For decades, it’s been known as Motel Village.
The cluster of motels and cheap rooms for rent has sat between 16 Avenue, Crowchild Trail and Banff Trail in northwest Calgary since the late 1950s.
But over the years, the area became rundown and crime skyrocketed.
“Motel Village was essentially useless to the residents of Banff Trail for so long that it’s fallen out of our psyche as a place we talk about,” president of the Banff Trail Community Association, Barry Clement said. “It’s only recently that people have begun to notice that it could be a great place again.”
In recent years, the landscape has started to change.
Many of the motels some saw as seedy have been torn down; the removal of the Savoury Lodge is seen by Clement as the catalyst for the area’s evolution. There’s currently only one motel left in the area.
Higher end, franchise hotels began opening their doors in the area, like the Hampton Inn, Aloft and the Holiday Inn.
One hotel general manager in the area believes the newer hotels have attracted a more professional clientele.
“With that comes standards,” Econolodge Inn & Suites general manager Zeenat Ladak said. “We get a lot of professionals and students.”
The changes being made to the area have gone relatively unnoticed and that’s something the Banff Trail Community Association is hoping to change.
“It’s right next to the stadium, it’s near the hospital, it’s near the university and it seems anomalously bad in terms of infrastructure and quality of services,” Clement said. “I think we’re seeing it suddenly begin to catch up in terms of the dream of what it could be.”
Business owners in the area are hoping the area’s newer look will be accompanied by a re-branding and new name which would help leave the area’s seedy history in the past.
“Motel Village has a different connotation, it no longer describes what it is here, so if the name changed, it would have a different image,” Ladak, said. “What used to be a transient, overnight on-route on Highway 1 has changed — it’s now become a destination for businesses as well as for travellers.”
Ladak is proposing names like West Village or Northwest Village.
Meanwhile, Clement has heard names being tossed around like McMahon Village or University Village.
LISTEN: Banff Trail Community Association president Barry Clement joins The Morning News to discuss why ‘Motel Village’ needs a new name
The Banff Trail Community Association is working to create a business improvement area to help promote the new and improved Motel Village, as well as work with city officials to help continue the re-vamp.
But the challenge, according to Clement, is how to approach an official name change to the area as Motel Village isn’t the formal name for the business park.
“It’s no longer Motel Village, it hasn’t been Motel Village for a little while,” Clement said. “So I don’t think it’s so much the name but the effort put in to re-brand it and re-imagine it.”
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