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Shugarman sweetens Arena District image

by Ryan Frankson / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB – Edmontonians got an exciting new look at the proposed downtown Arena District on Wednesday as Michael Shugarman released digital renderings of the development created by his architecture and design firm.

Shugarman Architecture + Design Inc. is a Calgary-based company, currently working with the Katz Group and their appointed consultant team to develop the Arena District. During Shugarman's presentation to City Council, new images of the proposed Arena District were released, providing a more specific look at the buildings and plazas surrounding the sports venue.

"The Arena District in its entirety has now passed a milestone," Shugarman said. "We have completed Schematic Design. Renderings, plans and sections now reference actual buildings and real spaces. We are, in effect, ready and excited to proceed. We have planned what will stand as one of the world's great sport and entertainment districts … a rich and vibrant urban village."

All Arena District retail, residential, office, hotel and hospitality projects have been advanced to the Schematic Design completion stage. Shugarman said the Katz Group's consultant team has "met with many companies and they see potential. They want to move to Edmonton to be part of this district. "

Shugarman is leading a large multi-disciplinary team of exceptional experts from all fields of design, construction and development from across Canada and the United States. In addition to Shugarman Architecture + Design, the team includes Hariri Pontaraini, DIALOG, Stantec, and Phillips – Farevaag – Smallenberg.

His firm has worked on a number of residential, commercial and hospitality projects across Western Canada, in addition to other pristine urban design projects such as the Fernie Alpine Trails Mountain Community and Field of Fame Monuments in Calgary.

Wednesday's presentation to Council highlighted many of the district's most desirable urban development features, including walkability throughout the area, connectivity between adjacent downtown districts, the 50,000 square-foot plaza lined with shops and restaurants, arteries feeding into the plaza or "heart of the district", and a residential neighbourhood that will be home to more than 900 families.

"We have searched the globe for lessons, we have looked for precedents, and we've looked most closely at northern cities," Shugarman said. "We want to celebrate Edmonton as a great winter city. Specifically, the plaza is the kind of place the likes of which very few cities, especially those in North America, are lucky enough to possess."

And with City Council's decision on Wednesday to re-open negotiations with the Katz Group pertaining to the downtown area, Shugarman is excited about the project moving closer to becoming a reality.

"It really is a game-changer in this city, and I hope we were able to share some of that today with Council and give them that bigger picture," he said. "When I look at this district, I see the development team and the city's interests aligned. I'm really hopeful after today, because I see the bigger picture and the beginning of a change in Edmonton that extends much further than the arena itself."
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