News / Calgary

Calgary’s Kensington Legion to get brand new building in land-swap deal

After years of trying and several setbacks along the way, Calgary’s struggling Kensington Legion has secured a land-swap deal with a local developer that would see a brand-new facility constructed with built-in revenue generating tools to help keep it afloat.

“We’re elated,” said Mark Barham, the legion’s chair of business operation trustees, about the deal struck with Truman.

Under the terms of the agreement, the legion would hand over its existing building and the land it sits on, but only after it takes over a brand-new facility built by Truman just to the southwest.

The new legion would include a bar and restaurant open to the public on the main floor, a mezzanine level for members only, and then two floors of office space above that the legion would lease out to help boost its sagging revenues.

The idea is to create a “fiscally sustainable home” for the legion, said Truman vice-president Oliver Trutina, by delivering a “turnkey facility” by December 2016.

Mark Barham

Mark Barham

The current legion building will remain completely operational while the new facility is built, Barham said, so as not disrupt service.

“Once that new building is built, we anticipate pouring a jug of beer in the old building and carrying it across and drinking it in the new building,” he said. “Our process is to always have a place open for the members.”

Truman then plans to demolish the old legion building and construct a “mixed-use, mid-rise, market-rate development” on the site.

The company plans to launch a public engagement process Wednesday and Trutina said applications for both projects have already been submitted to the city.

If all goes smoothly, Trutina said construction could begin on the new legion building before the end of 2015.

More information can be found at engage264.ca.

The Kensington Legion, known as North Calgary Branch No. 264, was founded in 1953 and at one point was 5,500 members strong.

Its current membership stands at about 1,800.

Members voted in December 2012 to pursue a land-swap deal in order to build a new, more viable facility but potential agreements with two other developers fell apart.

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