This real estate listing is heavy on detail and easy on the eyes.
Showcasing the connection between the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Real Estate Board (EREB), Realtors' Row is now a reality.
The project is a series of nine arbours - each consisting of a light steel frame and a glazed glass roof covering a wood and metal bench and stone seating area - framing Sir Winston Churchill Square along 99th Street. They tell the story of Edmonton's economic development over the last 100 years and the EREB's role in the city's growth over the past century.
A part of Edmonton's $13-million 2004 centennial legacy project to redevelop the downtown square, Realtors' Row is located next to the treed portion of the square and central to the revamped performance areas that opened to the public last year.
|Jack Dagley, Business Edge|
|Realtors' Row designer Wei Yew, left, and Edmonton Real Estate Board past president Bill Briggs stand in front of the recently unveiled centennial project at Sir Winston Churchill Square.|
Each arbour also contains a glass plaque - there are a total of nine - outlining different periods of EREB history and the development of housing in Edmonton.
"Over the past 80 years the Edmonton Real Estate Board has grown with the City of Edmonton. Almost every home in the city has been listed on the Edmonton Multiple Listing Service (MLS) at some point in its history," says Bill Briggs, current past president of the EREB and president during the year that the project entered its homestretch.
Initially, the EREB had no specific plans for Edmonton's centennial celebrations in 2004, says Briggs, having just come off a year of major festivities of its own when it celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2002.
But proponents of the Churchill Square redevelopment project approached the board and, as Briggs recounts, "we just could see so much merit in participating - to put something back into the community that has supported us so well."
The concept of the arbours, which were already a part of the design for the square, provided the EREB with the opportunity it was now looking for.
"It was important to us to have something that would serve a practical purpose," adds Briggs, noting that it was decided to create plaques that would provide a history of Edmonton from a real estate perspective. Meanwhile, the benches would provide sheltered seating that can be used in conjunction with any events going on at the square.
Though officials did not provide a breakdown of the cost for Realtors' Row, the EREB contributed $150,000 to sponsor this section of the square's rebirth.
The contribution was recognized during the official opening ceremonies of the square during the city's centennial celebrations.
Graphic designer Wei Yew, who has extensive experience that includes work for the International Olympic Committee, was selected to design the blueprint for the plaques.
He ultimately decided upon a three-quarter-inch plate attached to metal brackets, which gives the appearance of being suspended between the two girder columns.
"Essentially they're just an information panel to illustrate the history of the real estate board. The message is more important than the medium," says Yew, who is the president of Edmonton-based Wei Yew & Co.
Making the panels too jazzy was out of the question, he adds. "So I made it very simple. The glass makes it feel lighter."
The plaques also have a semi-circle protruding at the bottom, a design element utilizing components from the lower portion of Edmonton's crest.
And when reading the nine panels, those who go to Realtor's Row will find out some other interesting facts.
For example, when Edmonton became a city in 1904, the average home sold for under $800. One hundred years later as the city marked its centennial in 2004, the average price of a single-family dwelling was just over $200,000.
Another interesting tidbit is illustrated for 1952, when the first MLS property listing of the EREB's co-operative listing bureau was received on Aug. 7 for a residence at 11158 65 Street.
The Edmonton Real Estate Board was founded in 1927 as a professional association of real estate brokers and agents in the Greater Edmonton area.
Sales of real estate through the EREB are expected to total more than $4 billion in 2005.
More than 20,000 properties were transferred through the MLS last year and 15,268 have been traded this year as of the first of September.
(Laura Severs can be reached at email@example.com)