Calgary

Coffee? Ice Cream? Bike Repair? City of Calgary seeking tenant for old fire hall

The building constructed in the 1900s hasn't operated as a fire hall since 1967. It has served many uses over the years until it emptied out in 2015.

After years of sitting vacant, the brick building next to Poppy Plaza could open to the public again

The old fire hall has been sitting vacant for years, but after extensive work inside will be ready to welcome a new tenant. (Helen Pike/CBC)

The City of Calgary is looking for a new tenant to move into the decommissioned Fire Hall No. 6 on Memorial Drive after years of sitting vacant. 

The building, constructed in the 1900s, hasn't operated as a fire hall since 1967. It has served many uses over the years until it emptied out in 2015.

Construction to reinforce buckling walls and upgrade the interior took years. Now, it's finally ready to welcome a tenant again.

This time, the city hopes to find a way the building can be open to the public, by leasing it out to a business that would welcome customers inside. 

"We're looking for great ideas," said Calgary Parks manager Nico Bernard. "You could maybe use the space to serve ice cream, but also maybe looking at fixing bicycles or whatever else people might be interested in."

Located right next to the river pathway, it's a prime location for those walking and biking to and from Kensington. Poppy Plaza already has seating and landscaping that's begging for public use. 

"They can look inside, but they can maybe buy, say, a snack or a coffee or something to that effect," Bernard said. "We want to make sure it's open to the public so that they can enjoy the building. Really appreciate this historical building." 

Inside, the brick walls are exposed and there's a unique view of Memorial Drive and Kensington from large windows. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Inside, the floors and ceilings are unfinished, including exposed brick on most of the walls. Bernard said that's so the successful tenant can customize the space. 

There is a bathroom installed and an elevator, making the building accessible. The windows offer a unique view of the city's riverfront.

"It's a beautiful setting," Bernard said. 

A colourful mural painted on the main floor — a reminder of the last time this building was open — it's a map of Alberta, complete with landmarks like Nose Hill, Drumheller and even Jasper. 

The floors and many finishings inside were left bare so that the new tenant can make changes as they wish. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Opening the space for public use is an exciting prospect, Annie MacInnis with Kensington's Business Revitalization Zone said, and it's a chance to bring more vibrancy to that corner of the community.

 And, most importantly, a public bathroom. 

"Having a public washroom that was properly maintained and looked after by the city, you know, and that could be a separate location from the tenant business, I think would be a wonderful addition to Kensington," MacInnis said. 

With a bathroom, she adds, the BRZ can host more events at Poppy Plaza with the hopes to draw more people into the community to shop. It would also complement work being done along Memorial Drive for the city's Bow to Bluff project. 

The city is posting the lease listing this week. There's already a for lease sign in front of the building. Those interested in the opportunity can reach out via 311, online, or via email

Once a tenant is secured, the city hopes to open the building by summer 2022. 

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