This winter, Calgary hospitality businesses have a rare chance to help write the next chapter for one of the city’s most beloved historical buildings. The latest jewel of Calgary’s East Village to get a makeover is the legendary St. Louis Hotel. Once an infamous watering hole for both the down-and-out and the well-to-do, the refurbished St. Louis now houses the offices of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) on its upper floors, with the main floor and basement level now available for long-term commercial lease.
CMLC is looking to refit the main floor as a restaurant and put a business that will align with the spirit of the original St. Louis’ legendary bar into the basement space. The idea is similar to what CMLC did with the nearby Simmons Building – to build a creative and vibrant eating and meeting spot that pays homage to the building’s history.
CMLC’s Senior VP of Strategy and Business Development Susan Veres recalls a time when local luminaries would gather in the basement of the St. Louis to listen to George Stephenson Sr.’s fictitious “Friday Horse Races,” and she envisions a tenant that could recreate that unique energy.
“In the lower level we’re really trying to explore a theme of how this building was used in the ’70s and ’80s as a real sort of political pulpit speakeasy,” she says. “It was all very fun and very innocent but a lot of politicians and media people made that space really popular. The lower level would be best served by a tenant that is a modern version of that.”
In addition to the prime location in the increasingly bustling East Village (the building is steps away from the new Central Library, the National Music Centre’s Studio Bell
, and the Riverwalk pathway), the St. Louis offers brewpubs, restaurants and other businesses a rare home that combines historical charm and nostalgia with a fully modern retrofit. The hotel’s iconic 1950s signage has been carefully refurbished and proudly sits on the exterior of the building. The 100-year-old designated heritage site also boasts exposed brick and original structural elements as well as a bright and sunny open floor plan. In total, CMLC is offering 9,600 square feet of space: 5,200 square feet on the main level and 4,400 square feet downstairs.
“My objective is to have a wonderful and novel idea that hasn’t been done in Calgary before,” Veres says. “We’re looking for something that really embraces the history of this building and meets with the operational needs of our company, as well as the delivery of the retail along the street including the new Central Library.”
CMLC will be accepting tenant proposals for the available spaces in the St. Louis hotel until January 31, 2018. Restaurateurs and investors who want to make their mark on Calgary’s legacy can get more information and a full list of proposal requirements at the CMLC land sales webpage.
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