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View Full Version : Jasper East or whatever you want to call it



7
10-11-2006, 12:43 PM
Here is an idea to kick-start more development in the Jasper East area and to be able to pay for the excellent vision for the area by the city. The city would ensure (by law) that any new taxes, or a portion of any new taxes, that are collected from new developments in that area go directly to realizing the full vision that was voted on by City Council in September. This could pay for many of the environmental objectives, increasing public art, increasing affordable housing, etc… and would expedite the process so that the revitalization does not take 20 years to complete. Because they would only be using taxes on new developments it would not erode the current tax base. They could continue to use this system for a defined time line (5-10years) or until the vision is complete. The developers in the area would then know that if they build anything in the area, the taxes that their development generates will not be put into general funds but will stay in the neighborhood to ensure the completed vision. New residents may feel more comfortable to move into and invest in this area as there would be a steady income stream to complete the full vision. Not only a portion of the vision. Although the city would lose those tax funds for the general budget for a time, the vision will be complete faster and after the vision is complete they will have a much larger tax base and a new revitalized neighborhood.

IanO
10-11-2006, 12:45 PM
Here is an idea to kick-start more development in the Jasper East area and to be able to pay for the excellent vision for the area by the city. The city would ensure (by law) that any new taxes, or a portion of any new taxes, that are collected from new developments in that area go directly to realizing the full vision that was voted on by City Council in September. This could pay for many of the environmental objectives, increasing public art, increasing affordable housing, etc… and would expedite the process so that the revitalization does not take 20 years to complete. Because they would only be using taxes on new developments it would not erode the current tax base. They could continue to use this system for a defined time line (5-10years) or until the vision is complete. The developers in the area would then know that if they build anything in the area, the taxes that their development generates will not be put into general funds but will stay in the neighborhood to ensure the completed vision. New residents may feel more comfortable to move into and invest in this area as there would be a steady income stream to complete the full vision. Not only a portion of the vision. Although the city would lose those tax funds for the general budget for a time, the vision will be complete faster and after the vision is complete they will have a much larger tax base and a new revitalized neighborhood.

interesting proposal...id like to see some developers say "you know what, im gonna do this for edmonton"

RichardS
10-11-2006, 12:46 PM
7 - we need to talk. I've always liked an idea like this and it is a possible solution for regional issues...

7
10-11-2006, 01:57 PM
id like to see some developers say "you know what, im gonna do this for edmonton
me too, but the reality is the dollar. The good thing is that the dollar and the want to do something good for your community are often compatible. I think thats what we all want to see in Downtown East.

IanO
10-11-2006, 01:59 PM
id like to see some developers say "you know what, im gonna do this for edmonton
me too, but the reality is the dollar. The good thing is that the dollar and the want to do something good for your community are often compatible. I think thats what we all want to see in Downtown East.


AMEN...there is gold in them there porn shops.

That area has some of the last spectacular view lots as well as a very nice proximity to downtown.

um ok:>

ralph60
10-11-2006, 04:11 PM
So essentially you are subsidizing Jasper East and penalizing new subdivisions ( the new arterial road tax assesment).

Sonic Death Monkey
10-11-2006, 05:57 PM
So essentially you are subsidizing Jasper East and penalizing new subdivisions ( the new arterial road tax assesment).
I like to look at it as reducing urban sprawl and reinvigorating one of our oldest and most-neglected neighborhoods.

m0nkyman
10-11-2006, 10:21 PM
So essentially you are subsidizing Jasper East and penalizing new subdivisions ( the new arterial road tax assesment).

Yes. And for good reason.

Jasper East already has a built in infrastructure; sewage, water, power, roads, transit. Bringing businesses and residents into the area can greatly increase the tax base without much cost to the city.

