'Urban balcony' overlooking river could be coming to Edmonton

Edmonton residents and visitors could one day enjoy views of the North Saskatchewan River from an "urban balcony" extending over the river valley, developers say.

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That's if the city approves a plan to redevelop a plot of land near Jasper Avenue and 96 Street, on the edge of a slope leading down into the river valley.

Council has already expressed interest in the proposed project, and on Tuesday it agreed to delay plans to expropriate the land, so that the Alldritt Land Corporation can hold public consultations on its proposal and go through a zoning process.

In addition to the urban balcony, the corporation hopes to build a tower, which would include condos and a hotel, and construct a pedestrian path and park on the land.

The design is inspired by New York's popular High Line, an elevated linear park which runs along a section of disused train tracks.

"(Alldritt Land Corporation) has a concept that might allow for the development of potentially a much bigger urban balcony and public park space along the top of the bank there," Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said.

Iveson said council has not given the developers the go-ahead yet, but that the delay should give time for both the corporation and the city to work out what's best for Edmonton.

"It's not carte blanche," Iveson said. "But with the scale of what they've been talking about, taking some time to work through their proposal and see if it's worth it for the city is prudent."

The proposed balcony would be the latest effort to revamp Edmonton's downtown and show off the river valley.

The city is also in the process of constructing a funicular to carry riders from the downtown core to a promenade linked to the river valley trail.


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