Historic St. Louis Hotel Ready For Next Century of Gathering & Storytelling
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation seeks commercial tenant for former CP Hotel
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – If the walls could talk inside the St. Louis Hotel, we would hear stories of a diverse past in which the former CP Hotel/barbershop/fried chicken deli/political pulpit was frequented by some of Calgary’s most inspired community leaders, builders, writers, and politicians; all eager to leave their impression on Calgary’s future. Generations of Calgarians have fond memories of visiting the 103-year old hotel to meet old friends, and today, CMLC initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to identify a commercial operator who will inform the next century of storytelling for the historic site.
The St. Louis Hotel was developed by one of Calgary's most prominent citizens, Col. James Walker, who was prompted to build the hotel for the 1913 arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Railway to Calgary. Prior to becoming a leading real estate businessman, Walker was one of Calgary's first residents, serving as an original officer with the North West Mounted Police. The building opened in 1914 and originally included 60 rooms, a café, barbershop and cigar stand. Later, as a result of the building’s close proximity to City Hall, it gained the reputation for being a popular watering hole with city hall employees, including a string of mayors including Rod Sykes (1969-77), Ross Alger (1977-80), and Ralph Klein (1980-89).
As part of its redevelopment work in East Village, CMLC purchased the St. Louis Hotel in 2007 with an eye toward restoring the building and integrating it into the overall retail vision of the community. Today, the century-old building features a new steel structure, a beautifully restored open floorplan, three light wells clad with white paneling to cast natural light throughout the building, exposed brick, and improved mechanical, electrical and structural elements.
“We have now restored all of the heritage assets in East Village,” says Clare LePan, director, marketing & communications, CMLC. “Following an extensive restoration the Simmons Building reopened in 2015 with three food and beverage tenants; the Hillier Building is home to the Calgary’s Public Library Foundation as we await the grand opening of the New Central Library in 2018; and now, we are seeking a tenant to reimagine the main floor and basement of the St. Louis Hotel.”
To ready the St. Louis Hotel for mixed-use tenancy, CMLC completed a $9.2 million improvement program and moved their office headquarters into the upper second and third floors in July 2016. The St. Louis Hotel is protected by a municipal heritage bylaw; therefore, careful consideration needed to be paid to those regulated portions of the building’s neoclassical-style, including: the exterior brickwork, the fenestration pattern, the pressed metal cornice work and, the light wells, and skylights.
“The building offers over 5,000 square feet of commercial opportunity; the base building improvements are all complete and the space is ready to receive tenant finishes,” noted Susan Veres, senior vice president, CMLC. “This is an unbelievable opportunity for the right commercial operator. We are seeking a fresh entrepreneurial idea that both compliments our retail vision for the community and aligns with the living needs of our current and future residents. It’s time to write the next chapter of St. Louis operations.”
A western Canada marketing campaign starts this week. Operators who feel they have a concept that will work in East Village are encouraged to respond to the Request for Proposal which is open until January 31, 2018.