New suburbs that need all those services brought out to them cost the city a whack more than they bring in taxwise for quite some time.

ralph60
10-11-2006, 10:38 PM
Look at Jasper East like this. It is an area with absentee landowners and slum owners who have neglected it for so long the city cries "Uncle". They are sitting on prime real estate with fantastic views, transit and road access and now they have convinced people that they should be subsidized to re-develop their own property.
Yet a young family just starting out wants to build their own little slice of suburbia(arguments about urban sprawl aside, the vast majority of Edmontonians prefer single family dwellings) and for the first time in Edmonton's history a special tax is levied to provide them with basic services.
We can talk about an "ideal" city from a philosophical or a design standpoint, but a city is in reality just a community of people and a suburbanites needs and desires are just as valid as the downtown condo dwellers. And just as valid as the urban planners. (professional or otherwise)
This is a very slippery slope that once started on may be impossible to control.
Any new development anywhere in the city could ask for the same guarantee of how their taxes are spent and their argument would be just as valid as giving Jasper East's slumlords the break being proposed.

DanC
11-11-2006, 01:31 AM
You can make arguments both ways. In the end East Jasper should be a show piece for the City not a neglected wasteland. If it takes the City to shape the area by having an overall plan and adding in above standard infrastructure, the overall long term positives outweigh the costs, both visually and financially.
I don't understand what is so wrong with requiring the homeowners who want to live in a brand new neighborhood to foot the bill for the initial installation or infrastructure...property taxes overtime don't seem to even keep up with maintenance costs.

ralph60
11-11-2006, 08:41 AM
I am totally in favor of Jasper East re-development but the area is owned by slum-lords that the city forced to demolish the derelict buildings that used to inhabit the area.
For a re-development to succeed the land owners have to buy in to the program, they shouldn't be bought. There are plenty of Business Revitalization Zones in Edmonton that were a cooperative venture between the local businesses and the city. This is the model that has worked and should be followed. To make a special case in Jasper East is unfair to the other local businesses that have been good citizens and have re-invested in their BRZ's.
The city has neglected this area in a criminal way and although I don't have any statistics my gut feeling is that the city probably owns a large portion of the land in this area as well. The city could use it's land holdings to spur development with partnerships, joint ventures or land swaps. (or if the holdings are big enough, a new arena) I really have a problem with tax concessions or guaranteeing tax allocation, especially to a group of businesses that have been terrible corporate citizens.

Sonic Death Monkey
11-11-2006, 09:54 AM
Tax incentives did help kickstart the residential development in the downtown core, and got businesses to beautify their streetfronts.

ralph60
11-11-2006, 12:57 PM
Maybe all the work aimed at promoting downtown is misguided, this is a headline from today's Journal;


People happier in suburbs
Neighbourliness increases with the distance between neighbours
Shannon Proudfoot, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, November 11, 2006
People who live in sprawling suburbs have more friends, better community involvement and more frequent contact with their neighbours than urbanites who are wedged in side-by-side, a new study says.

Maybe we should level the few remaining buildings in Jasper East and pave the area for parking, we could use the parking revenue to subsidize the development of new subdivisions and the result would be a friendlier, happier city.

ThomasH
11-11-2006, 01:14 PM
Maybe we should level the few remaining buildings in Jasper East and pave the area for parking, we could use the parking revenue to subsidize the development of new subdivisions and the result would be a friendlier, happier city.


I'm sorry but, what a horrible idea.

DanC
11-11-2006, 01:19 PM
I am sure that was sarcasm...right, RIGHT?

IanO
11-11-2006, 01:39 PM
i live downtown and run into people all the time from my building and even neighbourhood.....at my parents in riverbend i rarely see people other than snow shovelling or mail.

ralph60
11-11-2006, 01:45 PM
Of course it was sarcasm.
The point I am trying to make in my posts to this thread is that there are a huge variety of viewpoints as to what makes a successful, liveable city. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the Edmonton area who couldn't care less about downtown redevelopment. They have no need or desire to go downtown let alone live there.
I am not one of them, but their viewpoint is just as important as mine.
We have to be careful that in our vision of the city we accomodate everybody, including the SUV driving soccer moms with nail appointments, 2.3 kids and a turtle pool in the back yard. Barbie and Ken with junior and their little princess make up the majority of Edmontonians and far outnumber the people living downtown.
Jan Reimer had a vision of the city that didn't include a vital private sector and so a huge portion of it moved to Cowgary and we are still paying for that vision.
Care must be taken that in the drive to urbanize Edmonton the suburbanite isn't driven away the same way the business sector was.
Jasper East Re-development is vital to the long term health of the city but the area between 97 th and 95 st. has been a blight for at least 50 years. The area is ripe for re-development but it should be done in a business like manner, not out of desperation. We would be better off to leave the area vacant for a few more years than to sell the farm to the very people who have made the area such an eyesore.

