Edmonton's city-building efforts and downtown development growth is no more immediately evident than in the ICE District. It's where the Edmonton of old is shedding its image and embracing the vitality that comes with retail-infused condominiums, offices and hotels, a mixed-use spread supported by the state-of-the-art Rogers Place. And in just 23 short months, the 25-acre development has exploded skywards, giving the city a new tallest building in the process.

ICE District in early 2016, image by Forum contributor Vanveen

An image captured by Forum contributor Vanveen in early 2016 shows the frenzied construction scene from 101 Street NW and 103a Avenue NW. The steel frame of the 27-storey Edmonton Tower had climbed more than halfway towards its final height, as the concrete core poked above. Two yellow tower cranes serviced vertical construction on the east and west elevations. Crews were also in the early stages of installing glazing on the first tower level, covering the floor slabs with opaque spandrel panels. A waterproof membrane covering Rogers Place, prior to the application of cladding, can be seen in the background. The Baccarat Casino at the northwest corner would shine bright for a few more months at least.

ICE District in November 2017, image by Forum contributor Vanveen

Fast forward to November 2017 and we're given a dramatic look at just how much the area has changed in less than two years. Having opened in February, the Edmonton Tower is now complete. Tim Hortons, Gateway Newstands and Cacao 70 joined the list of tenants at the tower, which is 86.5 percent occupied, just a few weeks ago.

The JW Marriott Hotel continues to relentlessly rise into the skyline, and now does so as the city's new tallest building. The edge lighting of Rogers Place accents the arena's swooping roofline in the distance. The only building not glittering in the night is the shuttered Baccarat Casino. In operation for over 20 years, the still-standing gaming complex was closed in the summer of 2016 as the new 60,000-square-foot Grand Villa Casino opened to the west.

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Related Companies:  Architecture | Tkalcic Bengert, City of Edmonton, DIALOG, Hariri Pontarini Architects, HOK, ICE District Properties, Katz Group Properties, Manica Architecture, Marriott International, ONE Properties, Shugarman Architecture + Design, Stantec, Walters Group