Calgary Sports and Entertainment District
I am a regular reader of Calgary blogger “Everyday Tourist” who writes about everything from public art to city politics. A while back he wrote about “Wants vs. Needs,” where he pondered if the City really needs a new arena ($500M), football stadium ($250M) or convention centre ($200M). Recently he was quoted in a Herald article in an piece about the future development in West Village (city owns most of the land west of Shaw Millennium Park to Crowchild Trail) and said, “it would make a great SHED district i.e. sports, hospitality and entertainment district.” His point being that perhaps the area could be used for a new arena, stadium and convention centre, as well as new hotels, condos, bars and restaurants – kinda a one stop fun spot!
I couldn’t help but wonder if West Village became a SHED what impact would that have on surrounding communities. Sunalta would become a very attractive as a place to “live, work and play,” with the LRT station being the key access point to the SHED. Sunalta’s 10th Avenue could become a funky street of sports bars, pubs, juke joints and boutique hotels. And there would be pressure to transform the small condos and apartment blocks into highrises.
From a traffic perspective the Crowchild Trail, 9th Ave, Bow Trail, Memorial Drive nightmare would have to be addressed to allow for traffic to easily exit and enter the site from all direction. This would be a good thing, but expensive.
For the neighbouring communities north of the Bow – Hillhurst, West Hillhurst and Parkdale it would enhance their already impressive list of “live, work, play” amenities – University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre, SAIT, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Shouldice Athletic Park and Bow River pathway.
Imagine a new pedestrian bridge across the river at 19th Street that would let you walk to the SHED. Maybe even a new traffic bridge connecting Memorial Drive and Bow Trail. That would be a game changer!
The other option for West Village would be to develop it in much the same way as East Village, with maybe just an arena as the focal piece like the new library and National Music Centre is for East Village. A well-programmed arena would create animation almost everyday of the week year-round with not only hockey, but also other sports, concerts and events. The arena would be surrounded by hotels, condos and perhaps an office tower or two – kinda a mini-downtown.
Whatever happens in West Village it is sure to have a major impact on the quality of living for those living near the Bow Trail, Memorial Drive and Crowchild Trail corridors.
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