Council approves land sale to make way for 80-storey Alldritt Tower

Council approves land sale to make way for 80-storey Alldritt Tower

An 80-storey tower proposed for Jasper Avenue next to the Shaw Conference Centre is a step closer to construction after council agreed to sell the lot to the developer Tuesday.  

The Quarters Hotel and Residence, also known as the Alldritt Tower, would easily be the tallest building in Edmonton.

City council has been debating for months whether or not to sell the land on the embankment above Louise McKinney Park to the developer, worried that if the tower did not go ahead, the city would lose control of the lot. 

But in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, council decided to go ahead with the sale.

At least one councillor voted against the sale.

Michael Walters said he worries about the loss of parkland in the downtown area, despite the developer's promise to build two publicly accessible parks into its design.

"I just wasn't satisfied that this deal ... was sufficient to ensure we got the quality park we wanted, that was aligned with the vision we have for the Quarters," he said.

His concerns echo those of many downtown-area residents unhappy with the location of the tower, saying it will obstruct access to and views of the river valley.

Coun. Andrew Knack, who voted in favour of the sale, said that had also been one of his concerns but he doesn't feel the same way anymore.

"I think what had been proposed yesterday actually covered off what I had been concerned about and that had been, in my opinion, likely the biggest issue," he said.

Knack said he's not worried the sale will set a precedent leading to selling off more public land.

 "This was a very unique situation," he said. "It's not like a developer came in and said, 'Hey we want to buy up all of this city-owned parkland and put a tower on it.'

"The fact is the city owns some of the land, but then Alldritt owns a significant majority of the other land."

​A public hearing on the rezoning of the land is scheduled at city hall on April 24.

The tower would be the tallest in Edmonton, much higher than the 66-storey Stantec Tower, which is expected to open in 2018.