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Scotia Centre in downtown Calgary to get overhaul, emerge as Stephen Avenue Place

A familiar downtown Calgary building is going to get a refresh, and the developer behind it is banking on a resurging city economy.

Slate Asset Management LP will be refurbishing the 40-storey Scotia Centre at 700 – 2 Street SW and rebranding it as Stephen Avenue Place due to its location at the “nexus of the historic Stephen Avenue Walk and 2 St.”

According to Slate, there’s 630,000 square feet of rentable space and the extensive renovations on the building will include a public-access ground floor, a “chef-driven urban market” on the second floor and a “stylish ground-floor restaurant, bar and patio with soaring ceilings.”

“We are thrilled to acquire and develop such a high-quality property in downtown Calgary that offers businesses, diners and shoppers the very best in location, amenities and access,” said Slate founding partner Blair Welch, in a prepared statement.

“Stephen Avenue Place will undergo an extensive renovation to fully reflect the way we work and live now, while respecting and celebrating its history and future as a Calgary landmark.”

Part of the announcement Tuesday was to highlight the partnership between Slate and Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality (O&B) and Concorde Entertainment Group.

“With unbelievable views and unparalleled food and service, O&B and Concorde are thrilled to be creating this unmatchable experience with Slate,” said Andrew Oliver, President and CEO of O&B.

It’s an investment that rests on a resurgence in Calgary’s downtown economy, decimated by the collapse of oil and gas prices four years ago. The downtown vacancy rate is still sitting at around 26 per cent and Calgary employment is still lagging behind all its other peers.

Artist rendering of new retail podium at Stephen Avenue Place (CNW Group/Slate Asset Management LP)

Developments like this are cause for hope, according to Calgary city councillor Druh Farrell.

“Slate’s vision for the former Scotia Centre will transform this part of Stephen Avenue into a vibrant restaurant, retail, and office hub,” Farrell said in Slate’s release.

“Their investment shows confidence in Calgary’s rebounding economy and is a tremendous opportunity to breathe new life into a key corner in our downtown.”

Work on the project is expected to begin immediately, with a projected completion date in early 2020.