Calgary's Shamrock Hotel shuts its doors
Building is on the path of the new Green Line LRT, but no word on whether the city has purchased the land
The Shamrock Hotel in the city's southeast, one of the oldest in Calgary, suddenly shut its doors on Dec. 12.
Burlap Sac, a local band scheduled to play at the hotel bar on Dec. 18, posted a cancellation note on Facebook Friday saying the venue was closing.
"I was given a heads up by the promoter on Thursday this week that the bar might not be staying open till the end of the year," Jimmy Tersmette told CBC News by email.
"Yesterday that was confirmed. He told us that the owner was getting ready to sell the property to make way for the new southeast LRT line and wants to retire."
News of the closure was confirmed by Darcy Clendenning, managing director of Entertainment Services and Products, which books bands at the hotel, but hotel owners would not return phone calls and, oddly, a staff member who answered the phone early on Saturday said she knew nothing of the closure.
Staff stopped answering the phones on Saturday afternoon.
"Yesterday was the last day, they closed," said Clendenning, who couldn't speak to the details.
"The owner is retiring and that's all there is to it. It's not a big thing."
Green Line route
The hotel, originally built in 1914 by Burns Meats to serve its workers and those of CP Rail in the southeast community of Ramsay, is one of the oldest hotels in the city and home to one of Calgary's oldest music venues. It was renovated and partially rebuilt after a fire in 2012.
It's also sitting on the route of the future southeast leg of the Green Line LRT.
A Dec. 7 in-camera agenda item for city council lists discussions on the acquisition of the property, and one directly across the street that serves as an annex to the Shamrock, but details are not available at this time.
"There's no official sale or anything, and all real estate transactions by the City of Calgary are completely in-camera until they're public," said Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, who represents the area.
"We can't really talk about it, there's nothing to report. If and when there's a sale finalized we'll talk about it."
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The alignment of the southeast Green Line, which was recently approved by city council, follows the CP tracks over 11 Street S.E. and behind some heritage buildings northeast of the Shamrock, before crossing the roadway right next to the hotel.
The Bragging Bride Boutique, located across the street in an annex of the hotel, is moving to Sunalta on Dec. 13, but the owner declined to comment on whether that had anything to do with the building being torn down.
Changes coming to area
Carra won't confirm whether the LRT alignment threatens the old hotel.
"All I can do is comment on that as any citizen would be able to comment who was at any of the public events. It's close."
Carra says as someone who "loves the arts and cultural character of Inglewood and Ramsay" it would be unfortunate to lose "an iconic music venue, especially on the emerging music mile."
That said, he's still bullish on changes coming to the area.
"I can assure you that the plans that are emerging for Inglewood and Ramsay as a vibrant transit-oriented development environment, if the Shamrock is lost as a music venue, it will only be a temporary setback in the vibrancy of the area, because the net (gain) will be incredibly positive."