On Tuesday, Calgary City Council granted a first reading to a land use amendment application that would see a sprawling industrial site in Fairview Industrial transformed into a "high-intensity comprehensive mixed-use development" and "vibrant urban village" built around transit.

The subject site of the proposal is a 34.65-acre site that's bound by Macleod Trail S and Fisher Street SE on the west, Glenmore Trail SE on the north, the Red Line LRT tracks on the east, and a proposed new 73 Avenue SE on the south.

The property is currently owned by Cantana Investments Ltd. and is occupied by various commercial and light industrial buildings, including the Calgary Climbing Centre Chinook, Calgary Shooting Centre, and a Canada Post office.

The 35-acre site between Chinook Station and Heritage Station.The 35-acre site between Chinook Station and Heritage Station.(Arcadis IBI Group / Cantana Investments)

A New LRT Station

The new Midtown Station community would be located about midway between Chinook Station and Heritage Station of the Red Line LRT and Cantana Investments Ltd. has committed to funding and constructing a new LRT station as part of its proposal — the project's namesake Midtown Station.

In exchange for the new LRT station, the City would allow the developer to reach the development density it is proposing.

"Working in collaboration with the City, the applicant is committed to undertaking the design and construction of an LRT station that is fully integrated with the City's existing Red Line, including access, safety, security, operations, and maintenance functionality based on City standards for its LRT system," solicitors for the developer said in a letter to the City.

"The applicant confirms that the Midtown LRT station is a critical component of the project, and acknowledges that the City has no intention to fund the station," the developer's solicitors added. "Accordingly, a sufficient level of development density is required in order to justify the applicant's sponsorship of this significant public transit investment."

The City says that it recognizes that there is some risk in leaving a new LRT station in the hands of a developer, but says it will be mitigating the risks through development agreement conditions and density restrictions.

The Development

The Midtown Station project has been in the works since 2019, with the developer conducting community outreach in Fall 2020.

A development presentation prepared by the architect of the project, Arcadis IBI Group, in September 2020 outlined the project as having 24 buildings ranging from the one-storey to 42-storeys — with most of the buildings at 20 storeys or lower — and a total of 5,977 housing units, along with 223,055 sq. ft of office space, 181,662 sq. ft of retail space, 451,857 sq. ft of hotel space, and 24,383 sq. ft of community facilities.

An evaluation conducted by the City this year, however, said that the project could accommodate as much as 7,045 homes at full build out and 1.1 million sq. ft of commercial space. Since the original proposal, the developer has also agreed to include a new park space and a central pathway through the site to the new LRT station.

Renderings of the Midtown Station project.Renderings of the Midtown Station project.(Arcadis IBI Group / Cantana Investments)

The overall site currently consists of 10 parcels that would be consolidated. It would then be developed as five districts, with each envisioned as its own little mixed-use hub, with varying maximum heights and densities across the different districts. The highest densities would be located in the fifth district, which makes up the northern-most strip of the overall site, along Glenmore Trail SE.

According to the City, a maximum height of 45 storeys and a maximum density of 12.0 FSR will be allowed if the developer provides the LRT station as well as 10% of the housing units as affordable housing. If those two things are not provided, the maximum height and density will be limited to just six storeys and 2.0 FSR.

The developer says it expects full build out of Midtown Station by 2050.

Development Projects