New hotel remains a priority for Calgary’s entertainment district

A new hotel for Calgary’s cultural and entertainment district remains on the radar of the area’s development agency, but there’s still no word on a potential project partner or a timeline.

On Tuesday, the Municipal Land Corporation of Calgary (CMLC) held its annual presentation to the City Council briefing elected officials on its activities.

President and CEO Kate Thompson said the hotel remains a priority among the many developments planned in the Victoria Park area.

“The hotel is really a big part of the area. It complements the BMO expansion and shared entertainment district, which is why CMLC is working hand in hand with Calgary Stampede on the prospect of opening a hotel in the area,” said Thompson.

Work in progress

CMLC began submitting bids for the construction of the hotel in early 2019.

Thompson said the economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic have hurt the hospitality industry, but CMLC has made progress in finding a development partner for the proposed site on 12th Avenue SE, near the BMO Center.

“The ideal goal would be to get the hotel as soon as possible in time for the opening of BMO,” she said.

The red box indicates the location for the proposed hotel as per CMLC documents. (Presented by the City of Calgary)

Construction is ongoing on the $500 million BMO Center expansion, scheduled for completion in 2024.

This project is just one of several construction sites currently under construction around Stampede Park.

The CMLC is overseeing the expansion of the BMO Center as well as the restoration of the Stampede LRT station.

Stampede will soon begin construction on the SAM Centre, a year-round venue to see the history of the outdoor event.

The city has also begun work to relocate underground utilities to 12th Avenue SE in preparation for the construction of the Green Line LRT project.

Questions still remain about a possible new arena for the area to replace the Saddledome, a key project both for the area and for the potential new hotel’s success, Thompson said.

Must be built

count. Dan McLean said the hotel should be up and running when the BMO Center expansion opens its doors because convention delegates will want to stay close to the meetings they will be attending in Calgary.

“Is there a way to speed this up? We know it needs to be built. We need premises for the success of BMO. Or do we have to wait for the rest of the pieces of this puzzle to come together?” McLean asked on Tuesday.

Thompson couldn’t offer an exact timeline for the hotel’s announcement, but said she expects an update on another key element of the entertainment district – the Stampede Trail – later this year.

According to Thompson, planning permission has been filed for a new shopping street put forward by Calgary Stampede.

It is part of Stampede’s plan to turn Victoria Park into a year-round destination.

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