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August 31, 2018

New food-arts-community hub planned for Edmonton

 

Alberta Avenue residents celebrated a new vision for the ArtsCommon 118 Wednesday, hoping this new food-arts-community hub will finally be what tips the scale for good in the troubled neighbourhood.

It’s the first project for Edmonton’s new public developer, a community-focused development agency now operating at arm’s length from the city but with public land and $10 million in capital.

They’re planning 78 live-work studio spaces for artists, a community coffee shop, a commercial kitchen available for rent 24 hours a day to local food trucks and startup market vendors, a black box theatre and an African night market.

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The Sarah McLachlan School of Music is hoping to take over one floor in the twin four-storey buildings, and Northlands is making plans to build greenhouses on the roof, expanding its agricultural offerings and expertise in vertical farming.

“This could be the tipping point,” said Arts on the Avenue director Christy Morin, describing how all these uses can come together to create a strong hub in the neighbourhood with positive, community-building activity around the clock.

Alberta Avenue was once a notoriously rundown part of Edmonton. It fell into disrepair after Yellowhead Trail was built. Traffic bypassed its shops, families with money moved to the suburbs while slum landlords and street prostitution preyed on the vulnerable.

Then in 2005, a group of artists and residents got together to rebuild the community, bringing vibrancy with festivals and small community events year round. With the city’s help, it has slowly improved and the group says it is now ready to move onto phase two.

The new hub could support local jobs, provide affordable housing for artists who struggle to find functional studio space, and liven up two vacant lots. The buildings would fill in the two grassy lots on either side of 92 Street, south of 118 Avenue.

Keep reading in the Edmonton Journal

 


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