Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Status of new or continuing risks to heritage sites

Moderator: newsposter

Barron Building/Uptown Theatre news

Postby cjane » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:47 am

See first page of this thread for more postings.

Local business columnist Deborah Yedlin weighs in on the historic importance of the Barron Building to Calgary's business community.
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:09 am

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:00 pm

Calgary shouldn’t kill one of its beautiful buildings
By: Irena Karshenbaum on January 25, 2012 |

With the Keystone pipeline likely scrapped and an endless barrage of negative media about “dirty oil” Calgary’s oil sector desperately needs good PR in the form of memorable historic architecture. The wealthy oil capital has glass downtown boxes galore and cookie-cutter suburbs that know no bounds; the result is a prairie city that has long been a passing station for tourists heading to Banff.

Today, the city’s best example of Art Moderne architecture, the Barron Building now 60 years old, stands empty and deteriorating and with a demolition permit for the theatre marquee filed with the city. And yet when the building opened in 1951, Picassos hung in the plush oil company offices of the Barron Building and fish swam in the pond of the Morris Lapidus- inspired Miami Beach lobby of the Uptown Theatre.

Read more here: ... buildings/
Site Admin
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:00 pm

Postby newsposter » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:35 pm

OpenFile story from February 16

Uptown theatre marquee demolition on hold

Jeremy Klaszus

As the shuttered Uptown Stage and Screen battles its landlord in court, the city has put on hold a controversial application to demolish the marquee of the beleaguered downtown theatre.

Last October, an architect applied to tear down the Barron Building's marquee, sparking concern from moviegoers and heritage advocates. The city is now asking for more detailed plans on what would be built in the marquee's place.

Mark Sasges, the city's chief development planner, says a new development permit application is necessary because the proposed changes aren’t minor in scope. "We're dealing with some significant pieces of the historic building coming off," he says...

Full story here: ... ition-hold
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:11 pm

There is a new Development Permit Application in for the Barron Building from the owners that would demolsh the Uptown marquee. As of this writing (April 25, 2012) it is "under review" by City staff. DP2012-1340 is described on the City website as "Revision: Exterior Renovations (remove canopy)". This is the owner's second attempt to get the City to give its permission to remove the Uptown marquee. Its first application was a Building Permit Application, BP2011-13025, for "Demolition of Marquee Sign" which the City lists as "On Hold". See the above posting for the comment on that by City staffer Mark Sasges.

As far as we know the operator of the Uptown still has an injunction in place to prevent the removal of the marquee, which in our view is central to the history and identity of the building, and a benefit to the building generally.

If you have concerns about this, call 311 and reference DP2012-1340.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Wed May 09, 2012 11:25 am

A call-out by the Save the Uptown facebook page to provide comments to City staff on the application to demolish the Uptown marquee/Barron building canopy produced at least 64 comments to the City in a 21 hour period (that's what was copied to CHI) in advance of the comment "deadline". Clearly there is a lot of passion around the Barron Building and Uptown Theatre.

Here is a link to the Uptown facebook page:

CHI's comment is posted below:


May 8, 2012

The City of Calgary
Development Circulation Controller
Development and Building Approvals #8201
P.O. Box 2011 Station M
Calgary AB T2P 2M5

To: Chris McMillan, File Manager.

Regarding DP 2012-1340, Proposal to remove the Barron Building canopy/marquee.

Dear Mr. McMillan,

The Calgary Heritage Initiative Society is Calgary's foremost volunteer-based built-heritage advocacy group, with approximately 120 members in good standing, and several hundred friends on our contact lists and networks. We support conservation, productive use, adaptive re-use and interpretation of buildings and sites of historic and architectural interest in Calgary. We are partners with other groups on many initiatives and projects that make Calgary more vibrant, including the Heritage Roundtable, and the forthcoming Century Homes celebration and Doors Open Calgary.

Our members, and the community we represent, have a significant interest in the retention and preservation of Calgary's historic resources, including the Barron Building.