RichardS
11-11-2006, 02:11 PM
The whole article...



Saturday » November 11 » 2006

People happier in suburbs
Neighbourliness increases with the distance between neighbours

Shannon Proudfoot
CanWest News Service


Saturday, November 11, 2006


People who live in sprawling suburbs have more friends, better community involvement and more frequent contact with their neighbours than urbanites who are wedged in side-by-side, a new study says.

Released by the University of California at Irvine, the study found that for every 10-per-cent decrease in population density, the chances of people talking to their neighbours weekly increases by 10 per cent, and the likelihood they belong to hobby-based clubs jumps by 15 per cent.

The results challenge the accepted idea that suburban life is socially alienating -- a notion that's inspired everything from the Academy Award-winning American Beauty to Harvard professor Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone.

"We found that interaction goes down as population density goes up. So, turning it around, it says that interaction is higher where densities are lower," says Jan Brueckner, an economics professor at UC Irvine who led the study.

"What that means is suburban living promotes more interaction than living in the central city."

The results are no surprise to Fayrouz Costa, who has lived in -- and loved -- the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ont., for the last 20 years. She has two children and is constantly socializing with her neighbours, who take turns watching over each other's kids while they play outside.

"You couldn't give me a free house in the city and say, 'Move here.' Honestly, I could never do it," she says. "There's just too many people, people are too close to each other and people are not friendly. I'm a chatterer and people don't chat in the city."

Costa is a member of her community centre, where she uses the fitness facilities five days a week and knows "almost everyone." She contrasts her lifestyle with that of her sister, who lives and works in Toronto, and concludes that she "would never leave the suburbs."

"People are always in a rush to get where they need to go and they work a lot more," Costa says of the city. "A lot of the time in the suburbs, people have families and their life is a little more relaxed."

Pierre Filion, a professor of urban planning at the University of Waterloo, says people in the suburbs have more common ground than the diverse lifestyles crammed into a given city block, he says.

"People in the suburbs are pretty much of the same social class, same social background and so on, which eases interaction between people," Filion says.

"At the other extreme, you can have a whole bunch of people living in a condo, but you've got old people, young people, people in between. You won't have that much interaction because of the differences."

Lyn Scott has lived in Steveston, B.C. for the last three decades and watched as it grew from a sleepy village to "the 'in' place" for young families to live," a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

She is now the block captain of a neighbourhood watch program that welcomes new residents, keeps tabs on crime and hosts an annual block party. While most young families who move into her neighbourhood are surprised and delighted to find such quaint niceties, some have a hard time adjusting to the suburban scene, she says.

"Some of them are a little bit cynical and say, 'Oh, that makes me feel really safe, having a block watch,'" Scott says in a faux-sarcastic tone. "But they come around."

© The Edmonton Journal 2006








Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.


Interesting...but I am not convinced. I've had interaction with neighbors in all styles of my living, whether DT apartment or rural farm. Maybe it is just my personality...

ThomasH
11-11-2006, 03:40 PM
I believe that if you live in a dense neighbourhood you will still get to know more people than if you lived is a less dense neighbourhood. Even if you never talk to your neighbours in a dense neighbourhood you still talk to the people at the corner store, or across the street.

7
12-11-2006, 09:22 AM
It is an area with absentee landowners and slum owners who have neglected it for so long the city cries "Uncle".

Probably right in some cases, but these landowners will generally not be the ones developping the land. They will often take their windfall for owning land in a prime location by selling it to a developer who has interest in seeing the community become more than it currently is and making a profit as well.


but a city is in reality just a community of people and a suburbanites needs and desires are just as valid as the downtown condo dwellers.

