CALGARY — Mired by a spree of violent crime, the historic Cecil Hotel near Calgary’s East Village neighbourhood was purchased by the City of Calgary for approximately $11 million in 2008. As part of an urban revitalization plan, the property was ordered shut down and has sat vacant since. This week, city council discusses options for its sale, demolition and redevelopment.
The property opened in 1912 as the Hotel Cecil and is one of only six remaining hotels built in Calgary prior to the First World War. By the 1970s, its tavern had become a hotbed for illicit drugs, prostitution and homelessness, culminating in the stabbing death of a 23-year-old in 2008.
The property was ravaged by fire and recent flooding but is in a prime location for an urban revitalization. As reported by the Calgary Herald, mayor Naheed Nenshi says the hotel has been “gutted and renovated so many times that there’s very little historical value to it anymore.” However, he hopes the hotel’s hallmark sign can be saved.