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What do you think of this project?


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David A

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I’m a big DT booster. But idk how Calgary and Vancouver aren’t seen as better DTs. You can choose our best street and compare to one of their worst. But a random sample of 20 street blocks in all 3 cities would have Edmonton DT looking the worst almost every time. A lot of that is just density, maturity. We’ll get there slowly.

We have great pockets in our core. I can give my friends a good 5 stops DT that impress. But just randomly walking around without knowing where to go and Edmonton doesn’t shine too bright. Whereas Vancouver you have gorgeous vegetation, cool shops, and sweet buildings on most streets DT at this point. Hence the Broadway plan and other cores building up in north van, Burnaby, Richmond.
First of all we (and Calgary) do have a very different climate than Vancouver, all that rain keeps things very green there and gets rid of any dust. Vancouver also has severe geographic physical limitations - their downtown is on a peninsula, so it is dense and getting denser. On the down side, housing affordability is terrible there. Probably over 90% of Canadians couldn't afford to live comfortably in downtown Vancouver if they wanted to. So it has become a retirement location for better of Canadians and attracts wealthy foreigners - a gated community without the gates - a gentrified, Disneyfied version of a downtown. It looks nice.

On the other hand, we could really use fewer of those surface parking lots downtown and I wish that would be the focus for building new buildings (such as most of Ice District). The abundance of parking lots and empty lots is what makes things here somewhat disjointed.
 

Gronk!

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The day after

20220527_191840.jpg



Pedway between Stantec and the Connect Centre, and 2 hosers

20220527_192307.jpg
 

Vijay19

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I think one of DT Edmonton’s biggest problems is the absence of any decent streetscaping to make it pedestrian enticing. With the exception of a couple of pockets (104St and Rice Howard Way) half the trees look dead, it has inadequate and ugly lighting, there are no nice places to sit, the sidewalks are narrow/ugly/crumbling and there are very few places/businesses to sit outside to be engaged with the street. I think it is going to take a serious chunk of cash to remedy this problem, so I think it’s going to be a long time before we see anything remotely close to Calgary or Vancouvers downtowns. Sorry but I think anyone who thinks our downtown competes with Calgary’s or Vancouver’s is exhibiting hometown pride and grasping at straws, which is fair.
 
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thommyjo

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First of all we (and Calgary) do have a very different climate than Vancouver, all that rain keeps things very green there and gets rid of any dust. Vancouver also has severe geographic physical limitations - their downtown is on a peninsula, so it is dense and getting denser. On the down side, housing affordability is terrible there. Probably over 90% of Canadians couldn't afford to live comfortably in downtown Vancouver if they wanted to. So it has become a retirement location for better of Canadians and attracts wealthy foreigners - a gated community without the gates - a gentrified, Disneyfied version of a downtown. It looks nice.

On the other hand, we could really use fewer of those surface parking lots downtown and I wish that would be the focus for building new buildings (such as most of Ice District). The abundance of parking lots and empty lots is what makes things here somewhat disjointed.
As expensive as it is, I still have 20+ friends who live DT and make under 65k. 2-2.5k for rent isn’t cheap. But still very doable without a car and if you’re starting your career. It’s more the actual home ownership that’s impossible there. And I think it’s the impossible home ownership that pushes more young people to spend 5+ years in their core first before bailing to Langley or Kelowna.

Whereas 90% of my friends in Edmonton go from their parents to maybe a basement suite for a bit, then buy a 350-500k house before 27. They spend no season of life DT. Where a lot of Toronto and Vancouver benefit from a ton of young people investing 5 years in the core.

To get back in topic, my hope is that projects like this, with grocery stores and other amenities, and so close to something like rogers that does draw suburbanites into the core temporarily, it will help turn the tide. I have a few friends looking to rent DT soon, they’re stoked about this grocer and are looking more CBD than Oliver because of this and ice district.
 

occidentalcapital

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I think one of DT Edmonton’s biggest problems is the absence of any decent streetscaping to make it pedestrian enticing. With the exception of a couple of pockets (104St and Rice Howard Way) half the trees look dead, it has inadequate and ugly lighting, there are no nice places to sit, the sidewalks are narrow/ugly/crumbling and there are very few places/businesses to sit outside to be engaged with the street. I think it is going to take a serious chunk of cash to remedy this problem, so I think it’s going to be a long time before we see anything remotely close to Calgary or Vancouvers downtowns. Sorry but I think anyone who thinks our downtown competes with Calgary’s or Vancouver’s is exhibiting hometown pride and grasping at straws, which is fair.
I don't think a polished look necessarily makes a "good" downtown. Have you been to Montreal? To me, that's more what we should aspire to. Lots of old/grunge/brutalist/graffiti/street art mixed with good contemporary architecture. Vancouver feels pretty sanitized and lifeless in comparison. Edmonton has the older bones to achieve that urban look, but we need to smarten up and start building more streetwall and, yes, I agree that we need to do more sidewalk cleaning.
 

