This week's Throwback Thursday takes us back nearly a decade, to when one of Edmonton's tallest buildings was still mostly a hole in the ground.
Designed by Kasian and built for the utilities company that would become its namesake, Qualico Commercial's EPCOR Tower now also houses many other companies including the headquarters for Intuit, and is soon to be the new home of video game makers Bioware as well.
In February of 2009, while the building was still having its parkade levels formed, then-Vice President Ken Cantor invited a group of people interested in construction and urban development to tour the construction site.
While parking levels are rarely of much interest, EPCOR has the distinction of having an LRT tunnel built through the lowest level of the building.
Though it would be several more years before the rest of the Metro Line LRT would be constructed, let alone trains running through the easement, the City of Edmonton had the foresight to negotiate construction of this portion of the tunnel while the area was being excavated, and before construction of the tower began, saving the city approximately $140 million.
EPCOR Tower was completed in 2011 to a final roof height of about 137 metres. Eight decorative spires that cap off the building's lanterns, however, bring the tower's official height to 149 metres, edging out Manulife Place's 146 metres to become Edmonton's tallest building. It held that crown for 6 years, until 2017, when it was surpassed by the 192-metre JW Marriott Tower, followed by the 251-metre Stantec Tower earlier this year.
Intended to be the first phase of a long-term redevelopment of the former downtown VIA Rail station, dubbed Stationlands, EPCOR tower remains the only portion completed to date.
Qualico has made several attempts to kickstart further development of Stationlands, such as by bidding on the National Portrait Gallery of Canada in 2009, and once again more recently by partnering with the University of Alberta and local arts organizations to create a new arts and theatre hub called Galleria.
Neither of those bids has managed to get rolling, and the build-out of Stationlands remains in the train shed for now, leaving EPCOR to tower on its own at the edge of downtown a while longer.
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|Related Companies:||Edmonton Galleria Foundation, Kasian, NORR Architects, Qualico|