Calgary Drop-In Centre's plan for former N.E. hotel released

The Calgary Drop-In Centre has released detailed plans that show how a former northeast hotel will become a transitional housing complex.

Building won't become a homeless shelter, tenants will be screened and pay rent

An architectural sketch showing the building, a former northeast Calgary hotel, that will be known as Centre 4800. (Drop-In Centre)

The Calgary Drop-In Centre has released detailed plans that show how a former northeast hotel will become a transitional housing complex.

The not-for-profit organization bought the former Quality Inn on Edmonton Trail and McKnight Boulevard in a bankruptcy sale in 2012 for $8 million with the help of the provincial government.

On Monday, officials released drawings detailing renovation plans that will turn the building into a mix of commercial space and single-room transitional housing.

Residents in the neighbourhoods of Thorncliffe and Greenview expressed early concerns about the project

Marvin Quashnick, spokesman for the community association, said Monday that polling shows neighbourhood support has further deteriorated.

'Against the developer'

“People seem to have support for affordable housing, even support for somewhat harder-to-house clients, but they singled out the Drop-In Centre as the problem to the progress on it," said Quashnick. "So, I have never seen this happen before where the animosity for the development turns so entirely from being against the development to being against the developer.”

Quashnick said neighbours would prefer fewer larger units with kitchens, rather than a single-room occupancy model.

During the floods a year ago, homeless people were temporarily moved from a downtown shelter into the building as a emergency measure.

But the permit for the property doesn't allow the building to be used as a soup kitchen or temporary shelter, and officials don't intend to operate that way either. Instead, tenants will be screened and pay rent.

"There have been challenges with this particular site and the local community, but even a city of a million people is a community, and the community must work together to solve homelessness,” said Andy Lockhart, chair of the organization's board of directors in a press release.

“We have to move forward. To have a homeless problem in this city, and to have a facility such as this with 120 units sit empty simply makes no sense.”