Last summer I noticed that 96 Street (between Jasper Avenue and 103A Avenue) in east downtown Edmonton, disappeared! It was blocked off, dug up and even no longer appeared on Google Maps. I found the construction annoying as a pedestrian and a driver and especially last autumn when construction activity stopped, the roads remained closed and the sidewalks and were largely in-accessible. Construction resumed this spring but it was still not clear to me what was going on.
Yesterday afternoon I walked a bit out of my usual path to check out what might be happening. When I got to 96 Street and 102 Avenue, I saw, I understood and I was impressed.
A block worth of black, white and grey paving stones could be seen through the construction fence and on one section of sidewalk that is open.
Fortunately there are not many businesses along this stretch of 96St. that will be affected by this long and disruptive project but the venerable Double Greeting Wonton House is one that will no doubt be glad when the work is done and appreciate the extra traffic that should then be attracted to the area.
Work is still ongoing and I would guess it will take most of the summer but by its completion I am finally going to believe that this downtown revitalization east of 97 Street, is more than just a plan. I say that having listened with anticipation to a number of announced plans going back to the early-90’s.
Capping off 96 Street at Jasper Avenue is the new Hyatt hotel, that is nearing completion. There is a lot of construction in the downtown area, many building certainly larger than this one and arguably better situated but this Gene Dub design may be the most architecturally interesting and attractive building going up in the City.