Abslolutely. However the suburbanites needs in Edmonton have historically been met at a much greater capacity than the downtown condo dwellers. Edmonton is one of the least densely populated cities in the world. The idea of downtown dwelling (at a large scale) is a relatively new concept in Edmonton. I have no problem with the suburbs at all, it is an integral part of the city. I just think that we have done suburbia extremely well. Perhaps it is time to stop ignoring the other demographic.



Jan Reimer had a vision of the city that didn't include a vital private sector and so a huge portion of it moved to Cowgary and we are still paying for that vision

Do we want to make the same mistake in ignoring the Edmontonians that want a vibrant, multi-cultural, eclectic, medium to high density neighborhood and all the good and bad that come with it? Because if we do, they will go elsewhere. I'm sure the statistics of the last couple of decades would show that it was difficult keeping the 18-30 demographic happy in Edmonton. The research is suggesting that if we continue to do this, we will witness greater economic consequences then we did with the last mistake we made when we ignored the private sector.


The next part of this arguement is strictly economic. The city has voted favourably on the vision in downtown east. They will allocate significant funds to ensuring it's development one way or the other. It makes financial sense to have the develpment proceed as quickly as possible so that the tax revenues from the development (and there will be a significant increase in tax revenues) can then be added to the general budget and start paying for other infrastructure needs that will benefit suburbanite and urbanite equally.
The money will come from somewhere, why not have a portion of it come from the new tax revenues from the neighbohood in question. At least until the vision is paid off. I am not asking for more tax money for downtown east, I am just suggesting a way of allocating it to this project to be able to complete the project quicker, and to put at ease the minds of those who may become potential residents in the area. This is certainly not the first time the city has tried to revitalize the area, if we continue down this path of failed revitilizations, people will start to lose confidence in the area and revitilization will get harder and harder to do.


There are plenty of Business Revitalization Zones in Edmonton that were a cooperative venture between the local businesses and the city. This is the that has worked and should be followed. To make a special case in Jasper East is unfair to the other local businesses that have been good citizens and have re-invested in their BRZ's
The BZR's are working, but are it working well enough? Things can always be improved and why should we be happy with the status quo? If Edmonton is going to be the city we all want it to be (good for everybody, urbanites or suburbanites) we will have to ask "Is good, good enough?" This idea does not have to be about special priviliges for downtown east, this could be a new way of looking at how we revitalize some of our nieghborhoods. If the plan makes financial sense, and we increase the quality of life for all Edmonton residents, doesnt everybody win?

ralph60
12-11-2006, 12:06 PM
The whole point of my posts is that this forum has an idealized vision of the city (which is great) but this vision seems to exclude the reality of suburbia.
People here constantly criticize things like South Edmonton Common but I would expect that retail sales at SEC far exceed downtown. This is the reality.
There is a push to spend $60 million of public money to fix up the approximately 10 city blocks that are Jasper East. This is exclusive of the private money that would be key to redevelopment.
The Jasper East area is physically not much bigger than the new Century Place project. This project will house about 3000 people. If Jasper East is double that we are only talking about 6000 people here, or .6% of the Edmonton region population.
Single family housing starts are 8-9000 units this year each of which one can assume will house at least 2 people.
I am all for a vital downtown and support the redevlopment at Jasper East. My point is we shouldn't be falling over ourselves to spur this development by throwing money at the developers and landowners. By announcing the project the city has already given these people a huge financial windfall in the form of increased property values. There is no need to go on a bended knee offering more.
In fact I think the city made a mistake announcing this project before getting a buy-in from the landowners and a commitment from them. There isn't a crushing emergency to redevelop this right now. It has been a blight for over 50 years. There are numerous downtown condo projects that are being built or about to be built with no public incentives. The vital multi-ethnic, youthful downtown is being built as we speak. With no public money.
As far as keeping the 18 - 30 demographic happy, what keeps them (or anyone) happy is a vibrant economy with jobs. The reason we lost them in the 90's was because there was no work. There were plenty of downtown condo's available, very cheaply through the 90's but it didn't matter because there were no jobs.
The city is planning on spending huge sums of money on this area, the landowners should be made to commit to redevelopment before the money is spent, not the other way around.
Without developer buy-in we will end up with a slum with brick sidewalks and fancy lamp-posts.
As far as a strictly economic argument we are talking about spending $60 million on 10 city blocks of land, the payback time will be fairly lengthly.
As far as increasing the quality of life in Edmonton for everybody I am sure there are at least couple of hundred thousand people who couldn't care less.
These are people who don't and won't go downtown whether there is an East Jasper redevelopment or not. Their viewpoints are valid, they have more pressing things to worry about, and I am certain that they will resent the city bending over backwards to reward slum land lords.

