A topic of frequent speculation on our Forum, the glacial rate - or outright lack - of progress on ICE District Tower B by Katz Group Properties has provided ample cause for concern. Plagued by squabbles with the City and lacklustre design revisions dating back months, the project has suffered greatly, reduced in scale and quality, the build site itself having been wrapped and left nearly idle for ages. 

ICE District Tower B, under wraps in August, image by Forum contributor Daveography

Back in June the project went through a major redesign and downsizing, the tower reduced from 141.3 to 137.65 metres, while the commercial podium was lowered from 3 to 2 floors. While the amount of units was upped to 582 from 568 owing to some rejigging of the tower's relationship with the podium, questions remain about the anticipated public realm elements, namely the originally planned rooftop garden complete with outdoor theatre, which were supposed to grace the top of the podium. 

ICE District Tower B in deep freeze, image by Forum contributor Daveography

The reductions were put before the EDC, and were heavily criticized there and on our Forum for the obvious reason that the project as promised had turned into a bait and switch by the developer. A high profile development owing to its central position within the ICE District, and a thus a critical piece of Edmonton's downtown revitalization, any skimping on behalf of the developer here has the potential to greatly diminish what city planners and Edmontonians alike have been promised, namely a first-class addition to the core - a statement piece to set the tone for the city's future. 

Glacial rate of change, image by Forum contributor Daveography

Whether or not the developer is simply trying to spook the City into coughing up the funds necessary to make all their hopes and dreams come true, or the numbers simply are not there to make this project viable, will remain a sore point for urban enthusiasts and city boosters alike. For many, the ICE District is a symbol of Edmonton's rebirth as a metropolitan urban centre, not mediocrity and compromise. To this end, it can only be hoped that by one means or another, it is not too late to salvage ICE District Tower B for good of the city. 

SkyriseEdmonton will be sure to return to this project as progress continues. For more information, check out the associated Database file and Forum thread, and as always, feel free to join the conversation in the comments section below. 

Related Companies:  DIALOG, Katz Group Properties, ONE Properties