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Select Eau Claire Market vendors face uncertain future as demolition looms

Click to play video: 'Uncertainty looms for Eau Claire Market vendors with impending demolition'
Uncertainty looms for Eau Claire Market vendors with impending demolition
With demolition slated for May of 2024, some Eau Claire Market vendors find themselves struggling to relocate and find a new space. Meghan Cobb reports – Dec 15, 2023

The remaining retailers at Eau Claire Market are hoping last-minute holiday shoppers make their way to the downtown shopping centre for what will likely be its final Christmas season.

“It’s business as usual,” said Tara Peters of Apik Art Gallery. “We’re open. We’re hoping that we’ll be here until the end of this year. Don’t forget about local artists who don’t have big budgets to do this.”

With the market slated to be demolished in the spring to accommodate the construction of the Green Line LRT, some businesses have already secured new locations elsewhere, while others are scrambling to find their next home.

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Karen Kimmel, the owner of Sanctuary Books, has been on the hunt for a suitable relocation spot since January, when the timeline for the market’s closure was confirmed.

She says current rental prices in downtown Calgary are based on a rosy future not the current reality of years of construction.

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“Because everyone knows how great downtown is going to be in the next 10 years with all these wonderful investments and plans, the lease rates although haven’t adjusted to going through those 10 years to see that vision,” said Kimmel. “We’ve come across quite a few spaces and barriers where things have been empty since maybe before the pandemic and they’re still really unattainable.”

While the future is uncertain, Kimmel continues to operate the used bookstore as she has since 2020.

Inside Out Theatre, an inclusive theatre company, has found its new home and has begun renovations to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible next spring.

“We had about nine months’ notice so we’ve had to try to move very quickly but responsibly,” said Col Cseke, the theatre’s artistic and executive director.

Harvard Development, the property manager, and the City of Calgary reached an agreement at the beginning of this year that scheduled the demolition of the market in May 2024 to allow for the construction of an underground CTrain station.

With files from Global News’ Meghan Cobb

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