IanO
12-11-2006, 07:32 PM
The whole point of my posts is that this forum has an idealized vision of the city (which is great) but this vision seems to exclude the reality of suburbia.
People here constantly criticize things like South Edmonton Common but I would expect that retail sales at SEC far exceed downtown. This is the reality.
There is a push to spend $60 million of public money to fix up the approximately 10 city blocks that are Jasper East. This is exclusive of the private money that would be key to redevelopment.
The Jasper East area is physically not much bigger than the new Century Place project. This project will house about 3000 people. If Jasper East is double that we are only talking about 6000 people here, or .6% of the Edmonton region population.
Single family housing starts are 8-9000 units this year each of which one can assume will house at least 2 people.
I am all for a vital downtown and support the redevlopment at Jasper East. My point is we shouldn't be falling over ourselves to spur this development by throwing money at the developers and landowners. By announcing the project the city has already given these people a huge financial windfall in the form of increased property values. There is no need to go on a bended knee offering more.
In fact I think the city made a mistake announcing this project before getting a buy-in from the landowners and a commitment from them. There isn't a crushing emergency to redevelop this right now. It has been a blight for over 50 years. There are numerous downtown condo projects that are being built or about to be built with no public incentives. The vital multi-ethnic, youthful downtown is being built as we speak. With no public money.
As far as keeping the 18 - 30 demographic happy, what keeps them (or anyone) happy is a vibrant economy with jobs. The reason we lost them in the 90's was because there was no work. There were plenty of downtown condo's available, very cheaply through the 90's but it didn't matter because there were no jobs.
The city is planning on spending huge sums of money on this area, the landowners should be made to commit to redevelopment before the money is spent, not the other way around.
Without developer buy-in we will end up with a slum with brick sidewalks and fancy lamp-posts.
As far as a strictly economic argument we are talking about spending $60 million on 10 city blocks of land, the payback time will be fairly lengthly.
As far as increasing the quality of life in Edmonton for everybody I am sure there are at least couple of hundred thousand people who couldn't care less.
These are people who don't and won't go downtown whether there is an East Jasper redevelopment or not. Their viewpoints are valid, they have more pressing things to worry about, and I am certain that they will resent the city bending over backwards to reward slum land lords.


well said Ralph

RichardS
12-11-2006, 09:13 PM
The whole point of my posts is that this forum has an idealized vision of the city (which is great) but this vision seems to exclude the reality of suburbia.
People here constantly criticize things like South Edmonton Common but I would expect that retail sales at SEC far exceed downtown. This is the reality.


Point 1. This forum does recognize that suburbia is so not going away. Everyone here knows that the desire for your patch of grass with your Mr. Turtle pool in the back is still a big draw. I haven't really heard any Sierra Club ranting here yet...

Point 2. SEC gets criticized not for its retail sales or prominence, but for its lack of concise planning, its lack of feel, and the architectural wasteland it created. Yes. people will shop there, but it has the worst designed traffic flows in the city bar none. I just tried to spend a day there today, and I am more frustrated that I EVER have been at WEM. Plus, the lack of a 23rd avenue interchange is a real p-off...

Other than that, well said.

