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Calgary Heritage Initiative forums • View topic - King Eddy hotel - National Music Centre

King Eddy hotel - National Music Centre

Moderator: newsposter

King Eddy hotel - National Music Centre

Postby newsposter » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:17 am

Latest news January 2012 - see posts on the final page of this thread...


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Group hopes to save King Eddy
Last Updated: Dec 1 2005 01:24 PM MST
from CBC.CA

A group of blues fans is exploring ways to salvage the historic King Edward Hotel – or at least resurrect a music venue on its site.

In August 2004, the King Eddy was condemned by the Calgary Health Region, which cited a dangerous level of mould, not enough toilets and unsanitary conditions.

The city bought the famed hotel, renowned as a blues club, for the land, and planned to tear down the building for the 4th Street underpass. While that was being decided, the city leased the building to the previous owner, who continued to run it.

Philip Dack, a city planner and blues fan, brought together a group of like-minded people Wednesday night to discuss their options.

"I think that we need every bit of heritage, every bit of recognition of our roots, every bit of celebration of everything that's cultural and a little bit different and a little bit unique," Dack said.

Dack says the building may be too far gone to save, but they hope to preserve the name and perhaps build a new venue on the same 9th Avenue SE site.

Gerry Garvey, who bought the bar's name in 2002 and tried to save the building, says that council defeated his plan to buy and renovate the hotel.


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Copyright © 2005 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved
Last edited by newsposter on Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:45 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Postby newsposter » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:24 am

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Calgary Sun Column

Postby newsposter » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:25 am

December 11, 2005
Calgary Sun

Plain-Jane relic of the past
Saving the King Edward Hotel may not be worth the bother
By Michael Platt

At its brand-new best, it was a bit of a dive.

Now, a year and a half after cockroaches and mould sealed the King Eddy's doors, and possibly its fate, the old hotel is a decaying wreck.

This Wednesday, a 30-member group calling themselves Friends of the Eddy will debate whether it's worth launching a campaign to try and save the 99-year-old hotel, but even they're not sure its worth the effort.

It may be too late, and pointless to boot.

Even if the building remains structurally capable of withstanding a major renovation, no one is sure it's worth the trouble.

Even if the estimated $4 million needed to gut and rebuild the condemned hotel is found, there's a sense that rebuilding the Eddy would be akin to polishing a turd.

The King Edward, built to bare-bones standards along a stretch of 9 Ave. S.E. known as "whiskey row," was a blue-collar inn erected in the midst of the drinking dens and ##### houses of the East Village.

It was a place to drink and sleep on the cheap.

The original owner probably hoped to make a decent buck off his investment, never expecting the unadorned, box-like building would outlive the many elegant hotels and saloons that lined the streets of early Calgary.

But the Eddy, located on a corner where no one wanted to build, avoided Calgary's busy wrecking ball, even as other, more historically valuable hotels were reduced to rubble.

The Eddy is only significant because it survived.

It's a plain-Jane relic, but a relic nonetheless.

Trying to save it is like knocking down the Taj Mahal and then campaigning to save the toilets -- but that's the new Calgary.

We're a city waking up to the idea of old buildings being worth more than the property they're built on.

Though examples of history are still lost to greedy developers -- most recently, the Mount Royal Block on 17 Ave. S.W. -- wanton destruction is now rare.

What a shame then that some of the loudest proponents of protecting local history -- the politicians of city council -- were the ones who let the King Eddy rot away without a peep.

Worse yet, they're the landlords.

Even as aldermen were criticizing developers and school boards for bulldozing heritage buildings, the heritage building they were responsible for was filling with mould and roaches.

The city wouldn't spend a dime on its own slum, despite the history and sentimental value to many citizens.

It was the hotel's uncertain future that led to the neglect, and the potential remains that the Eddy may be knocked down to facilitate an underpass between East Village and Victoria Park.

The city didn't want to use tax dollars to maintain a possibly doomed building.

And some city councillors in turn blame the leaseholder who took possession of the hotel four years ago, and failed to spend any money maintaining the place.

But Gerry Garvey, who himself wonders if the boarded-up Eddy is now worth saving, said the city refused to support his dream of gutting the hotel and using the upper floors for student housing, while expanding the famous blues bar below.

The tangle of red tape kept his hands tied until the health inspectors arrived to shut the place down, in August 2004.

"It was politics and navel-gazing," says Garvey, when asked to sum up the Eddy's decline.

