Exhibition Lands Redevelopment | ?m | ?s | City of Edmonton

Bottom line is that, legally speaking, there's not a lot to do to repurpose it that is not too expensive in terms of CAPEX. Is it short sighted? Maybe, but it is also a little bit of financial caution, exacerbated by the fact that nothing has been done in over four years, so people are desperate for a quick answer to their problems, and that puts some extra degree of pressure on council members
Also, I'm not sure if any of the private groups that expressed interest in repurposing it were going to do so with 100% private funding (correct me if I'm wrong).
I know of two groups who weren't looking for City (or any other government help) in their proposals. I know that in ours we were just asking the City to deduct the cost of demolition (which they were planning on proceeding with) from the value of the land contiguous with the Coliseum site -- a reasonable ask considering the City's financial position. As is typical City had it's 😴up its own (roughly rhymes with 🍎).
I'm a bit disappointed to read that Ashley Salvador wants the Coliseum demolished. I had such high hopes for her.
Still have high hopes man, this is just one point where her perspective may differ with yours.
Considering the previous Council already voted to demolish it, I feel any opinions at this point don't mean as much (unless they feel strongly enough where they want to overturn that previous decision).
I wrote to several councillors about that because the premise was the city said it's hands are tied because of the OEG's restrictions. So then I contacted Tim Shipton and he said they are only opposed to using the space as a competing venue for events but none of the proposals for the coliseum were in violation of that. So saying OEG was a barrier was a false narrative.
Coun McKeen and Esslinger both said at that time (2021) that nothing has been finalized regarding the demolition. I have McKeen's email from earlier this year saying that.

Edmonton’s Exhibition Lands Transformation

Please accept this letter as confirmation of our interest in working with the City of Edmonton on the redevelopment of the Exhibition Lands.

PRIMAVERA Development Group Inc. (PRIMAVERA) was established in 2016 to engage in the development of high value added commercial real estate projects and to provide strategic commercial real estate development consulting services and representation to a select group of local, national and international clients in both the private and public sectors. All PRIMAVERA projects are selected with the twin objectives of undertaking successful projects and enhancing our reputation for doing the right things for the right reasons.

PRIMAVERA’s role would be handled personally by Kenneth L. Cantor, PRIMAVERA’s President and Owner. A copy of Ken’s CV is attached hereto as Schedule “A”. Ken’s extensive background in the commercial real estate development industry has included the successful delivery of a wide range of large and intricate projects with multiple stakeholders including both greenfield and brownfield projects. The most common theme amongst those projects has been his ability to assemble and manage the large and diverse teams necessary for their successful delivery.

PRIMAVERA believes Edmonton’s Exhibition Lands have the potential to be an extremely successful real estate development project. We also believe they can be much more than just a successful real estate development project. The Exhibition Lands have the potential to be a good neighbor to three distinct adjacent communities by providing sensitive transitions, amenities and employment. They also have the potential to be a regional economic driver anchoring and hosting a range of diverse business and industry clusters.

Each of the eight Guiding Principles outlined in the RFEOI was embedded in our development philosophy and approach to the Exhibition Lands’ transformation as we progressed from conceptual design charrettes through master planning for the entire site; building and design precedent image selection; construction feasibility analysis; precedent legal and financial delivery models etc. We believe one of the most exciting possible opportunities is the potential of connecting and integrating EXPO Hall with the Coliseum. At a high level, this would create a single site out of what is now effectively two completely separate parcels. Operationally, the proposed uses for these spaces would complement and work with existing City and private sector facilities. Furthermore, it is PRIMAVERA’s understanding that this would allow the City to acquire needed facilities previously recommended in other reports at a substantial discount. None of the spaces would compete with existing facilities nor would any of the proposed uses contravene the intent of City agreements with other parties.

The lands east and north of the Coliseum would be redeveloped with hotel and fine grain retail and service uses providing neighborhood amenities as well as sensitive transitions. Those plans would also allow the potential “decoupling” of Wayne Gretzky Drive northbound and southbound as part of the Yellowhead Trail upgrade implementation. This would convert existing road alignments along with underutilized commercial and industrial sites north of 118th Avenue into additional contiguous and higher property tax-paying uses than they currently support.

