Hip hotels help revitalize Calgary’s ‘Motel Village’

CALGARY- An area that’s long been called ‘Motel Village’ could be overdue for a new nickname, as major hotels continue to revitalize the strip.

The Aloft chain is the latest to open along Banff Trail N.W., joining the Holiday Inn which recently set up shop.

“We call it the ‘village’, we don’t like to refer to it as ‘motel,’” explains Farrah Bhanji, managing director of Aloft Calgary. “We have more than 850 rooms in this area, and 70 per cent of them have been redone.”

She adds that the company spent $25 million on the ultra-modern project, which will hopefully provide a lift to the whole area.

“For us it made sense, because of the location. It’s so close to McMahon stadium, close to the university, right across from the train station, minutes to downtown Calgary.

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The city has taken big steps to clean up the area in recent years, which was once a hot bed for drugs and prostitution.

“Safety has improved, most definitely the community is more of a transition community now, with younger people moving in,” says Marilyn, who has family living in the area. “My mom has noticed an increase in the number of children and little kids coming at Halloween time.”

Officials are also allowing more office and residential developments, in an effort to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

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