Garvey, who's now involved with the busy Ironwood bar and stage down the road in Inglewood, said he dreamed of the Eddy becoming the hub of a live music scene that would have made Calgary a musician's mecca.

Instead, the hotel closed, and the home of the blues was abandoned, its famous Saturday afternoon jams over for good.

The landlord and the tenant blamed each other for the neglect that ended a century of history and service from a rough-around-the-edges hotel.

A little more money, a little more care, and there'd still be an Eddy.

Instead, as the King Edward sits silent for only the second winter in nearly a century, a group of Calgarians who loved the place, warts and all, are wondering whether it can be saved.

And is it worth the trouble?
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Eddy organizational meeting

Postby newsposter » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:08 am

Hi Folks,

Friends of "The Eddy" would like to invite you to attend a General Information Session and share the progress thus far over a beer or two. Please feel free to extend this invitation to anyone you feel may be interested or able to provide any further insight.

Where: Swans - 1336-9th Ave SE (In historical Inglewood) - please note the change of venue and let anyone you know who thinks it might still be at the Shamrock

When: Wednesday, January 11 @ 5:00pm

Agenda

Introduction of the Steering Committee
Brief History of The Eddy
Update from previous meetings
Development of a "Report to Council"
Development of Bylaws & Strategic Plan
Development of a Website
Membership Information & Purchase
Q & A Session

Please feel free to stay awhile and socialize...all drinks are on your own tab.
Cheers,


Phil Dack p_dack@yahoo.com
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Group fights for King Eddy

Postby newsposter » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:24 am

Group fights for King Eddy

David Bly
Calgary Herald


Saturday, January 14, 2006


A non-profit group formed a few weeks ago will try to convince the city to preserve and restore the King Edward Hotel.

Completed around 1905, the downtown hotel was one of about a dozen on 9th Avenue, which came to be known as "Whisky Row" because liquor laws at the time dictated that most public drinking be confined to hotel bars.

The King Edward's other claim to fame is the reputation it developed through the '80s and '90s as one of the top blues bars in North America.

"People have come from all over the world to hear the blues there," said Mike LeBlanc of the Friends of the Eddy. "People have come from all over the world to play the blues there.

He said such blues greats as B.B. King and Muddy Waters have played there.

"The bottom line is you don't get 200-year-old buildings if you tear them down when they're 100," he said.

The King Edward is one of four buildings more than 85 years old that could form the historical anchors for the East Village redevelopment, he said. The other three are the St. Louis Hotel, the Cecil Hotel and the Simmons mattress factory.

The city bought the Edward in 2001, intending to demolish it, but that plan was shelved. The building was leased out, and continued to host blues acts, while the rooms provided low-cost housing for single men.

In August 2004, toxic mould and asbestos forced closure of the building.

The King Edward is listed by the Calgary Heritage Authority as a Category A potential heritage site, the highest category in the inventory.

The city has asked its corporate properties and buildings department for a report on the building's future. Shirley Popadiu of that department said the report hasn't been completed.

"At some point a report will go to the council, but we don't know where it's at," she said.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Eddy are preparing a report of their own.

The group is preparing a website -- www.savethekingeddy.ca -- that will be operating in a few days, LeBlanc said.

dbly@theherald.canwest.com
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Postby Bob van Wegen » Tue Feb 21, 2006 12:36 pm

Link to a February 16, 2006 ffwd article about the Save the King Eddy project:

http://www.ffwdweekly.com/Issues/2006/0216/night1.htm
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Postby Bob van Wegen » Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:09 pm

Group fights to save King Eddy

calgary.ctv.ca

POSTED AT 4:15 PM Tuesday, March 7

A Calgary group is trying to save an old downtown hotel.

Friends of the King Eddy Hotel say the building is a historical landmark that should be saved.

The King Eddy was once considered the home of the blues in Calgary.

The City of Calgary owns the building and is waiting to see plans for a 4 St. underpass that would connect East Village and Stampede Park.

The design of the underpass on the west side of 4 St. could be a deciding factor.

A spokesman for the group, Michael Leblanc, said Monday he knows it is going to be an uphill battle to save the King Eddy.

Alderman Druh Farrell believes at least a portion of the property could be saved.

Restoring the building could cost a million dollars or more.

Less than seven months ago the city condemned the King Eddy, concerned that mold in the building threatened the health of people who were still living there.
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Postby Chris E » Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:42 am

Mon, April 24, 2006

Reviving EddyGroups want to keep landmark alive

By TARINA WHITE, CALGARY SUN


Music may save Calgary's derelict former home of the blues from the wrecking ball.

