Since 2009, when Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) first unveiled the master plan for East Village, several tangible achievements have been made, including infrastructure upgrades; heritage building restorations; public art installations; the 4th Street Underpass and two of the RiverWalk’s four kilometres; deals to turn the King Eddie into the National Music Centre and the Simmons Building into a foodie destination; plans for a New Central Library to the East Village books; built deals with Embassy BOSA and Fram + Slokker Developments that will open the door to nearly 1,300 new residential units; and collaborated with RioCan to establish a 300,000 sq. ft. urban shopping centre here in East Village.
More than 70 per cent of CMLC’s available development parcels are now sold, and CMLC has outlined their goals for East Village moving forward. They include:
• Divestment of a parcel of land for East Village’s first new rental apartment complex;
• Announcement of the neighbourhood’s first multi-family project by a local developer (Spring 2014);
• Grand opening of the new St. Patrick’s Island Bridge (Fall 2014)
• Site work and encapsulation of the LRT tracks, which will pass under the New Central Library (NCL);
• Public unveiling of the final and approved schematic design for the New Central Library (Fall 2014);
• Construction start of the new 300 room, dual branded, Hilton Hotel (Spring 2014);
• Anticipated sale of 300 residential units (following the sale of 230 in 2013); approximately $230 million of residential product has sold in East Village in the past 24 months;
• Advancement of the construction program called the Crossroads; a landscaping program which integrates RiverWalk with the base of the new St. Patrick’s Island Bridge.
The East Village redevelopment program is made possible by a financing model called Community Revitalization Levy (CRL). The CRL is similar to ‘tax incremental financing’ and is a mechanism by which property tax revenues – from new development – are accessed by the corporation, to put approved infrastructure improvements in place. The CRL catchment area considers the Rivers District area of Calgary, a 309 acre region in Calgary’s east end, of which the East Village community is 49 acres.
To date, CMLC has committed $260 million of improvements (which includes a commitment of $70 million to the New Central Library project) in the area and has attracted nearly $1.6 billion of new development in the community. This number is expected to grow as the remaining development parcels are sold and activated.
CMLC has also released a new 3D rendering of what they consider is a realistic view of what East Village will look like in a few years from now.