A $20-million redevelopment of Stampede Trail, a pedestrian-friendly seam in the heart of Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District, has resumed after a short construction break.
The roadway, formerly known as Olympic Way, runs through Stampede Park and upon completion will be a multi-use, three-lane thoroughfare that will be able to accommodate motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Construction was paused during the Calgary Stampede but has started again.
Crews began the project in April. They’ve completed work on underground utilities and graded the corridor for the thoroughfare. Temporary pavement was laid to enable access for the Stampede.
“The project requires the existing roadway to be excavated to allow for deep service work,” explains Kelly Coles, vice-president building and infrastructure at the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).
“Then, new brick pavers, curbs, sidewalks, landscaping and lighting will be installed along the four-block stretch to complete the transformation.”
The project is being done in two phases, Coles says, to maximize efficiencies and minimize disruptions and enable ongoing operations at the venues in Stampede Park as well as construction of the expansion of the BMO Centre, forthcoming extension of 17 Avenue S.E., and the Green Line LRT project.
Phase one, from 14 Avenue to the 17 Avenue S.E. extension, will be completed later this year. Work on phase two, from 12 Avenue to 14 Avenue S.E., will begin next spring and be completed in late 2024.
CMLC, as development manager, is leading the delivery of the project on behalf of its partners at the Calgary Stampede. Industry partners IBI Group and O2 Planning + Design are leading the public realm design of the new roadway, with electrical led by Designcore Engineering and AECON as contractor.
The road is the main connector in Stampede Park and is being envisioned as a critical gathering place where guests of the BMO Centre, the Saddledome, and a future convention centre and hotel will be able to connect.
The road surface itself will be interlocking pavement. Street-level retail and dining are expected to line Stampede Trail, along with an $80-million, 220-room hotel announced earlier by Matthews Southwest Hospitality.
Coles says the trail is one of the principal urban strategies outlined in the Rivers District Master Plan proposed by CMLC and the Calgary Stampede that calls for a mixed-use community that will be home to 8,000 new residents and four million square feet of new, mixed-use development space.
“The flexible corridor will serve day-to-day traffic needs while prioritizing people, places, entertainment, retail and active transportation. The multi-functional space will be home to a vibrant retail and commercial corridor, a multi-modal connector and, for special events, a pedestrian-only festival plaza.”
A challenge of the project is redeveloping the trail while facilities are operating and events like the stampede are underway. However, precautions are being taken.
Kerri Souriol, director of park development at the Calgary Stampede, says the vision is to have a road that is uniquely designed to allow for vehicles as well as cycling, and day-to-day pedestrian use.
“Interlocking brick pavers provide both an elevated user experience and a sense of place, catenary lighting delivers an ambience that distinguishes the road from other city streets, and rolled curbs enable a smooth transition from daily use to festival condition for special events,” explains Souriol.
“This is an important investment in the Culture + Entertainment District, adding to the more than $600 million in major city-building projects already underway, and it’s an exciting next step toward realizing the vision set out in the master plan.”
Souriol says that Stampede Trail – funded through CMLC’s community revitalization levy – will welcome visitors to Stampede Park and make it a year-round gathering place for event attendees and the community, with world-class restaurants, retail and patio offerings.
The final year of construction has also started on the $500-million, 565,000-square-foot BMO Centre expansion project. It is scheduled to open for Stampede 2024. Drywall, mechanical and electrical work is ongoing with up to 600 workers per day employed at the site six days a week.
The BMO Centre will be Western Canada’s largest convention centre with more than one million square feet.
Plans for a new convention centre and hotel on a 31,000-square-foot parcel at the north entrance to Stampede Park are progressing. The building will connect directly to the BMO Centre.
The complex is expected to be completed in 2024. Next steps involve a comprehensive design stage to plan how the venue will be integrated into the district.
An agreement in principle has also been reached to proceed with a new $926-million event centre at the gateway to Stampede Park. The complex will be on 2.9 hectares immediately north of the park. It will be the new home of the NHL Calgary Flames and replace the Saddledome which will be demolished.
The City of Calgary recently announced it is starting the process to hire a development manager who will oversee and co-ordinate the work.