It is our position that The City of Calgary should refuse the application to remove the canopy that forms the base of the Uptown Theatre marquee. The Barron Building is recognized by The City of Calgary as a heritage resource of citywide significance. Beyond Calgary, the Alberta Association of Architects has declared it "one of the most significant structures in Alberta". The marquee canopy has been central to the building's identity and architecture, and the 8th Avenue streetscape, since the building was first designed and built, and is recognized as a "character defining element". Although the original look of the marquee has been lost, the original marquee platform (the canopy) remains; it is structurally integrated with the concrete frame of the building itself and supports functional signage. The integrity of the canopy makes it an ideal support for new signage or a restored marquee. Rather than being an impediment to the building, it provides a competitive advantage that makes it stand out. Its demolition would undermine the building's distinctiveness and do unnecessary damage to the building, which could result in degradation of the building's existing structure.

The removal of the canopy/marquee would also negatively impact the existing theatre use, while the continuing presence of the canopy/marquee does not inhibit any of the other potential uses for the building. In fact, the continuing presence of the canopy/marquee may provide creative opportunities for other potential building uses. Removal of the canopy would also harm the public realm. It would be contrary to the Centre City plan, which encourages good pedestrian environments, including canopies to shelter pedestrians. The marquee extends over the sidewalk, providing visual interest, unique sign opportunities, and a sheltered space for building visitors and passersby that is desirable from an urban design perspective, but would be virtually impossible to replicate today. The Centre City plan also references this area as an "entertainment district", mentioning the Uptown and Globe theatres. Newer public sidewalks in the area have a film motif. The Barron Building is an original "mixed use" building, with the theatre being integral to that history. The canopy/marquee is emblematic of the building's historic role and supports the identify of this area; in a way it is a "character defining element" for the street as much as the building. The loss of the canopy/marquee would make the streetscape less interesting and less vibrant.

To conclude, approval of this development permit would not be in the public interest, and we ask that you refuse the application.

On a process note, given the importance of the building and the streetscape, you may want to consider referring this matter to the Urban Design Review Panel for their comments, and possibly to Calgary Planning Commission for decision.

Best regards,

Cynthia Klaassen
President, Calgary Heritage Initiative Society

Ben Barrington, Manager, Centre City Implementation
Darryl Cariou, Senior Heritage Planner
Scott Jolliffe, Chair, Calgary Heritage Authority
Maggie Schofield, Executive Director, Calgary Downtown Association
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Barron Building one of HCF's Top Ten Endangered Historical S

Postby LauraGrace » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:51 am

The Barron Building has been named one of Heritage Canada Foundation's Top Ten Endangered Historical Sites.

From the listing:

Barron Building

Mired in legal wrangles and stalled development plans, this high-profile Calgary heritage building sits vacant, derelict, and on the brink.

Why it matters: The landmark Barron Building in downtown Calgary—constructed between 1949-1951—is one of its finest examples of modern architecture and has historically played a crucial role in solidifying the city’s position as the centre of Alberta’s oil industry. Clad in buff-coloured brick, Tyndall limestone, and polished black granite, the 11-storey Art Moderne office tower designed by prominent local architect Jack Cawston also houses the two-screen Uptown Theatre (the last historic movie house in the downtown core), which until recently played an important role in the city’s cultural scene. Despite Edmonton’s proximity to the 1947 Leduc oil strike, the Barron Building’s first-class office space quickly drew oil industry occupants, sparking a surge in Calgary office construction that rapidly made it the undisputed centre of the petroleum industry.

You can read the entire article/nomination here:

Barron Building page on the HCF website: ... n-building
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:29 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:23 pm

June 27, 2012

CBC Calgary television video: ... 250980549/

CBC website story: ... anada.html

Calgary Herald "Hall Monitor" blog: ... ered-list/

Neglected Barron Building on Top 10 endangered heritage list
Art Moderne tower was home to Uptown movie theatre
By Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald June 27/28, 2012

Read more: ... z25XhrAWpb
Last edited by newsposter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:53 pm

One of the Historic Calgary Week events is a talk about the Barron building by writer and heritage advocate Irena Karshenbaum. For more about Historic Calgary Week, go to

Wednesday August 1
Noon - 1 pm
The Exciting Life and Times of the Barron Building.

In the late 1940s, oil workers from Texas and Oklahoma began moving to Calgary. They wanted the black gold wealth that was flowing at Leduc. As there was virtually no office space, Calgary lawyer J.B. Barron decided to change this. In 1951 the Barron Building and Uptown Theatre were completed and Calgary would never be the same! Writer Irena Karshenbaum shares why this important site is so valuable to our city's colourful history.

