On Wednesday, the City of Edmonton's Executive Committee approved the sale of the first two parcels of the Exhibition Lands, kicking off the first phase of redevelopment plans for the 200-acre site.
The two parcels, referred to as Parcel 1A and Parcel 1B, amount to roughly 20 acres and are located in the southwest corner of the site, which consists of the lands that surround the existing Edmonton Expo Centre at 118 Avenue NW.
Parcel 1A is about 12 acres and sits along the western edge of the site, up against the Capital Line LRT tracks that run between Coliseum Station and Stadium Station. Parcel 1B then consists of about 7.78 acres that sits along 112 Avenue at the southern edge of the site, next to Borden Park.
The two sites are currently occupied by low-rise industrial and commercial buildings.
Parcel 1A and 1B of the Exhibition Lands.(City of Edmonton, Avison Young)
The plan to redevelop the Exhibition Lands was first introduced in 2021, with the creation of the Exhibition Lands Implementation Strategy. The City then retained commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young to list the first two parcels of the site in April 2023.
"In marketing the Phase One lands for sale via Avison Young, the opportunity to participate in the Phase One redevelopment of the Exhibition Lands was presented to all interested parties," City staff said a in a report this week. "The focused submission guidelines and clear evaluation process ensured that qualified submissions were considered."
From those submissions, the City selected a group of proponents for interviews, during which the City asked specific questions to ensure those proponents' visions aligned with the City's and its Edmonton Exhibition Lands Planning Framework. Following those interviews, the City entered into exclusive negotiations with the party that has been selected. The party was not identified in the report.
The sale prices were also not disclosed, but the two parcels were listed by Avison Young with an asking price of $4.4M and $4.53M for Parcel 1A and Parcel 1B, respectively. The listing team for Avison Young consisted of Reed Newnham, Darren Snider, and Corey Gay.
According to the City, the lands will transfer to the buyer in Q1 or Q2 2025, but the City also notes that the timeline can potentially change "depending on the time required to complete the conditions precedent and due diligence."
As part of that process, the buyer is expected to provide the City with a formal Development Concept Plan, which will outline land uses, building types, design characteristics, and sustainability goals, among other things.
Based on the Edmonton Exhibition Lands Planning Framework, the Phase One lands are designated for ground-oriented residential development, which allow for mid-to-low-rise apartments, row houses, stacked row houses, semi-detached homes, single-detached homes, and small-scale neighbourhood commercial spaces.
The land use distribution for the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.(City of Edmonton)
The City says the buyer intends for all homes in Phase One to be built to a Net Zero Ready standard and the ability to transition to Net Zero operational standards.
As a condition of the sale, the City will apply for subdivision and rezoning of the Phase One parcels and the respective rezoning applications will be heard at a future public hearing. As another condition of the sale, engineering and design work as it relates to roadways, utilities, and public spaces will begin as early as Summer 2024 and be completed before the end of the year.
At full build out, the Exhibition Lands redevelopment is expected to include over 3,500 new homes and be "a vibrant, safe, accessible, and inclusive community that is connected to destinations within the redeveloped Exhibition Lands as well as to other major nearby destinations."