Opening a new $80-million parkade during a pandemic might seem counterintuitive but the City of Calgary says the building is ready to go — so it's open for business.
The Platform Innovation Centre and parkade on Ninth Avenue in East Village is a different kind of parkade.
There is office space on two levels. It also has a sport court, bicycle parking, stalls for charging electric vehicles and some scenic views of the neighbourhood.
The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, which acted as the project manager, has handed the keys to the Calgary Parking Authority.
CMLC president and CEO Kate Thompson said after two and a half years of construction, the building was completed on time and on budget.
She said unlike other parkades, this building will have a future beyond parking if it's no longer needed for vehicles.
"We allowed this project to have higher floor-to-floor heights so that in the future, you could have a residence or an office or whatever the future holds and to do that, you need mechanical and electrical space and more space above what a car would require to allow for that conversion," she said.
More than one purpose
The acting general manager of the Calgary Parking Authority, Moe Houssaini, said while the pandemic is keeping many people away from downtown right now, there is a need for parking in the East Village.
The new parkade is across the street from the downtown library and a short walk away from the National Music Centre's Studio Bell as well as other attractions in the East Village.
He said it's a different kind of parkade.
"This Platform project offered us an opportunity to re-imagine how parking structures can be redesigned and delivered, to be more than single-use buildings," said Houssaini.
Platform Calgary will take up the 50,000 square feet of office space in the building. Its president and CEO Terry Rock said it will move into the space later this year.
He said Platform and its 50-plus partners will use it as an innovation hub for Calgary's burgeoning technology sector.
"East Village is really becoming Calgary's innovation district. In this neighbourhood, you've got new companies being formed," said Rock. "It's an 'all-in-one' place that's really representing the future of the city."
He said Platform's goal is to triple the size of Calgary's tech sector over the next 10 years.
The parkade has 503 vehicle parking spots, including six electric vehicle chargers with room for expansion.
There are 99 bicycle parking spots with 60 reserved/secured spaces as well as 39 spots available to the public at no charge.