At Central United Church, 131 - 7th Avenue SW.

A blog posting about the Barron Building covering some of the main points by Irena, July 30, 2012: ... n-calgary/
Last edited by newsposter on Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:32 pm

Spotted in David Parker's column in the Herald today, which is mostly about Manu Chugh architects. They are also working with Strategic regarding the Barron Building. See the bottom few lines, which I bolded.

Strategic development
David Parker, For the Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Plans are well underway to redevelop one of the city's most prominent and strategic corners - the busy pedestrian junction where 10th Street N.W. meets Kensington Road.

For the past 23 years it has been the home of one of Calgary's best-known Italian restaurants, Osteria de Medici, but the business owned by the Terrigno family will be closing down in a couple of years after the corner has been transformed into a splendid mixed-use development.
Terrigno Investments is working with Calgary's Manu Chugh Architect on the redesign of the single-storey restaurant building into an eight-storey structure that will offer one floor of retail at street level, a floor of office space and six floors of condo units.

Chugh, who designed the similarly styled and very successful Casel Marche mixed-use building at the corner of 24th Street and 17th Avenue S.W., says an application has been made to re-zone the lot to accommodate the new usage and encouraging meetings have been held with the community association.

It conforms with the goals of the new Hillhurst/Sunnyside Area Development Plan that restricts the height of new buildings to eight storeys.

Above the ground floor podium, the upper levels are set back to reduce the perception of mass and building height. Extra width will be given to the 10th Street sidewalk, helping it contribute to a pedestrian-friendly street environment and active streetscape.

The corner spot is also an area designated for a three-dimensional public art piece. High above, the green roof will feature lawns and a patio area for residents. Parking for tenant and residents will be in three levels underground.

Kensington is a trendy shopping area and adding office space and the 45 proposed residential units can only make it livelier.
Manu Chugh Architect has a great record in mixed-use developments - one I like is Montgomery Place on Bowness Road that provided 46 condo suites above a floor of retail where another fine Calgary restaurant,
Notables, is found.

The 12-staff firm was also responsible for the development of Sunridge Business Park off Macleod Trail South for Strategic Group.
Four buildings have been completed in the campus-style park.
One of those, a four-storey 174,560 square foot office building is occupied by Worley Parsons and designs have been completed to add another 80,000 square feet over two additional floors.

And now two new buildings have been designed by Manu Chugh to complete the site: one is a four-storey, 50,000-square-foot multi-tenant structure and the other is a sixstorey building that will offer over 120,000 square feet of prime office space.

The firm has designed the Tara Lake Shopping Centre with four free-standing retail units and a medical clinic, and Chugh and his staff are spending a good deal of their creative time to decide on the best way to re-develop the Baron Building along 8th Avenue S.W. downtown, another Strategic Group property.

Strategic has visited New York and Chicago to study examples of great art deco buildings as the intent is to preserve the character of the building's 11-storey facade while renovating the interior of the tower.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby LauraGrace » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:34 am

"The Uptown Stage and Screen and Marquee Room to cease operations and vacate the Barron Building"

Official statement from The Uptown + Marquee Room,

The Uptown has made the business decision to cease operations of the Uptown Stage and Screen and Marquee Room and is vacating the Barron Building.

In light of movie piracy and the popularity of internet services such as Netflix, industry prospects are poor for cinemas specialising in "Art House" product.

We are intensely proud of our past programming and many contributions over twenty years to film, music, live theatre, dance, visual arts, and other artistic and cultural programming.

We thank the people of Calgary for all the years of support. We are grateful to all of the film and music fans, the artists, the event organizers, and our many partners who contributed to our award-winning programming. Particular gratitude goes to our many staff who have helped realise the dream of reviving the historic venue.

The Uptown Stage and Screen was built in 1951 and operated as the Uptown Theatre until 1988. Current management purchased the historic theatre and building above it in 1992.

