St. Albert is continuing to grow in commercial, industrial and residential development, primarily expanding in the north and west.
To get an idea of where existing and new development projects are, the St. Albert Gazette spoke with Sean McRitchie, the city’s new economic development officer, and local developers.
With new developers coming into the city, St. Albert’s overall growth shows signs of a promising start heading into 2020, McRitchie said.
"The fact that we have seen seen significant invesments and interest from developers in the northern and western parts of our city really shows the growth potential," he said.
"To see other developers come in and feel confident in the business case St. Albert represents, and to make significant investments in Ville Giroux and Elysian Fields, South Riel – the list goes on – I'd say we're punching well above our weight as far as attracting new investment capital."
North St. Albert
Erin Ridge North Phase 1
Cameron Developments Corp. is finalizing its build-out with some new businesses popping up. The area is comprised of 231 acres, with 82 acres sectioned for low-, medium- and high-density residential, and 64 acres for commercial. Most of its leasable space has been rented, featuring some big market retailers, including PetSmart, Homesense, Marshalls and Lowe's. A 15,000 sq. ft. Old Navy is expected to open up this summer to the south of Lowe's. A new 35,000 sq. ft. Loblaws is expected to open this April on the corner of Element Drive North and Everitt Drive North, bringing another grocery option to the city. The area is located at the north end of St. Albert Trail, where Costco is.
The Urban District
Owned by Landrex, the Urban District's mixed-use 400,000-square-foot space will include residential and a variety potential businesses. None of those businesses have been announced yet, but it could feature some retail, food and beverage, medical and professional buildings. The site formerly housed the King of Kings Lutheran Church, which was relocated to Morinville. The Urban District is located just south of Cameron Developments on St. Albert Trail.
Erin Ridge North Phase 2, Plaza
Erin Ridge North Phase 2 is north of Neil Ross Road and includes Erin Ridge Plaza. The 135-acre area is being developed by Landrex and EPC Capital, with Landrex focusing on residential and EPC Capital on commercial. It will soon be home to a multi-storey U-Store-It Canada storage and rental facility. Once developed, the area will have both medium- to high-density housing in addition to commercial developments. EPC Capital is building out 64,503 sq. ft. of commerical space within a 5.3-acre lot, offering both lease and sale options. The site, bounded by Neil Ross Road to the south and St. Albert Trail to the west, includes nine buildings and two drive-thrus, with future development expected for transit in the commercial centre. Construction on a new Dodge dealership started in 2019, along with the development of a new Holiday Inn Express. The plaza is expected to be complete by late 2020. Creating more leasing and ownership opportunities for business in St. Albert is a need McRitchie said he's heard from the business community.
Jensen Lakes is owned by developer Melcor Developments Ltd. The 372-acre area is sectioned with 174 acres for residential and 27 acres for commercial. Currently, 250 homes have been built with another 25 homes and an additional multi-family townhome in construction. The project could take 15 years to complete. According to the development manager, two lots have been sold backing on to the private walkway by a manmade large private lake currently under construction. In 2019, the grading of the lake and clay liner was complete, and work has started on the stone retaining wall around the lake. The lake is expected to be filled by this summer. Within the last few months, new businesses have moved into the commercial area, including the St. Albert Public Library, Empire Salon, KB & CO, Bone & Biscuit and Circle K. Jensen Lakes is bounded by Villeneuve Road and the Deer Ridge neighbourhood to the south, Sturgeon County boundary to the north and St. Albert Trail to the east.
Fowler Way will become an east-west arterial roadway, approximately 3.9 km long, in the northwest corner of St. Albert. Once finished, it is expected to connect with Villenueve Road and Ray Gibbon Drive, running northeast to join Neil Ross Road. A functional planning study was completed in 2018, and design and construction work is planned within the city's 10-year capital plan. Preliminary permitting and design work will go on from 2019 to 2022, with a detailed design tentatively scheduled for 2023, and construction proposed in 2025.
