The 1953-built Augustana Lutheran Church at 9901 107 Street NW has met the wrecking ball to make way for a 30-storey residential tower, marking the end of an era for one of Edmonton's most storied downtown churches. The death knell of the modest structure came at the end of 2014 when the congregation — which arose from the First Swedish Lutheran Church of 1929 — amalgamated with the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church on 51 Avenue. Augustana's welcome sign now graces that church, while other places of worship across Western Canada are adopting the physical remnants of the property. The front doors have been fashioned into a table for Christ Lutheran Church in Rhein, Saskatchewan, while a church in Manitoba has received its well-used pews. And revenue from the sale has gone to several Edmonton charities, ensuring that the physical and cultural legacy of the church continues to live on.

The doomed Augustana Lutheran Church, image by Forum contributor Daveography

The 96-metre-tall, 30-storey replacement structure by Pangman Development Corporation was designed by DIALOG and will contain a maximum of 235 studio, one-, and two-bedroom units. A three-storey podium will encourage an animated streetscape by incorporating commercial uses along the 99 and 107 Avenue frontages. Residential amenity facilities are set to be located on the second floor, with the podium and tower rooftops also privately accessible. Residences should expect some mesmerizing views of the Alberta Legislature, which is located just a short walk away. The development will also require a substantial excavation to accommodate 148 parking spaces spanning five underground levels. 

The 30-storey Augustana Church Redevelopment, image via Pangman Development

The proximity of Corona Light Rail Transit Station, located only 400 metres from the site, speaks to the property's central location, where high-density, retail-inclusive projects like this are generally encouraged. But the loss of the building raises questions about the operation of churches within an ever-evolving urban society. The repeal of the infamous Airport Protection Overlay opened up the ceiling to new never-before-reached heights, paving the way for the Stantec Tower to move forward. Prime downtown land is now more valuable than ever before. As developers look to purchase relatively easy sites to work with, where development potential is elevated, low-slung commercial and cultural properties will need to rethink how they fit within the densifying cityscape that surrounds them. 

The podium of the residential tower, image via Pangman Development

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