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Calgary Heritage Initiative forums • View topic - Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Status of new or continuing risks to heritage sites

Moderator: newsposter

Postby Admin » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:09 am

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CHI requests HRIA for the Barron Building

Postby cjane » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:04 am

As per the motion passed at the CHI AGM on Thursday, April 18 (to send a letter to the Provincial Minister of Culture in support of an HRIA for the Barron Building), the following has been sent:

"Dear Minister Klimchuk,

Last Thursday evening at the Annual General Meeting of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society (CHI), the following motion was passed unanimously:

"That the Calgary Heritage Initiative request that the Minister of Culture order a Heritage Resource Impact Assessment (HRIA) for the Barron Building."

This request is in response to an active development proposal that would significantly alter the Barron Building, which is a highly valued landmark of architectural, historic and cultural importance. An HRIA is necessary to appropriately inform the future of this site. We are also aware that the City of Calgary, as advised by the City Council-appointed Calgary Heritage Authority, has also requested that you order an HRIA.

The CHI is Calgary's premiere membership based heritage advocacy group, dedicated to the preservation, productive use and interpretation of buildings and sites of historic and architectural interest. We have approximately 100 paid members at present, and hundreds more friends and contacts. As the sponsoring partner of the Century Homes Calgary 2012 project, which engaged 500 households, CHI received the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Community History Programming.

Thank you for your consideration, and your support of heritage in Alberta. We look forward to working with you to ensure a positive future for the Barron Building.

Best Regards,
Cynthia Klaassen, President"

CHI members and friends are encouraged to send their own letters of support.
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Re: CHI requests HRIA for the Barron Building

Postby newsposter » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:28 am

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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby newsposter » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:51 am

David Parker's column in the Calgary Herald August 28 outlines the proposal from the Barron Building owners for the redevelopment of the building. The article does not mention that this proposal prompted the Province of Alberta to issue a Historic Resource Impact Assessment order in the spring (see above), which puts the redevelopment on hold pending the outcome of that process. Hopefully the HRIA will help to govern what ultimately happens on this site.

Parker: Barron Building to receive a facelift
By David Parker, Calgary Herald

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/P ... story.html

The art deco/modern design of the Barron Building - better known to many as the Uptown Theatre building - on 8th Avenue S.W. is something many of us treasure and want to see preserved.

The best way to ensure its survival for future generations to admire is to transform it into an economically sustainable building. Fortunately, current owner Strategic Group has a keen interest in its significant contribution to Calgary's history as well as its architectural details and has gone to a great deal of effort to come up with a renovation and addition that would make it marketable in today's office market.

Built in 1951, it was the vision of Jacob Bell Barron who saw an office building outside of what was then the core to help attract newly arriving oil companies to settle in Calgary. Barron was able to immediately lease three floors to Mobil and the U.S. giant eventually took over all of the space for 15 years, renaming it the Mobil Building.

The problem in today's market, according to Strategic's COO, Randy Ferguson, is that its present floor plate of 10,000 square feet is too small.

Calgary architect Manu Chugh was commissioned to create concepts as to how the space could be enlarged.

Strategic president and CEO Riaz Mamdani then went on a search of firms in Chicago and New York that had the experience needed to expand the vacant building in such a way that an addition could complement the existing exterior.

He chose Gensler's New York office, who came and studied the building and designed an addition to offer a 20,000-square-foot floorplate, a new modern core with two-storey lobby atrium, larger more competitive retail and a Plus-15 connector.

Ferguson says the new design includes many green strategies including roof gardens, energy performance optimization and water use reduction with an aim to reach LEED Gold standards.

The Barron Building is quite majestic in appearance thanks to its central tower with carved stone relief columns topped by ornamental metal pilasters and stepped-back upper floors, all of which remain unchanged.

The marquee is no longer appropriate and has been re-designed with architecturally integrated storefronts using two-storey glass and sandstone to match the original.

An exciting 'jewel box' will replace the current restaurant space on the corner of 5th Street, a two level all-glass box inspired by the iconic Apple cube in New York's 59th Avenue General Motors building. It will merge into a new showcase for the Alberta Champions to be set in the 5th Street facade.

A long Plus-15 will then be built to stretch from between the Barron and the recently announced new Manulife Tower over to Watermark Tower.

It is a big project that still faces some hurdles in regard to the use of the long-empty theatre that was added to the rear of the building. Strategic Group is one of the province's largest private owners of commercial real estate with over four million square feet of properties in Calgary and Edmonton. Other major Calgary developments

are the 175,000 square foot mixed-use building at 2020 4th Street S.W. that is ready for tenant improvements, and the 16-storey office, residential and retail complex just to the north in the 1800 block.

Ledcor Group is a name associated with some exciting construction projects in this city such as Cross Iron Mills, The Bow tower and currently under construction The River, a luxury condominium complex on the north banks of the Elbow River in Mission. There have been some significant changes to executive positions in the Calgary office with the recent appointment of Jim Beeton who spent the last six years as project director at The Bow, as the new Calgary branch manager. And Dean Slater has joined Ledcor as director estimating and business development. Slater spent 25 years with CANA Construction, was a vice-president - project management with Calgary Health Region and most recently was with Triovest.

DAVID PARKER APPEARS TUESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. READ HIS COLUMNS ONLINE AT CALGARYHERALD.COM/BUSINESS. HE CAN BE REACHED AT 403-830-4622 OR EMAIL INFO@DAVIDPARKER.CA

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Image

Supplemental note from August 30 2013 David Parker column:

Following my article on the new design that will preserve the Barron Building on 8th Avenue S.W., I had a nice call from the daughter-in-law of builder J.B. Barron who hopes current owner Strategic Group is successful in its efforts. She told me the art deco/modern building may be the only structure remaining in the city designed by architect Jack Cawston, although his designs are safe in the architectural archives at the University of Calgary. Her own home that Cawston designed on Elbow Drive, was demolished by new owners to make way for a more modern house.

