Small business betting on Edmonton downtown arena
Historic Mercer Warehouse to house tavern, restaurant, shops
The developers of Edmonton's historic Mercer Warehouse building are betting heavily on the future of the city's downtown.
The building at the corner of 104th Avenue and 104th Street has been vacant for more than a decade, but renovations are underway to house a restaurant and bar, a coffee shop, a flower shop and a high-end furniture rental company.
The 1911 building is across the avenue from where the downtown arena and entertainment district is planned.
"It's the tipping point for what's going to happen in the next three to five years," said Matt Hall who will run the Roast Coffeehouse and Wine Bar. "We're happy to take that plunge."
"A lot of corporate events will be going on in the downtown core, and this is the best place to be," said Ricardo Leal, who's with the high-end furniture rental company that will be taking over the second floor.
The warehouse, built by scotch and cigar merchant J.B. Mercer, is owned by Devin Pope's family.
"A big factor is across the street might be a possible is a new arena, which we are really hoping on, but we also have a very cool building in the meantime that has a lot of cool interesting tenants in place," said Pope, project manager.
The new Mercer Tavern will draw on the building's history, said Jeff Ruptash one of the bar's owners.
"In 1922 there was a fire and it was one of the last buildings in the industrial area was left standing, so we're hoping we can allow that to come through," he said.
The grand opening for the building is scheduled for the spring.