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Controversy brewing over demolition of historic buildings
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Monday, February 9, 2015 5:26PM MST
Last Updated Monday, February 9, 2015 7:02PM MST
A big piece of Calgary's history is one step closer to the wrecking ball now that the province has approved the demolition of several buildings on the old Calgary Brewing and Malting site.
Matco Investments owns the site and wants to tear down some of the buildings and put up a new mixed use commercial development.
The old buildings have been crumbling for some time and the project would involve demolishing parts of the historic brewery.
The province has given the green-light to take down several of the sandstone structures and that is not sitting well with some area residents who say an important piece of Calgary’s heritage is disappearing.
“Certainly considerably before Calgary was known as an oil town one of the most important industries here was the brewery,” said L.J. Robertson from the Inglewood Community Association.
The brewery is the largest collection of sandstone buildings in Calgary outside of the Stephen Avenue Walk and is on Heritage Canada’s top ten endangered sites list.
The brewery was founded by A.E. Cross and started operating in 1893.
According to Heritage Canada, the buildings slated for demo include; the 1892 Brew House and Ale Cellars, 1903 Storage Cellars, 1905 Brew House and 1905 Racking Room Storage.
Calgary's Heritage Authority wants to at least preserve enough of the site so that future generations will understand its importance.
“These are pretty significant, interesting buildings. I think properly restored and incorporated into the site, they would make Buckingham Palace look like a Burger King, they’re pretty neat buildings,” said Scott Jolliffe from the Calgary Heritage Authority.
A spokesperson for the developer Matco told CTV that the company hopes to salvage all the material that is feasible and incorporate it in the redevelopment of the site.
The company says step one is renovating the main floor of the bottling plant, that's the big building with the sign on top.
Other buildings that will survive include the smokestack, the 1912 engine room and the Horsemen’s Hall of Fame.
Even though the province has given its approval, no demolition or building permits have been granted yet so that means there's no firm timeline for when the work will begin.
(With files from Kevin Green)