Monday, March 30, 2015

History Joins the Future

On March 26, 2015, an official statement was released by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation regarding two historical buildings within East Village - the St. Louis Hotel and the Cecil Hotel.

In 2007, CMLC started the rejuvenation process of the Oldest, Newest, Coolest, Warmest neighbourhood in the city - East Village. Apart from successfully tempting major developers to join this growing community, it also purchased some major landmark buildings, aiming to preserve and re-purpose the history of EV. These include the King Eddy Hotel, the Hillier Block, the Simmons Building and the St. Louis Hotel.

The first three has already begun undergoing their redevelopment as, respectively, the new National Music Centre, the home for the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and the new Culinary Centre of the neighbourhood.

This week the development permit application was submitted for the St. Louis Hotel, where an improvement program is described; the plan is to turn it into a mixed-used commercial space.
What we can expect is a food service tenant in the basement and / or / the main floor, and cooperative office uses in the two upper storeys. Thus, CMLC hopes to honour this historical building's past. Here is what Susan Veres, VP Marketing & Communication for CMLC had to say about this latest step in EV Life: "Our heritage assets give us an exciting opportunity to recreate East Village as a uniquely compelling destination and retail district. The St. Louis Hotel is particularly relevant to Calgarians as it was made famous by former Calgary Mayor and AB Premier Ralph Klein..."

However, this exciting news are not the last to be announced this week; on this year's last day, December 31st 2015, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation will obtain full ownership of yet another historical, if not infamous, building - the Cecil Hotel!
Despite its (somewhat) unique reputation the old hotel has high value with regards to East Village - it is the gateway between Downtown Calgary and the revitalizing neighbourhood.

At its age of 104, this building has gone through a lot, including some renovation projects throughout the years and some pain after the 2013 AB Flood. "At this point, we do not know how much of the building's historical value remains, but you can rest assured we'll study the structure to see what, if anything, can be preserved" says Michael Brown, President and CEO of CMLC.

Here's a quick summary of what the neighbourhood is growing up to be, as outlined by CMLC:

  • a mixed-used, amenity-rich, master-planned neighbourhood in the Downtown core
  • a home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027
  • local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick's Island Park, New Central Library, National Music Centre, Urban shopping centre
The more time passes by the more projects and growth are visible throughout the ever evolving East Village.

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