Managed by Strata Developments, the site’s area structure plan (ASP) is expected to come to council later this month. Strata Lands is an extension of Northridge and has about 320 acres of land. The presentation of the ASP was delayed as the developer was waiting for a finalized alignment for Fowler Way, a new arterial road that will service the lands, according to managing partner Courtney Jensen. Servicing of the area has not started yet as the ASP needs to be approved first. The developer’s first ASP was submitted to the city in 2013, and plans have changed drastically since then, Jensen said. With Fowler Way expected to move significantly to the north, the development will now provide a much larger consolidated park space than originally planned. Development of the northern portion is still a ways away, but there’s expected to be around 300 lots available in the area south of Fowler Way for a mix of commercial, multi family, and entry level single family homes. The area is located north of Villeneuve Road and west of Hogan Road. It is adjacent to Jensen Lakes and bordered by the city boundary to the north.
West St. Albert
Villeneuve Road extension
Long-term goals for Villeneuve Road include a realignment, stopping it from intersecting with Ray Gibbon Drive. Instead, it will curve to meet a new arterial road, Fowler Way. Villeneuve Road is currently within the city's 10-year capital plan, with projected design work beginning in 2024 and potential construction in 2026.
Formerly known as the Elysian Fields, the 247-acre space has an ASP for low-density residential, a business park, commercial and industrial services, a school and golf academy. In early 2019, St. Albert welcomed its newest developer, Rohit, who purchased the 246-acre Elysian Fields parcel located in the most northwest area of the city. Last month, city council voted to acquire a 59-acre parcel from Rohit to be the site of St. Albert’s future recreation centre.The Meadows sits between Villeneuve Road to the north, Ray Gibbon Drive to the east and Old McKenney Avenue to the south.
Lakeview Business District
With 617 acres of greenfield development, the city’s next business park is located on the western edge of St. Albert. The city owns 107 acres of land in the Lakeview Business District. According to the city, development is expected to begin in the next five to seven years. Estimates from the city put the cost of the area structure plan at $446,700. The land is bounded by Ray Gibbon Drive to the east, Old McKenney Avenue and a portion of Sangudo subdivision to the north and Meadowview Drive to the south.
Significant changes to development plans for Riverside will go to a public hearing in March. Earlier this month, St. Albert city council gave first reading to proposed amendments to the Riverside area structure plan and land use bylaw. A future 9.4-acre school site is being considered in what was originally a large neighbourhood park space at the corner of Riverside Drive and the future Rankin Drive. Heading north along Ray Gibbon Drive, Hopewell Development finished servicing its parcel of land in Riverside and will begin construction of commercial retail units on it early this year, according to the city. Upon finishing, the 526-acre site will feature low- and medium-density housing with the ability to house more than 10,000 residents. Anchoring the neighbourhood is a 9.3-acre commercial site surrounded by medium- and high-density housing currently under construction. Riverside sits south and southeast from the CN Sangudo subdivision, north of Big Lake and northeast of Sturgeon River.
The 79-acre area, which is owned by the city, currently does not have an area structure plan. According to the city’s proposed 2019-2021 business plan, there is not enough information to estimate project development costs for the Badger Lands, though money has been allocated to start the geotechnical work needed for a future ASP. Council did decide in 2017 to designate a portion of the land to a school. Badger Lands sits north of Villeneuve Road, next to Strata Lands.
Central St. Albert
Boudreau Communities is still in the rezoning process and reviewing recommendations made by city staff to its application proposal for Riverbank Landing. The proposal includes six buildings, two 26-storey residential high rises, a 12-storey private seniors housing unit, a new restaurant inspired by Hole’s Greenhouses Old Red Barn, and two commercial and professional buildings. In total, the proposal will add 466 units. The estimated value of the development will be $500 million, and could take between seven to 10 years to complete. Changes to the Riverbank Landing design include moving one tower to the centre of the design and adding a new access point to the development's northeast corner. Further changes could still come after Boudreau Development staff review the city’s recommendations. Robert Brosseau, Boudreau vice-president of project development, said he expects the project to generate 259 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and invest more than $350 million to local trades and businesses. Once fully built, he said the project would generate $1.7 million in new revenue to the city.
