By Cam Tait – Oilers Entertainment Group
The mid-morning sun shone warmly on downtown Edmonton recently — at 103 St. and 103 Ave., to be exact — and all I could think about was finding the biggest glass of water and filling it with – you guessed it – ice.
I’ve heard and read about ICE District. But didn’t have a chance to really see what it was all about until attending the press conference last week to officially announce that the Stantec Tower was above grade.
I’m not up on my construction lingo, but was told “above grade” means that the building is now at street level and will continue to go up … or, as the Friendly Giant — a Canadian children’s television icon from the 1960s — would say: “Look way up.”
Built by ICE District Properties Joint Venture, the 66-storey Stantec tower is located at the southeast corner of ICE District and will become the highest building in Edmonton.
Set to open in two phases, the tower will consist of 28 storeys of office towers, housing more than 1,700 Stantec employees, that will open in the fall of 2018 and approximately 481 residential units that will be ready for fall 2019. The tower is also targeting a LEED Gold certification upon completion.
“They can see it from Calgary, I’m told,” quipped Tim Shipton, OEG Vice President, Corporate Communications & Government Relations, who MC’ed the press conference.
I wonder what Calgarians will think? (Sorry, I digress).
Mayor Don Iveson shared that he travelled in from a cabin in the woods for the announcement.
“And, I’m sure glad I did — this is exciting,” said Iveson.
As speakers made their comments, I could always hear the sounds of countless construction workers applying their trade in the background. Nails were being pounded, cement trucks jockeyed for the right position, cranes were swinging around — all with a common goal; to make ICE District something truly unique and special in Edmonton.
ICE District itself is, of course, anchored by the iconic Rogers Place — the new home of the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Oil Kings, live entertainment and countless other events.
Before the Stantec announcement, I didn’t fully comprehend the excitement Rogers Place will have until I was there in person. The energy of any entertainment event soon to be held downtown will certainly carry over before and after the last whistle or last song sung.
ICE District will give Edmontonians — and people from all over the world — a chance to feel and carry that excitement like never before.
It’s a city within a city.
Perhaps when we boil things down to the lowest common denominator, ICE District will do one profound thing: bring people together.
That’s a few years away. But the anticipation of what it will be made OEG’s CEO and Vice Chairman Bob Nicholson’s comment at the press conference hit home for me
“Welcome to our neighborhood,” said Nicholson.
(If you have a question about ICE District, please email me at email@example.com)
Click here to view Community Reporter Jessica Kent’s video on ICE District.