EXPO Hall would be retained with some reconfiguration including bridge connections to the Coliseum incorporating additional hotel, and concourse retail and meeting spaces. The race track would make way for office and mixed-use developments with shared loading and transition spaces. The west end of this space would be kept free of building development and be reserved for festival and outdoor activities that would also be attractive for events looking to showcase big equipment (anything from helicopters to construction equipment to farm combines). This would present the site through open and inviting view corridors as an active destination to those on the west side of the LRT alignment as well as those riding the LRT. This space would incorporate overflow parking on an as-needed basis as well as being able to host events like Klondike days which in turn would allow for higher profile/higher density redevelopment of the east end of that portion of the lands adjacent to Wayne Gretzky Drive. From there moving further south, development would transition from mixed use spaces to purely residential with a range of heights and product type as the redevelopment transitions in scale to Borden Park.

While a comprehensive development plan like this may be the most ambitious concept for the Exhibition Lands, when broken down to individual components, there is current demand for all of them and the fact they can be complementary and sensitive to each other should result in a shorter development time-frame than attempting to redevelop the site as entirely commercial or entirely residential. This approach is also the most environmentally as well as financially sustainable alternative. It maximizes the incorporation of existing structures and site servicing rather than spending tens of millions of dollars demolishing buildings that still have considerable usable life simply to convert them to vacant land. This is reinforced with neither the Exhibition Lands nor the City of Edmonton having any shortage of vacant underutilized land already without having to create even more. Furthermore, it is PRIMAVERA’s belief that the Exhibition Lands in general and the Coliseum in particular represent unique opportunities with attributes and potential that would - if leveraged and not demolished – allow the site to be developed without competing directly with other large municipal and private sector development in the City of Edmonton. Integrated properly, the appropriate repurposing of existing structures and servicing would retain and reinforce positive individual and collective memories and attachments that would add social capital to the overall redevelopment.

PRIMAVERA is aware of several other parties interested in repurposing the Coliseum either as part of the overall transformation of the Exhibition Lands or in repurposing the Coliseum on a “stand-alone” basis independent of development activities elsewhere on the lands. Having already met with some of the principals and other stakeholders involved in those concepts, we would like to confirm that we would be pleased to work with them as well to integrate some of those components within the overall master development concepts outlined herein.

PRIMAVERA has a full development team interested in pursuing this opportunity that includes a design team led by a past president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and one of the 6th largest contractors in North America along with the legal and management expertise to undertake project delivery in both traditional and non-traditional methods. We would be pleased to meet with the City to discuss some of these options as well as the “next steps” going forward noting that (a) the detailed information that we have assembled and developed to date is not included in this RFEOI Submission as ownership of the Intellectual Property it incorporates and relies on is not available for transfer to the City and (b) if discussing any of the previously mentioned detailed planning; building and design details; construction feasibility analysis; potential precedent legal and financial delivery models etc. at this time would, in the City’s opinion, make them part of the submission, discussions at that level would have to be postponed until such time as the City is in a position to respect those ownership rights.

This submission is made in accordance with the originally issued RFEOI documents and the subsequently issued Addendum Number 1 and does not rely on any oral information provided by the City or its representatives and PRIMAVERA represents and warrants that there is no conflict of interest under any of the definitions thereof as outlined in Section 11 of the RFEOI.

Should you have any questions or require and clarification regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Yours very truly,

PRIMAVERA Development Group

Kenneth L. Cantor, President

Honorary Member, Alberta Association of Architects"

emphasis in the third to last paragraph has been added for clarity.
just wanted to bump this post again by Ken

So two new LRT stations and neither of them close to the major convention venue. Why are our planners pushing TOD's but then not making sure that the LRT links well with major venues (Expo center, New west end rec center)
The one station is half a block from the convention centre? While I agree about Lewis Farms, I think you're grasping at straws here.
So two new LRT stations and neither of them close to the major convention venue. Why are our planners pushing TOD's but then not making sure that the LRT links well with major venues (Expo center, New west end rec center)
Both Blatchford stations? Is that your reference? If it is, of course now it seems ridiculous, but these are the next steps to get the Metro line to Boudreau
So two new LRT stations and neither of them close to the major convention venue. Why are our planners pushing TOD's but then not making sure that the LRT links well with major venues (Expo center, New west end rec center)
Looks like 10min walks, not accounting for probably a lot better pedestrian paths once this area redevelops. Its not right on the doorstep, but I wouldn't say unreasonable.

I can see in winter it being less ideal if the 5-8 minutes is outside.

But they can't do 3 stations, it's too many, and only doing 1 right next to the events centre wouldn't really make the SW or NW parcels TOD. Now they would be 10 minute walks. And residents are more important than tourists or event attendees id say. People can walk 10mins for the occasional conference, road show, concert, event vs 10mins multiple times a day from a condo will push people to rent/buy elsewhere

As someone who works at the EXPO Centre, I don't mind the distance, but PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD make a better more direct connection from the station to the building,
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