Sonic Death Monkey
13-11-2006, 12:00 AM
The city can do more than simply rebuild the streets in East Jasper. What the city can do (and should have done ages ago) is buy the slum landlord properties, the peep shows, the hotels with the "No Knifes" signs, and then turn around and sell those properties to any developers with good architectural sense (which means Coho Evamy should not be allowed to partake).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaletown


BTW, this notion of "hey, it's been a slum for 50 years, what's the rush?" really burns my ***. This area of town has suffered from a lack of vision for too long and the unwillingness to do anything about it has been another example of the "can't do" attitude that has plagued this city. Now that the city has brought in a renowned urban architect from Portland to provide a vision, let's see it through. The redevelopment is not going to happen overnight, this is going to take a few years. But it's better than 50 years of doing sweet FA.

ralph60
13-11-2006, 09:42 AM
SDM, I think it is probably too late to buy up all of East Jasper, this would have been practical if done quietly over the past number of years but to attempt to buy it now would just leave the city open to blackmail from hold out landowners. Thus the necessity to have them on-side of any redevelopment.
It would be nice to own the land and sell to hand-picked developers but this would be a legal nightmare. The city can't just blacklist a developer because some people don't like the style of their designs. The answer is design competitions, something I think should be used way more often than is used now.
Although I don't know how much the city owns, I expect that the city is a major land-holder in this area. This land is the leverage that the city can use to spur the development it wants. Through land swaps and grants the city can partner with developers who bring proposals to the table. Vacant land doesn't earn anybody any money so the impetus is there on the part of the land-holders to deal. This could be spurred on by bylaws (way overdue) regarding parking lot standards.
As far as the "50 years of slum, why rush?" arguement, my point is I would rather do this properly a couple of years down the road than to throw money at the area and have lousy development go in just to take advantage of the city's largesse.

IanO
13-11-2006, 12:25 PM
vacant land sure does earn people money...dont think it doesnt.


East Jasper will happen and it will become all we want it to be.

The city SHOULD NOT partner with developers, but rather do their side to facilitate appropriate zoning and the such.

Land owners in this area can either sit there and watch life pass by or they can participate...

7
13-11-2006, 12:38 PM
I think that the money is being well spent (or I desperately hope that it will be...) but I agree that the City should have acquired a commitment from the landowners prior to releasing the plans for redevelopment, or acquired more of the land in the first place. My understanding is that the city is not a major landholder in the area, so land swaps may not work in this case. The city has already talked about the possibility of having an international design competition to design the "armature" along 96 street. Could the landowners along that strip and in the entire area be subject to the same high architectural standards as a design competition? Could the EDC have a branch that deals specifically with the area and not allow any development that does not reach standards that are much higher than anywhere else in the city. This may at least ensure that if the city is spending the money to revitalize the area, the landowners will be compelled to be part of the aesthetic vision as opposed to only enjoying its city paid benefits.

ralph60
13-11-2006, 02:19 PM
IanO, I wasn't really clear about what I meant by partnering, I don't think it would be a good idea for the city to be actual business partners with the developers either. I meant partnering in the same way you did, as a facilitator. I don't know how the land is held, whether in big blocks or lots of small lots, the city could use land swaps or joint ventures to help accummulate developable parcels etc.
I don't see the city entering the actual development business, this should be left in private hands.
As far as vacant land earning money, of course it does, but it really doesn't generate cash flow other than parking revenue. Thus my point regarding parking lot standards.
I like the idea of architectural standards but again for this whole project to work, there has to be the buy-in from the landholders in the area. If not, they may just leave up the sub-standard structures still left in the area. If the existing buildings are habitable and not a hazard it will be nearly impossible for the city to force their redevelopment.

mick
13-11-2006, 02:48 PM
The 60million is not going to be all public dollars. That figure includes the investment of private developers (4 to 1 ratio of private to public investment predicted) in the area and other levels of gov't. The city expects to be on the hook for 6-12m to do the initial infrastructure improvements and land purchasing. The idea is that the city leads the way to reduce the risk to developers. This is what is currently happening with Old Fort Road and, correct me if I'm wrong, the rossdale town-house area.

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/cityplus/news/cityplus/story.html?id=cee11214-a116-4f72-a853-bcad7ae9fdba&k=45043