Grading has already begun on Airdrie's long-delayed Midtown residential development. Upon completion, the 16-hectare lot is labelled for up to 800 residential units. Photo by Carl Patzel/For CREB®Now

Long-awaited development to house up to 800 units 

Over a decade in the making, Airdrie’s controversial Midtown development is finally poised to take the next step and fill in yet another blank on the city’s growing landscape.

Currently being actively graded, the 16-hectare Midtown lot along Eighth Avenue W. and bordered by MacKenzie Pointe to the north and Luxstone to the south is labelled for 600 to 800 residential units.

The plan calls for a maximum of 305 single-family lots, 115 townhouse units and more than 300 low- and medium-density lots.

The original Neighbourhood Structure Plan (NSP) was first adopted by Airdrie city council in 2009, but construction stalled through the original developers.

“In terms of the beginning part of it, yeah it went back (over a decade). The original NSP and land use associated with it was approved by council several years ago…2009,” said Tracy Corbett, Airdie’s manager of planning and sustainable development.

“The developer couldn’t complete it. It was a combination of things and unfortunately they didn’t get started on it.”

Another small delay in 2013 kept the vacant lot a grassland oasis before the final NSP was passed in 2014 under the partnered firms, Wenzel Developments Inc. and Apex Builders Group (neither responded to interview requests).

Filling both an esthetic and practical solution to maintaining a natural drain off for the Nose Creek watershed, a storm pond attraction was added to the Midtown design.

A centrally located formal plaza along with a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the pond will connect to several pathways throughout the neighbourhood.

Corbett said the developers have been purposeful in planning for a mix of housing options in Midtown.

“They were quite deliberate about how they arranged their land uses,” said Corbett. “They recognized at the north end of the site adjacent to the MacKenzie Pointe development it tends to be a little higher density.”

The community will incorporate a north-to-south density gradient to help blend in with the established neighbourhoods. As well, a small plot of land has been set aside for a commercial district along Eighth Street W.

Also taken into account was the established public attraction Iron Horse Park on the north end of the project and CPR line to the east.

The central business district development is a continuing product of ongoing population growth in the city – a 10.76 per cent increase in 2014 to 54,891 residents.

Despite ongoing woes in the energy sector and more moderate in-migration numbers, Corbett said the City Airdrie is anticipating its population to continue to increase at a similar pace.

“Within our pre-annexation boundary, we can still accommodate a population of about between 75,000 to 80,000 based on what we’ve approved in the area structure plan,” We’re just below 60,000 right now for population.”