Calgary bar and restaurant owners hope for Flames playoff run, delayed construction on 17 Avenue

Click to play video: 'Construction stall for Calgary’s Red Mile could revive popular strip' Construction stall for Calgary’s Red Mile could revive popular strip
WATCH: Some businesses along 17 Avenue have asked city officials to temporarily delay resuming road construction. As Jill Croteau reports, many say if the Calgary Flames make the playoffs, delaying roadwork could bring more crowds to the Red Mile – Jan 21, 2019

For Calgary businesses on 17 Avenue S.W., the intermittent construction to rebuild the city’s bar and restaurant strip can’t end soon enough.

But with the Calgary Flames a near-lock for the NHL playoffs, bars and restaurants are hoping that construction in 2019 is delayed for a resurrection of the Red Mile.

“In terms of the restaurant and bar business on 17 Avenue, I don’t believe there’s anything that compares to a Flames playoff run for our businesses,” Harry Dimitriadis, owner of Jamesons Pub on 17 Avenue, told 770 CHQR’s Rob Breakenridge.

“There isn’t a single event or time of season or anything I could mention that would have the same effect as a Flames playoff run.”

Having 17 Avenue S.W. open to Flames fans of all stripes would be a much-needed boom to the area’s businesses that have had to endure three years of road construction.

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LISTEN: Harry Dimitriadis of Jamesons Pub on 17 Avenue joins Rob to discuss the possibility of and obstructions to reopening the Red Mile

As of Monday, according to the Sports Club Stats website, the Flames had a 100 per cent chance of making the Stanley Cup playoffs and a near 18 per cent chance to win the Cup.

Last season, the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs began on April 12, 2018, and went for approximately two weeks.

READ MORE: Small businesses in Calgary join call for cities to compensate for revenue lost to construction

Currently, construction is set to begin in spring of 2019.

“I believe the slated date was April 1 to start doing it,” said Dimitriadis.

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Dimitriadis has joined other 17 Avenue S.W. business owners in meeting with city planners and construction managers to appeal for a delay in construction.

“From the discussions we’ve had, we’re hoping for the first week of May so we can get a couple of weeks of playoffs in prior to construction starting,” said Dimitriadis.

“Obviously, it would be great if we could have the entire playoff run, but right now it doesn’t look like that is going to be realistic without them having to come back the following year for construction again. And that definitely wouldn’t be desirable.”

Businesses along 17 Avenue S.W. have suffered because of reduced traffic during the three-year construction, with some having to close entirely. And with the roaming nature of the construction, each business gets its turn.

“It’s been difficult for everyone on the avenue as it’s gone on. As it gets closer and closer to our end of the avenue, the impact keeps on growing every year.”

READ MORE: Some 17 Avenue shops go under while others bounce back post-construction

With 32 games remaining to be played in the Flames’ schedule, if and how far Calgary’s NHL team makes it in the quest for the Cup remains to be seen — something Dimitriadis said he’s aware of.

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But the pub owner knows from experience that the way to prepare for hordes of hockey fans includes keeping the doors and roads as open as possible.

“We had a different business back in 2003-04 when the Red Mile did happen and we experienced it back then. There would still definitely be business, but I don’t believe you’re going to be able to create the same energy with a massive, two-block hole in the road and no access and whatnot.

“It would be very difficult to do that.”

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