Upcoming plans for the demolition of a historic downtown building are raising some concerns with local citizens and affected businesses.

The Herald Building at Seventh Avenue and First Street southwest was once the longtime home of the Calgary newspaper. Plans for the site include a new office tower.


Calgary writer Brian Brennan used to work in the Herald Building and has some fond memories. (Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

Brian Brennan is a Calgary writer who used to chase stories in the newsroom of the Herald Building almost 40 years ago.

"If the building is going to be gone, I'd like to have a memory of that," said Brennan as he got his picture taken in front of the building.

Those memories include the fact the building didn't have security, meaning anyone was free to wander around the newsroom — and they did.

"'Disco Betty,’ for example, used to bring her music box around with her," he said.

In a ground-floor bookstore of the building, owner Charlie Perry has decorated the walls with old photographs and says the news is tough to take.

"We weren't surprised, but we were shocked," he said.

New plans not set in stone

Ben Brunnen, the chief economist with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, says office space in the city is tight and sometimes it isn't practical to keep old buildings.

"It's important to keep the historical buildings intact so that we have that vibrancy and the street life happening, and the historic perspective for the city," he said. "At the same time, we need to create that space for businesses to come and thrive."

The company that owns the building, Brookfield, is one of this city's biggest office landlords and owns roughly 7 million square feet of space in Calgary.

A spokesperson from Brookfield says the company has not yet worked out its new plans, or how the old building might be remembered.