Oilers99

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As expensive as it is, I still have 20+ friends who live DT and make under 65k. 2-2.5k for rent isn’t cheap. But still very doable without a car and if you’re starting your career. It’s more the actual home ownership that’s impossible there. And I think it’s the impossible home ownership that pushes more young people to spend 5+ years in their core first before bailing to Langley or Kelowna.

Whereas 90% of my friends in Edmonton go from their parents to maybe a basement suite for a bit, then buy a 350-500k house before 27. They spend no season of life DT. Where a lot of Toronto and Vancouver benefit from a ton of young people investing 5 years in the core.

To get back in topic, my hope is that projects like this, with grocery stores and other amenities, and so close to something like rogers that does draw suburbanites into the core temporarily, it will help turn the tide. I have a few friends looking to rent DT soon, they’re stoked about this grocer and are looking more CBD than Oliver because of this and ice district.

The issue is that at $65k, then after taxes $2-2.5k for rent essentially leaves you with zero spending money. Your reasoning above is exactly why Edmonton still works from an affordability perspective.
 

IanO

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'Whereas 90% of my friends in Edmonton go from their parents to maybe a basement suite for a bit, then buy a 350-500k house before 27. They spend no season of life DT. Where a lot of Toronto and Vancouver benefit from a ton of young people investing 5 years in the core.'

This is the bigger takeaway.
 

ChazYEG

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'Whereas 90% of my friends in Edmonton go from their parents to maybe a basement suite for a bit, then buy a 350-500k house before 27. They spend no season of life DT. Where a lot of Toronto and Vancouver benefit from a ton of young people investing 5 years in the core.'

This is the bigger takeaway.
My big takeaway is that the suburbanite mentality that more space is always necessarily better is a plague that has taken North America for decades and will take twice as long to eradicate.
 

David A

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As expensive as it is, I still have 20+ friends who live DT and make under 65k. 2-2.5k for rent isn’t cheap. But still very doable without a car and if you’re starting your career. It’s more the actual home ownership that’s impossible there. And I think it’s the impossible home ownership that pushes more young people to spend 5+ years in their core first before bailing to Langley or Kelowna.

Whereas 90% of my friends in Edmonton go from their parents to maybe a basement suite for a bit, then buy a 350-500k house before 27. They spend no season of life DT. Where a lot of Toronto and Vancouver benefit from a ton of young people investing 5 years in the core.

To get back in topic, my hope is that projects like this, with grocery stores and other amenities, and so close to something like rogers that does draw suburbanites into the core temporarily, it will help turn the tide. I have a few friends looking to rent DT soon, they’re stoked about this grocer and are looking more CBD than Oliver because of this and ice district.
I agree completely with the point on amenities, basic things like a grocery store within walking distance are important (something Oliver has had for a long time but not the CBD). However, I am not sure high suburban housing prices trapping people downtown is really beneficial in the long run. Rent is also much higher in Vancouver and average wages are a bit lower. Eventually many families outgrow the small downtown apartment or condo and look elsewhere (ie. other cities or provinces) to places where larger places are more affordable.
 

thommyjo

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Yeah. I’m not sure if long term the transience of DT Van and Toronto are actually good for human flourishing and families/people.

But from a pure DT vibrancy perspective, having thousands of people spend 3-10 years in your downtown, using transit/filling condos/eating out/activating streets/engaging with events/festivals, before they buy a more family oriented home, makes a big difference.

And I don’t think it’s just surbabnite thinking. Although that’s real. It’s also just familiarity and relational networks. A lot of my friends grew up in St. Albert and the SW, so that’s where their parents and friends are. Moving DT actually creates a large drive to access those relationships. Especially if they don’t work DT. If you’re a teacher or tradesperson or nurse and your existing city relationships are outside the core, and you can afford to rent or buy outside DT (often actually cheaper in Edmonton), DT would have to be suuuuuper attractive to move there.

Where in Vancouver, either 1) people move out from parents’ in burbs and head DT for work, good transit/don’t need car, to be a part of the city vibe and to enjoy the ocean. 2) move to Vancouver from another city and therefore don’t have relational ties, which makes living DT very convenient.

