Site is within 2km of a student enrolment population of 50,000+ (U of C + Sait). As these institutions aren't going away , the only remarkable fact is that it has taken this long for the land use development to catch up to the existing demand. Great idea and perfect location for development of this sort well into the future.
With that said, I think the NW hub area (i.e. SAIT, Northhill, U of C, Foothills Medical, Foothills Athletic, Banff Trail etc.) is the worst urban planning disaster that Calgary has and is generally ignored. So many jobs, students and activities all within walking distance of each other that are completely wasted through insular institution planning, ignoring pedestrians as much as possible, and promoting car usage in what is essentially a city centre location. This area could be a huge node of urbanity and sustainable planning but it is actually one of the most egregious examples of the opposite.
For this development - and any others like it - to be successful, Calgary needs a serious rebuild of all pedestrian connectivity throughout Banff Trail - and all surrounding areas between SAIT, Foothills & U of C, the likes of which we have never done before. This isn't just a matter of adding sidewalks (although remarkably that is required given the lack of sidewalks in the area), the urban realm needs a far more aggressive treatment if it is to transition to something more attractive.
It's a common problem in auto-oriented designs: they tend to fail for everyone eventually, including drivers.While I agree with the planning bashing, I think you should also take into account it's god awful to drive in that area too. If cars are supposed to be the focus, that's been bungled horribly too. Typically, nobody wins when it comes to 16th Ave.
It's good that they will be changing the layout, but it still looks like a jungle even after the fact. The section around this new development will be better with the changes, I'm glad they are doing away with that weird side road.Interesting to see the proposed interchange for that area, would essentially have this tower fronting directly onto 16th (no more service road). If you haven't gone through all the Crowchild pdfs, they're quite interesting.