Nearly two years since the Holyrood Gardens Redevelopment project received rezoning approval in June 2018, and excavation has now begun on Edmonton's latest Transit-Oriented Development project.

Excavation underway on Holyrood Gardens Phase I, photo by Dave Sutherland

Developed by Regency Developments and designed by DER + Associates Architecture, the first phase of the project will see approximately 760 residential units in four buildings along the east side of 85 Street between 90 and 93 Avenues. The site is located adjacent to the future Holyrood stop on the Valley Line LRT, set to be operational in 2021.

Rendering of the project on a billboard, photo by Dave Sutherland

The first building to be constructed in this phase is also the tallest building in the project: a 25-storey, 86-metre tower at the far south end of the site, containing up to 284 residential units.

Massing model of the entire development, image via City of Edmonton

Two 12-storey mid-rise buildings bookending a 6-storey low-rise building fill out the remainder of the site for phase one. All four buildings will be built on top of and share a single underground parking structure, and some small scale retail will be included at the corner of 93 Avenue and 85 Street.

Excavation at Holyrood Gardens, photo by Dave Sutherland

The site has a storied history of development and proposals that stretches back to the early 1950s with the construction of multiple two-story, four-unit townhouse buildings surrounded by open greenspace.

Some of the aging townhomes, now demolished, photo by Dave Sutherland

In the early 1990s, Westcorp proposed redevelopment of the site into a series of mid-rise buildings with up to 1,000 residential units. The community originally opposed the rezoning plan, but worked with the developer to try to address concerns, and the rezoning was eventually passed by City Council.

Holyrood Boulevard, developed by Westcorp, image via Google Street View

After completing only two buildings under the updated zoning - now known as Holyrood Boulevard - Westcorp put the site up for sale in 2016, when it was purchased by Regency Developments.

Public information sessions for the project frequently packed venues, photo by Dave Sutherland

Regency sought to rezone the site again for up to 1,200 residential units, and the proposal went through several design iterations, tense public information sessions, and multiple City Council Public Hearings over a period of almost two years before the rezoning was finally approved in June 2018*.

Billboard outside the construction site, photo by Dave Sutherland

Now that construction is underway, future residents of the Holyrood Gardens redevelopment will be well located on the Valley Line LRT near downtown, as well as close to Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, itself slated for redevelopment into a massive Transit-Oriented Development in the future.

SkyriseEdmonton will continue to follow this project as it builds up and out. More information can be found on this and related projects in the project Database entries linked below. What do you think of the Holyrood Gardens Redevelopment? Leave a comment below, or join the conversation in our Forum (where you can also find out much more about the history of this project).

*Disclosure: SkyriseEdmonton's Editor and writer of this article is the Civics Director of the Holyrood Community League and member of the Holyrood Development Committee, and was highly involved in the rezoning process of this project.

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