St. Louis Hotel Fully Restored & Looking Modernly Quaint
East Village’s master developer – the Calgary Municipal Lands Company (CMLC) – has just traded up one historical building in Calgary as its main headquarters for another.
Relocating from the old Hillier Block on 8th Avenue SE (built in 1910) to now the St. Louis Hotel (1914), the CMLC setting up shop at another fully restored historical building in the redeveloped downtown community isn’t just for giggles.
The Hillier Block is now being converted into a new Library Experience Centre where visitors will be able to familiarize themselves with a key part of the future amenity puzzle in East Village – the up and coming New Central Library.
Information on programs, features and the general long-term strategy for the facility will be readily available at this location.
In addition to hosting the CMLC’s new office cubicles, the St. Louis Hotel now features community space on the main floor and a large office space in the basement dedicated to the construction of the New Central Library.
Once the library is completed the 12,000 square feet between these two spaces will be converted into retail to fall in line with the vibrant and eclectic streetscapes that are going to define the East Village experience.
Renovations on the St. Louis Hotel began with fortifying the buildings structure with a new steel frame and entrance design to mimic the original white façade installed back in 1949.
Now, the refurbished front façade looks like it did almost 70 years ago and features three light wells covered by white panelling that reflect light throughout the interior.
Inside you’ll also see on display the original signage taken from the Cecil Hotel. If you’re familiar with the Cecil Hotel, these dim and inconsistently lit pink letters may give you a brief reminder of how East Village used to be seen by many locals as a gaunt area of town where the brunt of illicit activity occured.
Other features include:
- A four-stop elevator with meaningful artwork inside (read below)
- Concrete-topped floors with existing milled floors exposed underneath
- Industrial style with exposed brick, electrical, mechanical and structure elements
- Design meant to invoke original buildings classic, rustic feel
Originally built by Colonel James Walker in 1914, the St. Louis Hotel was purposed to house incoming traffic from the soon-to-arrive railway at Fort Calgary.
In 1959 the building underwent its first major renovation, while the City of Calgary designated the building as a Municipal Historic Resource just recently in 2008.
The CMLC’s most recent renovation started in spring of 2015 and is expected to extend the buildings lifespan more than a century.
But perhaps locals will remember the hotel best for the indoor fantasy horse races that took place in its basement every Friday for a decade – from 1985 to 1995.
These infamous races, as well as former Premier Ralph Klein’s (1942 – 2013) patronage, are paid homage to and celebrated by newly installed artwork on the buildings elevator.
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