-led development in McCauley

Posted by: Matt Steringa / August 17, 2020

In 2010, the City of Edmonton put a great deal of work and consideration into the McCauley Revitalization Strategy. Though this report detailed a strong vision based on community recommendations, little development has occurred in McCauley since.

When the Edmonton Community Development Company began its work in 2017, the City of Edmonton donated to the fledgling organization parcels of land in McCauley to be developed along 95 Street and 106 Avenue (including the laydown yard next to the LRT).

Rather than try to create development plans on our own, the Edmonton CDC decided to form the McCauley Concept Design Team, comprising people who live and/or work in McCauley.

Over the course of eight months, the team explored various ideas and considered the planned development in nearby neighbourhoods such as the Stadium Station Area Redevelopment Plan; The Quarters Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan; and The Boyle Street McCauley Area Redevelopment Plan

The Design team also considered information provided by Viva Italia Edmonton, as well as a history of the neighbourhood (shared by those team members who had been living in McCauley for many years). 

With the support of the Edmonton CDC, the team hoped their work would result in development that would:

  • add vitality and pedestrian traffic to the community,
  • extend the commercial corridor of 95 street, and
  • add walkable streets to downtown Edmonton (a development that would contribute to the brand equity of the street) 

The McCauley Concept Design Team wanted to see storefronts, not medical centres or pharmacies (“McCauley has enough of those,” we were told)—nor did they want offices at street level, since that wouldn’t support walkability.

They wanted the development to retain an old-world look and feel, and to facilitate ownership through, for instance, a mix of living space above commercial space below.

It was important, they said, to have an economical build, without sacrificing design—incorporating, perhaps, some affordable, “shoe-box” commercial spaces. 

At the direction of the McCauley Design Team, the Edmonton CDC researched such ideas as:

The Edmonton CDC conducted interviews with people involved in similar businesses in Edmonton and elsewhere so that the Team could learn more and eventually narrow the choices down to a few options to be put forward for feedback from the community.

The research and discussions were undertaken over the course of eight months and led to three concepts: a makers’ space, a food emporium, and a hardware store.

Rather than commission architectural renderings, the Edmonton CDC contracted local artist Emily Chu to sketch the three illustrated concepts (so that people would focus on the concepts rather than the particulars of the structural design).

Above, left to right: Concept sketches of the food emporium, makers’ space, and hardware store.

After a long hiatus (due first to our increased priorities with the McCauley Development Cooperative, and later due to the COVID pandemic), the Edmonton CDC decided to move ahead with an online survey and virtual engagement sessions

Upon completion of the feedback sessions and a tally of the survey results, the Edmonton CDC will reconvene the McCauley Concept Design Team to finalize the development concept.

Depending on the chosen concept, tenants and/or owners will be recruited to participate in the development’s design with a goal to build an affordable structure that is  in line with the vision of the McCauley Design Team.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with this project, please sign up for the Edmonton CDC newsletter, visit the CDC blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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