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City council is being shown schematic plans of what a downtown entertainment district would look like following the construction of a new arena.
The idea is to have pedestrian traffic and attention flow through a plaza between 102nd and 103rd Streets, and just south of 104th Avenue.
Scott Ralston with the design company 360 Architecture says the idea is to usher you into the building through a winter garden lobby area, that essentially would set the stage for a modern day entertainment experience within the arena.
"It begins to show how we want to capture people at 104th Street to bring them mid-block across 103rd, into what we would consider a prime central gathering place within the arena district, and then on, eastward to civic precinct and the arts district where we are today."
The inside of the arena is where the magic truly happens. Plans include a second community/practice arena, numerous retail options connected to pedway and LRT access, a massive dressing room for the Oilers, a spacious one for the Oil Kings, and even underground parking.
(Video courtesy of the City of Edmonton)
Meanwhile, some city councillors have hesitations with the concept behind some of the plans.
Councillor Ben Henderson is a little worried the facility will become a building that only offers options for those who can afford it, like high end retail shopping.
"I'm concerned about what happens to the building when it's not in use, because it seems to me that everything that's at ground level is essentially stuff that is turned inwards, but there's no public use to it, except the retail at the east end."
He adds, "By putting the concourse up on the second level, which is where there would have been activity that could have been turned out toward the street, with restaurants and things like that, when the arena wasn't in use, now that becomes difficult to do. We're not a city that's big enough to be able to support both an interior existence and an exterior existence at the same time."
The design team 360 Architecture admits the city might have to capitalize on the opportunities the arena will provide, rather than focuses on the options it might lack.
The final design is set to hit city council on July 4th, that's after public consultation meetings set for May 29th, and June 5th, 6th, and 7th. (lk, kdr)