Apartment building receives enthusiastic endorsement

A multi-family building proposed for downtown Red Deer has earned an enthusiastic endorsement from the city’s municipal planning commission.

A multi-family building proposed for downtown Red Deer has earned an enthusiastic endorsement from the city’s municipal planning commission.

Developer 3 2 Many Inc. plans to build the 12-unit, three-storey apartment building at 4811 and 4813 53rd St. Those lots are currently vacant.

When the application first came before the commission on April 25, some members balked at the absence of landscaping, with citizen representative Larry Thomsen describing the plan as “sterile.” Concerns were also expressed that none of the units were designed for handicapped residents.

The matter was tabled to allow 3 2 Many to consider these issues, and on Wednesday a revised plan was presented to the commission. Shrubs and tree beds had been added to the rear of the property, as well as a raised planter, a sitting area and a bike rack. The front and rear patios had also been enlarged, and one of the suites made universally accessible.

Coun. Paul Harris and Mayor Morris Flewwelling praised 3 2 Many for the changes, and the application received unanimous approval.

The commission agreed to reduce the minimum required front-yard setback to 1.22 metres from 7.7 metres, which would be consistent with a commercial building nearby. It also authorized a reduction in the number of parking stalls required — to 12 from 21.

The request for a parking relaxation had prompted some debate on April 25, but Harris and other commission members argued that such a design was appropriate for the downtown — where fewer residents use vehicles. Planning staff also pointed out that there are underutilized eight-hour parking meters along 53rd Street, and two parking lots nearby.

Ken Duhamel, one of the partners in 3 2 Many, said later that he hopes to attract tenants who want to live and work downtown.

“I’m a big fan of walkability and a big fan of infill projects — bringing life to downtown and bringing elements from big cities that have much more of a community feeling.”

Project designer Robin Anderson of Metro Studio of Building Design Inc. said the building should appeal to young professionals who want a nice home near the city’s centre.

“It’s convenient for people who don’t want to live in the suburbs if their life is downtown.”

Anderson added that this type of development is an ideal way to fill some of the gaps that exist downtown.

Duhamel said he hopes to begin work on the project as soon as possible, with his construction company Kennect Developments serving as contractor. He’d like to have the building enclosed by winter and ready for occupancy early next year.

The apartment will consist of 11 two-bedroom suites and one with a single bedroom.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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