Building Magazine


Landscape architects named for St. Patrick’s Island redevelopment

After leading an exhaustive two-year public engagement process, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) announced the selection of New York-based W Architecture and Denver-based CIVITAS as the landscape development team that will realize the master plan vision for St. Patrick’s Island. Selected by an evaluation committee through a competitive process last summer, W/CIVITAS trumped 17 submissions from across North America with its extensive experience in waterfront design.

“We liked their approach right from the start,” said Michael Brown, CMLC’s president and CEO. “Their interpretation of our vision was right on the mark, and reflects what the public has told us over and over again. Calgarians want St. Patrick’s Island to retain its natural beauty, but also want to make the island safer, more accessible and more user-friendly.”

CMLC announced the master plan framework for St. Patrick’s Island last July, after 6,100 Calgarians provided feedback through meetings, open houses, surveys and a St. Patrick’s Island advisory committee. That feedback included the desire to keep the 31-acre island unique, to consider flexible and multi-use designs, to address social and security issues, to make the island an all-season destination and to provide balanced programming and amenities. For W/CIVITAS, a team with more than 50 waterfront projects under its belt, the public’s vision for St. Patrick’s Island resonated with its own.

“We were really inspired by Calgarians’ deep appreciation of St. Patrick’s Island,” said Mark Johnson, CIVITAS founder.  “We want to restore the island so that it’s a place to celebrate near where this city began. Our goal is to create a living island.”

The proposed core developments on the island include restoring the lagoon between St. Patrick’s Island and St. George’s Island; enhanced river access; a watercraft launching and landing area; nature trails and boardwalks; festival and performance spaces; and informal picnicking and play spaces. The immediate next steps for W/CIVITAS involve creating a detailed design concept and undergoing a round of regulatory approvals at the local, provincial and federal levels.  Development of the island is anticipated to begin in 2013.

Meanwhile, preparation for construction of a new pedestrian bridge linking St. Patrick’s Island to East Village on the south and Bridgeland on the north is already underway.  Graham Construction, the same team that successfully partnered with CMLC to deliver the 4th Street SE Underpass on time and on budget, will be building the new bridge. The combined cost of the island redevelopment and bridge construction is $45 million.

To date, CMLC has invested $150 million of infrastructure improvements throughout the Rivers District – which includes the east end of Calgary and has attracted $650 million in private investment. A residential sales program was launched last month by the area’s mixed use multi-family developers, EMBASSY Bosa and FRAM+Slokker.

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