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Old January 16th, 2015, 12:47 PM   #1
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CALGARY | Palliser Square | 150m x 2 | 33 fl x 2 | Pro

Plans to flank Calgary Tower with a pair of 33-storey office blocks will forever alter the city's landscape

First posted: Sunday, January 11, 2015 05:43 PM MST | Updated: Sunday, January 11, 2015 05:52 PM MST

Already looking slightly inadequate and a little weedy amid a throng of taller buildings, the final emasculation of Calgary’s signature tower may be at hand.

This week, a pair of 33-storey office blocks designed to flank the Calgary Tower to the east and west are almost certain become a shaft-shadowing reality, a full decade after the controversial Palliser Square buildings were first approved by city hall.

The result will be an already fading landmark further obscured by progress — and with views of the once-iconic spire already blocked by buildings like The Bow, the latest glass-and-steel neighbours promise to end the Calgary Tower’s role as the dominant skyline symbol for good.

“I’ll hate to see that happen — it certainly takes away from the importance the tower once had,” said Lorraine Milne.

“This just doesn’t seem right.”

Many Calgarians hold a warm place in their hearts for the 191-metre-high spire that dominated downtown for nearly 40 years, but to Milne, the fate of the tower is something far more personal.

It was her husband, architect W.G. Milne, who first proposed an iconic tower to celebrate Canada’s centennial — and though Bill Milne’s favoured design was something more elegant and Eiffelesque than the final product, he is considered the father of Calgary’s current tower.


The plan isn’t completely new, and the blueprint for the towers has been back-and-forth to city hall a couple of times since Aspen Properties announced its intention to redevelop the Palliser Square and Tower Centre zone, back in 2004.

But the shoulders have since grown, from 24 storeys in 2005, to 29 storeys when resubmitted in 2008, to 33 now — and though only six metres taller than the former plan, the latest design leaves only one-quarter of the Calgary Tower to poke out above its proposed neighbours.

We are floating in space...

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