Simmons Building Celebrates Grand Opening

    · 4 min read

    For Calgary Municipal Land Corporation there was far more to the eight-foot loaf of bread it broke today with civic leaders and excited citizens than 40 cups of organic flour, 16 cups of water and a cup and a half of yeast.

    “Our breaking of that giant loaf is symbolic on many levels,” explains Lyle Edwards, CMLC’s Board Chair. To break bread with others is to welcome them to your home and to share with them the products of your success. CMLC’s investment into restoring the historical Simmons Building – a $6 million undertaking that began back in 2012 – has culminated in this: the activation of an invaluable historical asset and the creation of an enticing culinary destination on the Bow River’s edge.”

    Since 2007, the CMLC team, has systematically and tirelessly been bringing East Village back to life; stewarding complex infrastructure programs and land development deals which have resulted in over $2.4 billion of planned investment being attracted to the community. Two years ago, the CMLC team announced that three notable and home-grown food and beverage brands had been chosen to occupy the prime real estate site along the Bow River pathway symbolizing a new era for the downtown community.

    By opening new outlets in the Simmons Building, the tenant team of charbar - John Jackson and Connie De Sousa - Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery (in whose ovens the giant loaf of bread was baked) are investing in their futures demonstrating their confidence in the future of East Village and the City of Calgary. “For all three of us, this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to be part of a single vision to build a new community and help it to grow, said Aviv Fried, owner, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. The bread we broke today represents our appreciation for the community and the opportunity.”

    “On behalf of the developers who’ve invested in East Village and are preparing to welcome the neighbourhood’s first new residents this summer, we break bread to welcome them. It’s an invitation to fully immerse yourself in the East Village experience and to fully enjoy the spirit of friendliness and young energy that now thrives here” said Susan Veres, vp, Marketing & Communications.

    In total, the EV retail vision includes more than 400,000 sq. ft. of retail development. The Simmons building’s occupancy fulfils an important piece of CMLC’s retail strategy for East Village, by delivering a ‘boutique’ style of retail that tends to be more intimate and service-oriented. EV retail developer RioCan announced last September its intention to build a 300,000 sq. ft. urban-scaled shopping centre along 4th Street between 5th Avenue SE and 6th Avenue SE which would include a Loblaws market as well as various other tenants representing the home improvement and general merchandise categories.

    Originally known as the Simmons Factory Warehouse, the Simmons Building was built in 1912. During World War ll, its sole purpose was to provide bedding for the military. The rejuvenation of the building to accommodate active restaurant uses was led by CMLC and the architectural firm of McKinley Burkart. Extensive efforts were made to preserve and restore elements with significant heritage value, namely, the building’s solid fir pillars, metal radiators, brickwork, old bank vault, the feather shoot and the metal barn doors.

    “We were very careful to maintain the historical value of the building while adding some modern appeal and amenities, noted Edwards. No doubt, this rooftop patio will be the most popular hangout area in all of downtown Calgary.”

    The Simmons Building opens to the public at 8:00 AM on Saturday, June 20.

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