Directly across the road in South Riel, Averton Homes began servicing Phase I of their Midtown development which will include mostly townhouses. The three-phase development will see 900 residential units, seniors housing and commercial properties built across from the Enjoy Centre. Once completed, the 45-acre area will feature diverse housing types including townhouses, condominiums, and mid-rise apartments. At least 250 units will be built for seniors, giving them the ability to "age in place." The first residents are expected to move in early 2020, and commercial properties are expected to be shovel-ready in the spring. An urban hub within the area could feature retail, food and neighbourhood convience stores. Averton is located south from Levasseur Road, east from Riel Drive and north of LeClair Way.
In the summer, Cape Construction’s development, Bellevue Village, welcomed its first residents into its upscale 150 rental unit condo development with lakefront views. The 13.5-acre space located north of the Enjoy Centre features medium- to high-density residences, housing more than 600 people. The project also includes 37,000 square feet of retail space with ground level parking. Phase two of construction will take in 2020, and the design of phase three is expected to be finalized in 2021 with construction starting in 2022. A 40,000-square-foot grocery store and six-storey hotel is also part of the master plan. Bellevue Village is located west of Riel Drive, north of LeClair Way and east of Ray Gibbon Drive.
Anthony Henday Business Park
The Anthony Henday Business Park saw its first building open their doors in early 2019. The Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation (ABCRC) was completed by QuadReal, who plans to continue both speculative and build-to-suit developments in 2020. Once finished, the 52-acre area will feature commercial development. The business park is bounded by CN Sangudo subdivision to the east, Ray Gibbon to the west and LeClair Way to the north.
Twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive
Ray Gibbon Drive is a major arterial road in St. Albert, seeing an average of 20,000 vehicles every day. It’s the second busiest road in the city, behind St. Albert Trail. According to the city’s business plan, the project will cost $37 million through 2027. In 2019, the city invested $780,000 into engineering and design, with an investment of $7.9 million in 2020 for tentative construction for the south end of the corridor north of LeClair Way. A functional study and alignment has been completed for the upcoming new arterial road Fowler Way to connect Ray Gibbon Drive to St. Albert Trail at the north end of the city.
Directly north of Riverside in Ville Giroux, Cidex Developments broke ground on its second 210 rental unit multi-family complex in November, and aims to have it completed by the fall of 2020. The area has 74 acres of low-, medium- and possible high-density housing. The commercial retail plaza behind the Shoppes at Giroux is complete, with Sobeys owning a majority of the site. There’s a variety of businesses located there, including a Shell gas station, daycare, pharmacy and hair salon, with some space still available. One of the two public parks was completed over the summer, the second one is planned to come off the cul-de-sac to the right of the second multi-family complex. Once completed, the entire area will house an estimated 1,409 residents. Ville Giroux is bounded by the CN Sangudo subdivision to the south and Ray Gibbon Drive to the west. Business development manager Sarah Itani said the first multi-family rental unit is fully occupied, and the developer is excited to bring more rental options to the city.
Amacon completed its renovation and recladding of its six-storey Grandin Park office building in St. Albert’s downtown core and has begun planning the next phase of its development which includes the potential of two mixed-use residential towers. The 8.3-acre downtown four-phased development will house between 2,800 and 3,300 people once finished. Two mixed-use retail and residential towers – one 25 storeys tall and another nine storeys – will be built at the site, which will have space for around 340 residences and 18,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. Amacon is located along Sir Winston Churchill Ave., west of Grandin Road and Grenadier Park.
Campbell Business Park
The park – bounded by Campbell Road to the west, Corriveau Avenue to the south, Veness Road to the east and Poundmaker Road to the north – has 135 acres to its name. The area is currently 47 per cent leased with remaining bays ranging anywhere from 2,460 sq. ft. up to 27,138 sq. ft. Colliers International is currently managing the site. The multi-tenant building on the largest parcel is precast construction, has ample parking space with large marshalling areas, and allows tenants the opportunity to build the space out to suit their needs, according to Colliers International. It will also be the future home of the new Dynamyx Gymnastics Club. A state-of-the-art 141-suite hotel is slated to open for business in the Campbell Business Park by the end of 2020. In 2018, shovels broke ground for the seven-storey luxury Chalton Hotel near Century Casino.
Want to hear more? The City of St. Albert is hosting a business breakfast on March 17 where officials are expected to talk about recent developments in more detail. Tickets can be found on Eventbrite.