Great news!http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/ne ... 377dd00f46
Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
"Council has given its blessing to Calgary's first mechanized parkade, wedged between the downtown transit-only avenue and its pedestrianonly avenue.
Even aldermen who support the plan agree it's an awkward fit that will add 388 cars daily through a crowded laneway with limited access.
But the parkade would let the developer save a strip of small century-old storefronts that have long made the 100 block of 7th Avenue S.W. perhaps the sketchiest in the city's downtown.
"It's messy. It's not simple. It will require work and it will take a bit to get it right," downtown Ald. Druh Farrell said.
"I can live with this. And the alternative really worries me because I think we'll lose these buildings."
She had success in urging colleagues not to have a "slavish adherence" to Calgary's parking policy that discourages new stand-alone private parkades in the core.
The proposal passed 10-5. At robo-parkades such as this, a driver leaves a car on a lift, which mechanically finds a space where the car can be stacked. The robot lift later fetches the car when its driver returns.
They're common in European cities where parking space is scarce, as well as Manhattan, Boston and Vancouver.
The parkade is the money-maker that developer Neil Richardson said will subsidize refurbishing the shabby storefronts that face 7th Avenue, letting the buildings attract retailers other than the current pawnshop and restaurant on that block.
"We're really in the clunker stage - do you restore it or do you demolish it and build something new?" said Richardson, president of Heritage Property Corp.
The 15-storey structure, which could be built by late 2015, would include restaurants and office space in a revitalized laneway between 7th and Stephen avenues.
The proposal also features a large video billboard that will face the 7th Avenue LRT platform, showing a mixture of advertisements and arts event promotions.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi likes the potential of the video screen to bring a "Times Square feel" to downtown Calgary. He also supported the project because it would help replace parking that will be lost across the street from the downtown Bay when a new office tower goes up in place of a 1,038-car parking garage."