Four years after first announcing plans for the redevelopment of Eau Claire Market, Regina-based Harvard Developments has received council approval for the ambitious mixed-use project. Councillors gave their go-ahead to supplant the existing market, originally envisioned as a neighbourhood rejuvenator, with a plethora of buildings set to contain a broad mix of uses.

Eau Claire Redevelopment, image via Harvard Developments

The redevelopment plan unveiled in 2013 described a Perkins+Will-designed proposal of five towers holding 1,000 residential units, 800,000 square feet of office space, 550,000 square feet of retail, and a hotel on the 2.1-million-square-foot property along the Bow River.

Eau Claire Redevelopment, image via Harvard Developments

Attached to the approval of the development is the relocation of the area's 27-metre-tall brick smokestack, which will be moved approximately ten metres southwest of its current location. The proposal to move the 70-year-old structure — which will require its designation to be temporarily lifted — sent a shockwave through the heritage preservation community. Though the developer has agreed to cover the costs of any damage resulting from the move, with the structure's designation to be reapplied after its successful relocation, the maneuver opened up a debate about the permanence and strength of the heritage preservation system. Councillor Druh Farrell is among the influential voices who has registered their discomfort with moving the landmark.

The smokestack, a relic of the area's industrial past, is scheduled to be moved, image retrieved from Google Street View

Given the state of the market, the office tower is likely to be shelved for the time being. But other elements of the development, including a new grocery store and movie theatre, seem ready to move forward. Harvard Developments purchased the site in 2007 for $13.5 million and had intended to begin construction in 2014. 

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Related Companies:  Harvard Developments, Perkins+Will