June 13, 2018 9:07 pm

Row 17 says construction on 17 Avenue forced them to close

WATCH: Continued construction along 17 Avenue is causing major trouble for some business. One boutique fitness company along the strip says it's the reason they're shutting down. Sarah Offin takes a look at the construction toll along one of Calgary's busiest entertainment and retail districts.

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It was a fitness boutique dedicated exclusively to rowing, opening two years ago in a prime downtown Calgary location.

“17 Avenue is definitely one of the best entertainment districts as far as foot traffic and vehicle traffic and just a destination for the rest of the city,” said owner Reese Risdon. “It just seemed like a really good fit.”

READ MORE: Patio season saved amid construction changes along Calgary’s 17 Avenue S.W.


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But it seems the usually busy strip isn’t drawing the same crowds lately, with construction continuing for blocks and many patios unusually empty.

“It’s kind of noisy dusty,” said Calgarian Robert Mackay, who was walking along 17 Avenue Wednesday.

“It’s not the best for walking beside,” said another pedestrian Shaylee Haske.

The city announced in April they would be putting the project on hold for the unofficial patio season that starts the first week of Stampede and continues until mid-September. But it’s too late for Row 17, Ridson said.

“It’s become such an economic obstacle that business just doesn’t make sense down here right now,” he said.

“The first day that we opened we had road closures and sidewalk closures here. So in our first 700 days of operation we had over 375 days that were permitted closures of the sidewalk out front.”

READ MORE: Calgary businesses brace for full road closures on 17 Avenue SW

Risdon said construction detours and parking troubles have deterred clients to the point the studio is now forced to close permanently.

“Everyone for blocks from here is hurting because of the distruption of traffic and flow here on 17.”

“We continue to meet weekly during construction with the 17 Avenue Retail and Entertainment District and with individual property and business owners to address all concerns,” the city’s transportation department said in a statement Wednesday.

The city is referring downtown visitors to their project website for details about closures and access.

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