A music college is among a number of groups that have expressed interest in moving into a refurbished King Edward Hotel, said area Ald. Druh Farrell, who declined to disclose details.

"Most people are interested in keeping some element of live music," she said.

Farrell is collaborating with the city design team working on the 4th St. S.E. underpass to ensure the 100-year-old building remains intact.

"I feel confident that we can create a business case to saving the Eddy," said Farrell.

Built in 1906, the Eddy was closed in August 2004 after toxic mould was found inside. The cost to remove the mould and demolish the abandoned hotel could run as high as $1 million, said Farrell, who is pushing for that money to instead be used to restore the structure.

The city bought the hotel more than five years ago, planning to tear it down to make way for the underpass that will connect the East Village to East Victoria Park.


Friends of the Eddy chairman Philip Dack is "thrilled" the city's planning team is now working to include the hotel in its design.

"You do what you can to maintain any heritage buildings ... because they just add so much heart to the city," said Dack, an urban planner.

City council will have final say over the plan.

Gerry Garvey, who leased the Eddy until health authorities closed it, is hopeful the building will be saved, but added "I'm not holding my breath."

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/200 ... 5-sun.html
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Postby newsposter » Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:45 am

A Sept. 21, 2006 Calgary Herald article about the City purchase of the St. Louis Hotel also had news about another East Village landmark: the boarded-up King Edward Hotel:

[Addressing the future of another well-known former bar in the East Village -- the King Eddy -- (Ald. Druh) Farrell said the plan is to save the building.

"We've got a number of different groups who are interested in using the Eddy," she said. "It could be used for student housing."

(University of Calgary spokesman Roman) Cooney said the university is looking to be part of that building's future.

"If it's a part of the equation, we'd love to work with whoever develops the King Eddy," he said.] Full story: http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... b0c80d8536

See above for more news and history about the King Eddy.
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Postby newsposter » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:32 am

Swerve magazine, August 17 2007

"Post King-Eddy, Calgary's got the blues"

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... dd0cecd5b6

- Note: The City has recently agreed to "designate" (officially protect) the King Eddy, which it owns, in the East Village plan.
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Postby newsposter » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:22 pm

Feb 5, 2008

News of the King Eddy here:
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 30217a7214

See also the East Village thread here:
http://www.calgaryheritage.org/CHIForum/vi ... ?p=839#839
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Postby newsposter » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:29 pm

March 27, 2008

After years of sitting vacant, the legendary King Eddy could soon live again. The Calgary Municipal Land Corp., which is overseeing the redevelopment of East Village, is about to start taking proposals to fix up the King Edward Hotel -- once home to the internationally renowned blues bar known as the Eddy...

Full story
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 91&k=59815
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Postby newsposter » Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:29 pm

Link to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation's interesting King Eddy page, and Expression of Interest Document:

http://www.calgarymlc.ca/King_eddie.html

Image
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Postby newsposter » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:53 pm

Blog article on the King Eddy and the challenge/opportunity of East Village heritage by Chris Ollenberger of the Calgary Municipal Land Corp.
http://www.centrecitytalk.com/my_weblog ... story.html
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three bidders vie for King Eddy...

Postby newsposter » Sat May 03, 2008 10:51 am

three bidders vie for King Eddy...

Calgary Herald May 2 2008

... "We got three," said Chris Ollenberger, president and chief executive of the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. "They've all got their own bits of community support behind them."

Ollenberger wouldn't say what the proposals included, other than to say they all have an element of music in them.

The three bidders are Blues Media and Property Development Group from Airdrie, Cantos Music Foundation of Calgary and Darr Maqbool and Associates Inc., also from Calgary.

Andrew Mosker, executive director of the Cantos Music Foundation, said it submitted a bid because it is looking for a new home.

"Our business is music on the educational side, on the artist development side, on the public access side, and we tell stories about music," he said. "We think it's a great fit."

Michael Glinz, of Blues Media and Property Development Group, said he and a partner -- both musicians -- have plans to turn the Eddy into a one-stop spot for music.

"I see King Eddy as a destination hot spot for tourists and music people interested in getting their fill of everything musical," he said, noting their proposal includes a music store, art gallery, recording studio, radio station and live music venues.

No one from Darr Maqbool and Associates returned calls Wednesday...


Full story:
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 7309676972

King Eddy suitors will present plans, Calgary Herald May 9 2008

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 81c8b96bf0
Last edited by newsposter on Sun May 11, 2008 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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