17th Avenue in Calgary has been a beloved hot-spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife for years. Unfortunately, a multi-year construction project has rocked the avenue and left locals and businesses at a complete loss. We are excited to announce that construction on Calgary’s 17th Avenue is set to end in September. Not only this, but the city has decided to hold off on construction for an entire year.
Narcity spoke to locals and 17th Ave. businesses to learn their thoughts on the news and discuss the impact of the brutal, long-winded construction. Not to mention, locals are excited to finally be able to enjoy Calgary's best shopping and restaurant district once again.
Over the last few years, vehicle and pedestrian traffic have been deeply impacted by the construction. Local businesses have noticed declines in foot traffic, landlords have lost tenants, and people are flocking to other areas of the city to get the energy they used to enjoy on 17th. Thankfully, that’s about to change.
"We are relieved and highly optimistic. It’s been a long haul and it’s been very difficult," said Harry Dimitriadis, spokesperson for Jamesons Pub. Dimitriadis explained that he has watched countless businesses close their doors in record time since the construction began.
For the stores and restaurants remaining open, many took a serious blow financially. The current construction project that plagued the street first began approximately two years ago, with many before that. The area is now known for being disrupted by constant construction.
"We’re down considerably percentage-wise, as is everyone else," he told us. Though the effects of the construction have been tough, Dimitriadis is hopeful for the future of 17th Ave. "We just want to see it vibrant again. We want to see the city have what any city of over a million people should, which is a vibrant retail and entertainment district. Hopefully, the city gets behind that and starts pushing," he continued.
We also caught up with Megan Sereda, a spokesperson for Cibo 17th. She told Narcity that Cibo is very excited to see the construction coming to an end. “One of our favourite aspects of being located on 17th avenue is the vibe of people walking up and down the ave enjoying different restaurants and shops,” she stated.
Unfortunately, Cibo has also suffered a foot-traffic drop of about 25%. Though, the future for Cibo looks bright. Sereda says the end of the construction couldn’t have come at a better time as they are “set to launch our newly renovated main floor café.”
Will 17th Avenue be able to restore its unique charm and buzzing energy? We sure hope so. It’s time to take back 17th, Calgary! You can expect to see the “road closed” signs lifted by mid-September and we can all enjoy a construction-free year on 17th.