LETHBRIDGE – It is now a blank canvas for Lethbridge’s downtown. The land where the old Atrium building used to sit has been rezoned by the city, creating endless possibilities for development.
Maureen Gaehring is the manager of planning with the city and says council unanimously voted to rezone the land.
“We actually had a rezoning application to change the land use district going from a direct control district which is very specific to what can be built on the property, to the C-D district, which is downtown commercial, that gives a lot more choices for anyone looking to purchase the property and develop it so it’s a great opportunity for something to happen on that street that really adds to the pedestrian-oriented nature of it.”
The Atrium building was demolished in 2013, after sitting idle for nearly 30 years. The previous classification limited a buyer’s options to just one.
“There was retail on the bottom, and then a couple-hundred unit apartment, I believe a hundred units for housing above, a six-storey building,” adds Gaehring.
Kelaine Devine works across the street from the vacant lot on 7 Street South. She says news of the rezoning is exciting for the area.
“I think our downtown is a really exciting and vibrant place and so any changes or new additions is exciting and certainly with our bird’s-eye view of the lot we are always looking to see what’s happening next.”
Gaehring says the rezoning of the lot really was a game changer for the downtown.
“Now we have a whole wealth of choices that are allowed everywhere in the C-D district from retail, restaurants, personal service offices, residential as well, so it is definitely more diverse.”
The next step for the city is to determine if they will keep the lot or sell it.