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Crews busy redefining Edmonton International Airport

Nov. 4, 2013, Edmonton - Excavators and trucks are digging up property beside the Edmonton International Airport to prepare for a big new office, shopping and hotel development.


November 4, 2013
By The Edmonton Journal

Crews began last year clearing land for the first phase of the
project, a 32-hectare site at the southwest corner of Airport Road and
the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway expected to contain hotels, restaurants,
offices, shops and entertainment.

 

“It’s about developing land use
plans that allow Edmonton and the region to benefit from becoming a more
attractive hub,” Myron Keehn, EIA’s vice-president of commercial
development, said Wednesday.

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“It’s not that it’s anything new. It’s just now people are seeing dirt move.”

 

The project could create 1,000 construction and full-time jobs, he said.

 

In
addition to enticing visitors to fly through Edmonton and spend more
time in the region, the development is also intended to make a profit
for the airport, he said.

 

While details are still being
negotiated, Keehn said the project might feature one or two hotels,
probably more “mid-level” than the upscale Renaissance attached to the
airport.

 

He couldn’t say how many stores there will be. However,
he wasn’t sure it would have an outlet mall similar to the enclosed
CrossIron Mills north of Calgary International Airport.

 

“I think the Edmonton market is much different, because there are retail centres already around the city,” he said.

 

“There’s no West Edmonton Mall in Calgary, there’s no South Edmonton Common in Calgary. This area will be more balanced.”

 

Most
servicing, including sewers, power and roads, will likely be finished
in 2014, when some deals to start construction should also be ready,
Keehn said.

 

The area, along with nearby cargo and aviation
facilities for tenants such as STARS air ambulance, could draw eight to
10 million annual visits, Keehn said.

 

The cost of servicing the
site isn’t clear because some of the work, such as power and roads,
serves other airport facilities as well.

 

However, officials say
the airport will spend between $10 million and $15 million this year on
land servicing, including this highway commercial project and aviation
components.

 

It will likely take five to 10 years to complete this
part of the 112 hectares south of Airport Road that will eventually be
developed, with the entire development possibly not finished for up to
40 years, Keehn said.

 

“Airports are different assets to work on.
You don’t own the dirt, you lease it … (but) there’s definitely
developer and investor interest.”