Calgary's former mayor wants to transform this East Village lot into a food hall

Former mayor Dave Bronconnier envisions a new food hall rising on a triangle-shaped piece of land beside the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

Dave Bronconnier's project would go up across from the Drop-In Centre

The Corner food hall would be built on a triangle-shaped lot across from the Calgary Drop-In Centre. (Interloq)

A triangle-shaped parcel of land in the East Village could become the home of an unusual new food hall.

Framed by a flyover bridge, roads and the Calgary Drop-In Centre, it's a quirky property that will need something unique.

Enter: the city's former mayor Dave Bronconnier.

During his time in the mayor's office, Bronconnier had a hand in jump-starting the revitalization of the then run-down area east of city hall. He retired from politics in 2010.

Former Calgary mayor Dave Bronconnier wants to build a food hall in East Village. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

"I was committed when I was in my previous role and job and I'm still committed to seeing this area develop out," said Bronconnier.

Through his company Interloq Capital, which invests in real estate projects, Bronconnier wants to put his money down on the future of the East Village.

Three-sided building for triangle-shaped lot

The $5-million project is tentatively called The Corner.

It's a triangle-shaped piece of land, so The Corner will have three sides as well.

Bronconnier said it will feature a couple of restaurants as anchor tenants but there will also be a rotating selection of small food stalls where budding chefs and entrepreneurs can try out new food concepts.

There will be a food court-style seating area for customers.

Dave Bronconnier acknowledges it's a challenging piece of land, close to the Bow River and framed by a flyover bridge and the Drop-In Centre. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The building can only have two floors, because of the flyover on one side that links downtown with Memorial Drive.

Bronconnier has already talked to officials at the Drop-In Centre about how his concept can fit into the neighbourhood.

"We've worked closely with the Drop-In Centre in terms of developing a good neighbour policy, working around security issues that may arise in terms of their cameras pointed at this site and likewise, a sharing of information back and forth," he said.

Challenging site

The land is currently owned by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), but if he gets all of his approvals from city hall, Bronconnier plans on purchasing the property.

CMLC's senior vice-president of strategy and business development, Susan Veres, agrees it's a challenging site to develop.

It solicited ideas for the site through a request for proposals. Only Bronconnier responded.

"We thought it would be the last parcel to sell. It's constrained above because of the flyover and difficult to build on," said Veres.

"Somebody's come up with a very creative idea on how to activate the land."

If the approvals can be sorted out, construction on The Corner could start next year. (Interloq)

She said there is some commercial development happening in the East Village but more is needed to serve the future population.

"When you build a community for 11,000 people, you need at least 500,000 square feet of retail to service all of those homeowners," said Veres.

"This particular parcel of land is dedicated for commercial building only."

With its location on the Riverwalk and the river, she said The Corner will also be an ideal stop for visitors to the area.

Construction next year?

Bronconnier said he doesn't have tenants lined up yet. 

He's hoping to get all of the planning approvals by late summer and construction could start next year. 

The former mayor said he's up for the challenge of making this project work on an unusual piece of land.

"Creating something neat, something special, dealing with something difficult is a bit of fun."