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Old Posted Aug 12, 2009, 1:27 AM
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Migs Migs is offline
Regina 4 Life
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Regina, Sk, Canada
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Regina | Capital Pointe | 29F | 11F | 91M | ?M | Cancelled

A project of this magnitude deserves a thread of its own. I think this is just the first of many great projects for Regina's downtown, add to this the new stadium, the downtown plan, the central library revitilization, Victoria Park revitilization, and the proposed office towers means nothing but great things ahead for downtown Regina!!!

New hotel/condo complex to replace Plains in Regina

By Joe Couture, Leader-PostAugust 11, 2009 7:30 PMBe the first to post a comment

Neon sign atop the Plains Hotel in Regina
Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser, Leader-Post files

REGINA — If plans proceed, the corner of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue — currently occupied by the Plains Hotel — soon will be dramatically different.

Public documents filed with the City of Regina outline an out-of-province developer's intentions to demolish the existing hotel to make room for an eight-storey hotel and a 19-storey condominium tower complex.

The development is the first to be conceived with consideration to the city's proposed new downtown neighbourhood plan.

Westgate Plaza would feature retail and patio space at street level, "green" roofs and a double row of trees along both Albert Street and Victoria Avenue. In a nod to heritage, the Plains Hotel weather tower would be incorporated.

"It's going to be very different," said Mayor Pat Fiacco on Tuesday. "It's important to note that the developer liked the fact that Regina has a downtown neighbourhood plan. I think that speaks volumes. This is the very first one coming forward and I expect we're going to see more development. It's very exciting."

The downtown neighbourhood plan, revealed to the public in May, will go before council on Sept. 25 for endorsement, Fiacco said.

Fred Searle, senior planner in the city's planning and sustainability department, noted that the Westgate Plaza proposal addresses numerous aspects of the downtown plan.

The streetscapes surrounding the new development would be revised and the condominium presence would bring people to live in the area, one key plan point.

The development is subject to a discretionary-use application because of floor-area ratio and height restrictions. The proposal will require city council's stamp of approval, following a technical and public review process and reports to the city's planning commission and council itself. The project might go before council as early as September, Searle said.

An architect with Burlington, Ont.-based Chamberlain Architect Services, which represents developer Westgate Developments on the Westgate Plaza project, noted that if council gives approval this fall, work could begin next year.

"We're excited to be working on it," said Jeremiah Edmonds, referring to the downtown plan. "It's nice to be able to work within guidelines. The project meets the requirements of the plan and we definitely spent some time to develop our project in that direction. We're excited we're the first to be a part of it."

Edmonds said the developer wants to be "on the cutting edge" of growth in Regina.

"I think one of the things our client is looking at is Regina definitely needs the hotel space in its downtown core," he said, noting the hotel would be a Hampton Inn brand of the Hilton chain and would feature one full floor of meeting space. "Regina hasn't seen any new condo development like this in quite a while, so it's a good time. Pairing the two products together . . . one can help move the other."

The ground level of area would feature retail space, but tenants haven't yet been announced. The hotel restaurant would have patios facing Albert Street.

With extensive lighting and wider sidewalk spaces as desired in the downtown plan, the corner is also expected to become a safer space, Edmonds said.

The top floors of the condominium building would have great views and might be branded as luxury units, while lower floors might be marketed as more cost-conscious alternatives. There would be more than 100 units at about 1,000 square feet each.

Joseph Pettick, an architect who designed more than 200 buildings in Regina over half a century including city hall, the SGI building, the SaskPower building, the Bank of Montreal building and part of the Plains Hotel, is enthused about the proposal.

"I think it's wonderful to see that there's that much confidence in the future of Regina," he said, noting another component was to be built on the space in question roughly 40 years ago when the hotel was designed, but interest rates squelched that project at that time. "I'm looking forward to a lot more of that kind of news over the next few years."

Meanwhile, a famous Canadian artist who designed the Plains Hotel's signature weather tower, said that he was pleased the piece will be incorporated.

Ted Godwin recalled the weather tower was originally intended for the Wheat Pool building and would let people on farms to check up on the weather before deciding if they would leave the city. The tower ended up going to the Plains Hotel when the Wheat Pool building changed its mind, he noted.

"I'm delighted that they are going to incorporate it into the new (building)," Godwin commented.

Bill Brennan, a local historian who chairs Heritage Regina, teaches urban history at the University of Regina and wrote the city's standard history, noted that there isn't very much documented on the hotel.

"It's been a landmark on that corner for a long time," he said. "We haven't given much attention yet to the buildings that were constructed in our city after World War Two that ought to be considered as our heritage fabric. I don't know where the Plains hotel would fall into that pool."

He added that considering "the hopefully soon-to-be-adopted new Regina downtown plan" that "the new project ought to be regarded as a welcome addition. Surely it's a good thing in developers are prepared to risk their own money to build residential accommodation." He said such development that drives growth in the downtown core might build desire to preserve buildings of heritage importance.

Both realtor Dale Griesser and Regina Downtown Business Improvement District executive director Michael Huber noted earlier this week the importance of the downtown plan for future growth.

Though Fiacco noted the plan itself has taken time work its way through the system before final approval by council to ensure consultation, he added its principles are already being embraced by developers and the city, as evidenced by the Westgate Plaza proposal.

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Last edited by Cyro; Jun 24, 2016 at 6:04 PM.
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