I think the lack of DT jobs drawing people to Edmonton is a key challenge. Most people that move to a city for an office job want to be somewhat close to the core and transit. But a lot of our worker migration is linked to the trades and more industrial/rural gigs. So people come from other provinces, buy in ellerslie, and work in Nisku. Vs move from Edmonton to Toronto and rent on Yonge street to subway to DT and work at RBC or Google.

Also, if you can afford a home, people will try to buy one. Whether true or not, most assume it’s the best financial decision. Especially with the gains in recent years, that’s created lots of fomo. If you cant afford anything except a condo, DT becomes a better options in most cities. Until our home prices jump above 800ish, and we have more condos that are new/stylish and under 600, I don’t see many choosing condos. I would have loved to live DT when moving back last year after selling in Toronto. But the financials don’t make sense. 500k infill house next to future LrT stop with a basement suite. Or 500k for 2bdrm 800sqft in encore. In 10 years time, the infill leaves us likely tens of thousands, if not 150-200k better off. Especially cause we would still need a car DT to visit friends/family.

A lot of this is just anecdotal. So I’m not saying it’s 100% true. But from living and working in edm/van/tor and still being in my mid 20s, these seems to be some common trends from talking to and observing peers.
 
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Oilers99

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Yeah. I’m not sure if long term the transience of DT Van and Toronto are actually good for human flourishing and families/people.

But from a pure DT vibrancy perspective, having thousands of people spend 3-10 years in your downtown, using transit/filling condos/eating out/activating streets/engaging with events/festivals, before they buy a more family oriented home, makes a big difference.

And I don’t think it’s just surbabnite thinking. Although that’s real. It’s also just familiarity and relational networks. A lot of my friends grew up in St. Albert and the SW, so that’s where their parents and friends are. Moving DT actually creates a large drive to access those relationships. Especially if they don’t work DT. If you’re a teacher or tradesperson or nurse and your existing city relationships are outside the core, and you can afford to rent or buy outside DT (often actually cheaper in Edmonton), DT would have to be suuuuuper attractive to move there.

Where in Vancouver, either 1) people move out from parents’ in burbs and head DT for work, good transit/don’t need car, to be a part of the city vibe and to enjoy the ocean. 2) move to Vancouver from another city and therefore don’t have relational ties, which makes living DT very convenient.

I think the lack of DT jobs drawing people to Edmonton is a key challenge. Most people that move to a city for an office job want to be somewhat close to the core and transit. But a lot of our worker migration is linked to the trades and more industrial/rural gigs. So people come from other provinces, buy in ellerslie, and work in Nisku. Vs move from Edmonton to Toronto and rent on Yonge street to subway to DT and work at RBC or Google.

Also, if you can afford a home, people will try to buy one. Whether true or not, most assume it’s the best financial decision. Especially with the gains in recent years, that’s created lots of fomo. If you cant afford anything except a condo, DT becomes a better options in most cities. Until our home prices jump above 800ish, and we have more condos that are new/stylish and under 600, I don’t see many choosing condos. I would have loved to live DT when moving back last year after selling in Toronto. But the financials don’t make sense. 500k infill house next to future LrT stop with a basement suite. Or 500k for 2bdrm 800sqft in encore. In 10 years time, the infill leaves us likely tens of thousands, if not 150-200k better off. Especially cause we would still need a car DT to visit friends/family.

A lot of this is just anecdotal. So I’m not saying it’s 100% true. But from living and working in edm/van/tor and still being in my mid 20s, these seems to be some common trends from talking to and observing peers.

If home prices jump above $800, condos will not stay below $600. New condos are $350-500 depending on square footage with home prices avg home prices around ~$450. Home prices that high are not something we should want. Developers actually would not want prices this high as well.
 

IanO

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Part of the issue is the delta between condos and houses. Until we see 200-300k differentials and average house prices over $600k, condos will remain a lifestyle choice versus one of the only options. THAT changes the game.
 

Oilers99

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Part of the issue is the delta between condos and houses. Until we see 200-300k differentials and average house prices over $600k, condos will remain a lifestyle choice versus one of the only options. THAT changes the game.

I don't believe we will see these deltas because as house prices rise so too will the cost to produce them which will also see condos have their prices rise.
 

thommyjo

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I don't believe we will see these deltas because as house prices rise so too will the cost to produce them which will also see condos have their prices rise.
Why are condos 600-800 in Vancouver then, while homes are often 1.3-2mil minimum? The construction costs are much higher there.

Calgary also has much more affordable new condos. 250-450k. We have so few new ones DT that they all seem to be 400+ minimum.

SFH prices are increasing at a greater rate than condos. So that suggests the delta will keep growing.
 

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