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Developer unveils overhaul to historic Edmonton hotel: ‘It was a little bit of a leap of faith’

Historic Edmonton hotel getting facelift
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton's Pendennis Hotel has changed hands several times since it was built more than a century ago. As Breanna Karstens-Smith explains, the building is now getting a new lease on life.

A century old hotel in Edmonton’s Quarters District is getting a new life.

Built in 1911, the Pendennis Hotel was converted to apartments in 1920 following prohibition. It was later renamed the Lodge Hotel.

The building has changed hands several times. Most recently, the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum planned to revitalize it but it proved too large of a project.

The new owner, Pendennis Developments, estimates thirty developers considered taking over the project.

“A lot of people just could not picture [it], I think,” Lorraine Bodnarek with Pendennis Developments said. “[They’d think], ‘Well, this is just a money pit,’

“They didn’t want to touch it. But we knew it wasn’t.”

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Bodnarek and her team planned and designed a building that will offer a modern, open concept space that still honours the historic site.

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The design includes using windows that look similar to the originals and spending months on masonry work to restore three storeys of old brick.

With the building sitting vacant for about three years, the work has not been easy.

“One of our biggest challenges for us when we first occupied the building was finding a new residence for the pigeons– and of course cleaning up everything they had left behind,” said Ed Cyrankiewicz with Pendennis Developments.

The Pendennis Hotel
Concept art of the interior of the Pendennis Hotel redevelopment. Pendennis Developments

Exactly who will occupy the space is still up in the air. The developers are hopeful they can attract some sort of innovation whether that is an architect, engineering firm or tech company.

Pendennis is also in talks with the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum to potentially allow them to display some of their artifacts.

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Developers of Pendennis Hotel on the importance of preserving history
Developers of Pendennis Hotel on the importance of preserving history

Whoever moves in will join a community under redevelopment.

The LRT will soon run just steps away, one of the reasons the developers were interested. There’s also a new hotel to the east along with a new tower of apartments.

Around the corner on 97 Street, The Nook Café has been open for about two and a half years. The owners are hopeful for the redevelopment.

“The caution we bring to that is, be cognizant of the community, the community members that live here. And include them and integrate them into your plans,” said Nook co-owner Marnie Suitor.

The developers say they have received interest from several groups and hope to have the first tenants in place by the summer of 2020.

The Pendennis Hotel
The Pendennis Hotel Pendennis Developments
The Pendennis Hotel
The Pendennis Hotel Pendennis Developments