Former Edmonton gay bar to be new home for border cops

The former Edmonton home of The Roost nightclub is getting a new tenant — Canada's border police.

The Roost building to house Canada Border Services

One-time home of The Roost nightclub on 104th Street is getting a new tenant — the Canada Border Services Agency. (CBC)

The former Edmonton home of The Roost nightclub is getting a new tenant — Canada's border police.

The Roost, once one of the best known gay bars in the country, shut down in 2007 leaving the 104th Street building empty since.

This fall the Canada Border Services Agency will be moving in.

"Our criminal investigation and inland enforcement units will be located there," said spokesperson Lisa White.

The enforcement unit investigates violations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, arrests and detains violators, conducts hearings and removes people from the country if necessary. 

Part of revitalized neighbourhood

The criminal investigation unit looks into illegal movements of goods across Canada's border.

White could not say how many people will be working in the building.

The units are moving from the Edmonton International Airport and Canada Place.

The building is located in a neighbourhood undergoing revitalization with trendy apartments and businesses.

Next door, a restaurant, coffee shop, wine bar and flower shop are going into the historic Mercer building.

"We're excited that that building is going to be filled," said Ian O'Donnell, with the Downtown Edmonton Community League.  

"It's been empty for a long time," he said. "It's a bit of an eyesore on the street."

"We would have been more excited if there was a retail or residential use, but again...there's a need for diversity of use."

"We're looking forward to having a few more workers in the area.

Construction's already begun with the office scheduled to open this fall.