The Uptown management remains committed to supporting the Arts in Calgary and hopes to remain active in its' support.
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:29 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:22 pm

Final curtain falls on historic Uptown Stage and Screen
Managment blames movie piracy, Netflix
By Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald August 1, 2012 1:18 PM

Read more: ... z22KMD0tDI
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:40 am

As posted on the Uptown's Facebook page:

Last minute Pick & Pull at the Uptown Theatre (Wednesday Aug 22) from 11:00am - 1:30pm. Everything must be out by 1:30pm at the latest. Lots of left overs from over the years at the Uptown including furniture, restaurant equipment, some projection supplies and buckets of Terrazzo floor tiles left over from demolition. This is not a media event, just a chance to come and say goodbye to this wonderful venue and maybe grab an Uptown souvenir!!

Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:23 pm

The story includes comments from CHI VP Laura Pasacreta, and a cameo from CHI project manager Sam Boisvert. Also some encouraging comments from a representative of the building owner.

Fans take Uptown history home
Historic theatre closes its doors
Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012

The final curtain fell Wednesday at Calgary's Uptown Stage and Screen as theatre devotees hauled away vintage furniture and buckets of heavy floor tiles from the historic downtown cinema...

Read more: ... b9b7b12d39
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby Admin » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:28 pm

Article writting about the Uptown by an ever friend of heritage, Irena Karshenbaum


Site Admin
Posts: 151
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:00 pm

Postby greenwood714 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:50 pm

Since the Barron building redevelopment plans are now in public circulation, I went to go view them at the Municipal Building last week and compiled the following notes regarding the drawings I viewed:

-Slated to be demolished: Chicago Chophouse corner structure, and the rear theatres of the Barron Building

-Entire interior lobby of the Barron Building will be gutted and rearranged. There will be a central lobby, accessed by a revolving door at the entrance of the structure, and flanked on the west and east sides by restaurants. The elevators (four in total) will be located generally where the grand staircase currently is (circulation drawings did not include a survey of the existing site, so it was difficult to pinpoint the exact placement of proposed interior features within the existing Barron Building)

-Basement will be removed, and replaced with one-level underground parkade, which will extend underneath the entire redeveloped property. Access to underground parking will be from the rear lane, approximately where the rear of the Chicago Chophouse is now.

-2nd floor of the Barron Building will be converted into retail. While there did not appear to be any alternate access to the second floor retail from the ground level besides the new elevators and stairwells, a +15 is envisioned to be built from the rear of the new office structure, above the rear lane, and crossing 5th Street SW. Not sure if this is meant to tie into the CityTV building, or a future development on the surface parking lot across the street.

-Existing canopy to be removed, and replaced with a new canopy which does not extend past the south property line. The proposed canopy will be roughly twice as small as the existing canopy, constructed of metal and glass, 8.445 metres long, 2.108 metres deep, and 0.4 metres thick. It will be located 4.157 metres off the ground. The drawings seem to show that the new canopy will be ‘decorated’ with imitations of ornaments and motifs that already exist on the Barron Building. The drawings also indicate that the proposed canopy is ‘removable’.

-The new office structure wraps around the Barron Building on the north side, and partially on the east side, leaving the existing south and west facades of the Barron Building exposed and partially intact. The new office structure will have the same height as the Barron Building, 11 floors in total, plus a new mechanical room ‘penthouse’ which will be located centrally on top of both structures, behind the existing mechanical penthouse of the Barron Building, which will remain the tallest point of both structures. The new mechanical penthouse will be clad in brick “to match existing brick”.

-Part of the new office structure will take up roughly the same buildng envelope as the Chicago Chophouse structure. This corner portion will only be ~2 stories high.

-The exterior black tile cladding along the first floor at street level will be removed, and replaced with a similar concrete tile that exists directly above the black tile along the second and third floors (not sure of the exact type of materials, so please correct me if needed).

-The residential penthouse is a bit confusing. While the drawings differentiate between what is ‘Existing’ and ‘Proposed’, the entire 11th floor penthouse level is highlighted as ‘Proposed’, though it appears that the exterior won’t be altered (as it keeps its south-western terrace, wrap-around canopy, etc., I am not sure why it is highlighted as ‘Proposed’ in the elevation drawings (indicating that something ‘new’ would be constructed). The interior is a different story. The residence will be gutted and replaced with offices.
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 6:33 pm


Return to Heritage Watch

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests