Historic Cecil Hotel could soon be demolished

A notorious former downtown hotel that has sat abandoned at the eastern edge of downtown Calgary might soon be demolished.

City committee to consider handing abandoned site to East Village redeveloper

A notorious former downtown hotel that has sat abandoned at the eastern edge of downtown Calgary might soon be demolished.

The century-old Cecil Hotel at Fourth Avenue and Third Street S.E. was closed in 2008 after becoming a hotspot for drugs, prostitution and violent crime. The city purchased the property for almost $11 million.

Later this week, a council committee will consider handing the property over to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) for redevelopment.

The CMLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city responsible for revitalizing Calgary’s East Village.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says because the building has been renovated so many times, there is no real heritage value left to the building — other than possibly the sign on the roof.

The building was also damaged in last year’s flood.

“What we have to really do is think comprehensively about that little corner of downtown and what kinds of developments makes sense, particularly with all the people moving into the East Village,” he said.

“So this is a really good opportunity for us to figure out how that can be used best and I'm very open to that discussion. I'm looking forward to the ideas.”

Coun. Druh Farrell says putting the CMLC in charge of the property makes the most sense given its prime location and close proximity to the East Village.  

“CMLC is well situated for developing this site,” she said. “There’s significant potential for redevelopment on that block.”

Whether or not any of the original building can be saved, the land will have to be raised out of the floodplain, as has been done in the East Village, Farrell said.

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