Business Edge News Magazine
Ramsay's rebirth sparked at the crossroads
Popular market part of the southeast community's revamp.
By Tom Keyser - Business Edge
Published 02/21/2002 Vol 2, No 8
You won't find his name in Peter C. Newman's business chronicles
But Calgary's Gerry Kendall has acquired a lifetime of savy since his days in partnership with the fabulous Max Aitken, a.k.a. Lord Beaverbrook.
In the 1960's, Kendall dreamed up a board game based on the Stampede chuckwagon races and sold the idea to Parker Bros.
With partners, he built the Port-O-Call Hotel, and has developed more than one multi-million dollar enterprise in his time.
Above all, Kendall knows land.
And when he began scouting fresh locations for his 11-year-old Crossroads Market, Kendall's eye lit upon a choice but forgotten corner of Calgary's almost inner- city: another "crossroads" where 11th Street S.E. meets 26th Avenue S.E.
Traditonally, this part of Ramsay has been a get-your-nails grimy working district.
Fifteen years ago, a walk along 11th Street filled your nostrils with smells of manure from the old Calgary Stockyards and stale beer wafting from the Shamrock Hotel tavern.
This is not a knock on east Calgary. Truth is, there's more genuine sense of community - commercial and residential - in Ramsay, Ogden, Erlton and Inglewood than you'll ever notice in Mount Royal.
But, thanks to the shrewdness of guys like Kendall, plus a host of creative artists and artisans with eyes for a bargain, the soulful old strip is coming back into its own.
Just east of Ramsay's well-seasoned neighbourhoods, south of the boundary for the Inglewood Business Revitalization Zone, the street and environs constitute a Bermuda Triangle of Calgary commercial and residential real estate.
Tens of thousands of suburban commuters haven't a clue it exists.
But Kendall warmed to its potential in December 1999, when he moved the market from 23 acres on 16th Avenue N.E. to its current home, once a Canada Packeer slaughterhouse.
Renovations cost him millions. But as the phlegmatically observed: "You only have so much heritgage."
At the time, he thought he had cornered a bit more, right across the street. Kendall had dreamed of building a theme park, loosely based on Minnesota's Mall of America, on the site of the demolished stockyards.
He was told he's be given a chance to buy the land when it came available, but it didn't work out that way.
Instead, Remington Development Corp. got the inside track, and plans an industrial park on the site.
To compensate, Kendall retains the elegant yet user -friendly Artspace, operated in partnership with artist Audrey Mabee, and her son Rob, upstairs from the markets.
Home of a dozen high-toned galleries, Artspace drew 400 visitors to its inaugural After Work With the Arts session a couple of Fridays ago.
And should you meander north from Artspace and the Market at the street's southern terminus, you'll find pottery and art studios, the Liffey Players Drama Society, plus the odd architect's hideaway, within short blocks of 11th.
They're sprinkled in among the auto body shops and trucking outfits.
At the north end, The Point Art Gallery Studios keeps watch on the ancient strip from its high west-side vantage.
Just across 17th Avenue, sits John Holt's stunning First World War-vintage feedmill, probably the districts showplace.
Holt bought the ramshackle money pit (his term) for $150,000 nine years ago. When he moved in, he saw stars through the roof. Holt placed 200 buckets throughout the premises to protect the original hardwood from dripping moisture.
A renovation genius, Holt has masterfully restored the joint inside and out, turning the top two floors into spectacular living space, while renting a lower floor to the Full Motion Media production company.
Well-known artist Jeff deBoer occupies another section of the complex.
A former resident of Bankview, Holt remembers what he called the “gentrification” of his old neighbourhood.
But he’s pleased to report Ramsay’s newcomers seem unified in their respect for longtime residents, no matter where they stand in the social register.
“It’s a real community,” he said, citing the elderly bottle-picker who’s been scouring the district for five decades. Holt’s neighbours set aside special stashes of empties for him alone.
But if you’re looking for commercial or residential bargains in the neighbourhood – about seven minutes from downtown – step lively, suggested Holt, a former real estate agent.
“In 1985, you could buy a house around here for $12,000. Now? Nothing under $100,000, and really tough under $130,000,” he said.
Gerry Kendall knows it. He hasn’t added to his Ramsay holdings since sprucing up the slaughterhouse, but he’s keeping both eyes peeled.
Built in 1911, this has been out home since 2007 when we bought it while expecting our first child.
Two bedrooms, 1 bathroom including an original clawfoot tub.
The upper porch was added recently (post 1995)
Updated inside with hardwood flooring throughout, tiled front entrance and bathroom, updated plumbing and wiring (90's). The baseboards, etc. are original and all trim is white.
FYI: The kitchen (at rear) is an addition added in the 70's and will likely not survive a move.
We bought it from a family who decided to move to the suburbs when they grew from one child to two. We have decided to stay in this community as the community of Ramsay has become our home sweet home, however, we have outgrown this house.
This Century Home is free to you if you want it!!!***
We love living in walkable Ramsay, however we have outgrown this dear home.
If you or someone you now needs a forever home for their land, please give me a call 403-990-7435 - Serious inquiries only!!!
If interested in moving this house, interior tours will be available, by appointment only- none on Sunday July 29, 2012.
It will be moved with the next 8-12 weeks, once utilities have been disconnected.
*** (you would be responsible for all moving charges, permits and insurance associated with the process)