Choices Abound at Specialty Store
http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/ne ... 96a672e537
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby Fragile » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:51 pm

Today the Province of Alberta released a notice of intention to designate related to the Barron Building on page 4 of The Alberta Gazette as follows:

"Notice of Intent to Designate a Provincial Historic Resource
(Historical Resources Act)

File: Des. 2311

Notice is hereby given that sixty days from the date of service of this Notice and its publication in Alberta Gazette, the Minister of Culture intends to make an Order that the exterior of the site known as the:

Barron Building, situated on land legally described as:

Plan A1
Block 48
Lots 21-28 Inclusive
Excepting Thereout All Mines and Minerals

and municipally located in Calgary, Alberta be designated as a Provincial Historic Resource under section 20 of the Historical Resources Act, RSA 2000 cH-9.

The reasons for the designation are as follows: The Barron Building has heritage significance as an excellent example of early high rise architecture in Alberta and for its incorporation of both Moderne and early International styles. It is also significant for its role in solidifying Calgary as the de facto headquarters of Alberta’s oil industry.

The Barron Building was built from 1949 to 1951 by Calgary lawyer, real estate developer and cinema house magnate Jacob Bell Barron. Originally, Barron intended to expand his network of cinemas by building an entertainment centre with a dance hall, bowling alley, restaurant and a luxurious cinema. However, following the discovery of oil at Leduc in February 1947, Barron foresaw a need for additional and more modern office space in Calgary, resulting in the planned entertainment centre becoming a large office building with a cinema.

Architect Jack Cawston, of the Calgary-based firm Cawston & Stevenson was commissioned to design the building. Cawston’s design for the Barron Building appears to be a fusion of the established Art Deco and Moderne styles and the newer international style. The Moderne style grew from the Art Deco movement and emphasizes strength, order and efficiency, while exuding a sense of restrained luxuriousness and technological prowess. Over the 1920s and 1930s skyscrapers of this style had become iconic symbols of technologically progressive and prosperous cities. Likely seeking to borrow this imagery, Cawston integrated many Art Deco and Moderne elements into his design. These styles are evident throughout the building, particularly through its high degree of symmetry; its tapered appearance, caused by the stepped backed or terraced construction of the upper floors; and the polished black granite cladding at street level. The Art Deco and Moderne styles are most evident in the central tower through its stark, nearly monochromatic appearance; the use of Tyndall limestone on the second and third stories; and its strong vertical orientation, which is communicated by four vertical bands of windows and the tall, narrow, aluminum-clad pilasters. Other details of the central tower, such as the low relief carvings at the base, the curved, stylized aluminum panels at the top and the geometrical highlights adorning the elevator house, clearly solidify its Art Deco and Moderne pedigree.

The east and west wings of the Barron Building are more in line with the International style, which had become popular in the post-war period. This style emphasized economy and function through extreme simplicity and rigid adherence to vertical and horizontal lines. These elements of the style are strongly evident in the Barron Building’s east and west wings, which are characterised by the lack of ornamentation and the horizontal banding of alternating buff-coloured brick and ribbon windows.

The International style reached the height of its popularity in the decades between the
1960s and 1980s and became a symbol of corporate power. The downtown core of many Canadian cities, particularly Calgary and Edmonton, still demonstrate the influence of the style. The Barron Building’s fusion of the older, iconic Art Deco and Moderne styles with the more contemporary International style is an interesting combination and likely communicates the desire of both the developer and architect to promote the economic strength, stability and rising importance of both the Barron Building and the city of Calgary.

Barron’s original desire was to build a new cinema to expand his network of movie houses in Calgary. Although the project was transformed from being an entertainment centre into an office building, a cinema was an integral part of the building. This is demonstrated today by the marquee as a structural extension of the concrete floor plate over the adjacent sidewalk. As Barron had foreseen, office space was desperately needed by the burgeoning oil industry in Alberta. By the early 1950s, the office space within the building was quickly leased by a number of companies related to the oil sector, notably Haliburton, Sun Oil, Mobil, Shell and Trans-Canada Pipelines. The success of the Barron Building in drawing these companies to Calgary inspired the construction of more and larger office buildings, confirming the city’s position as the epicentre of Alberta’s oil sector.

It is therefore considered that the preservation and protection of the resource is in the public interest.

Dated this 11th day of March, A.D. 2014.
David Link, Assistant Deputy Minister
Heritage Division"

For a direct link to the Gazette, click here:
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby cjane » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:53 am

A recent article in the Calgary Real Estate Board news (creb news) shares the importance of the Barron Building and Uptown Theatre from the perspective of CHI President, Cynthia Klaassen.

http://www.crebnow.com/preserving-the-barron/
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby Admin » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:46 pm

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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby Admin » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:49 pm

Minister of Culture reverses plan to protect Barron building

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1813
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby Fragile » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:55 pm

At the opening ceremonies of Historic Calgary week 2014, Mayor Nenshi announced that he is looking forward to the removal of the marquee that once supported the Uptown Theatre sign.

CHI expects that all memory of the Theatre will be removed, including the lobby and theatre itself, in the building's planned renovation.
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby newsposter » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:02 am

It is great to see that the currently vacant Uptown Theatre / Barron Building lobby will be a venue for the 2015 edition of Beakerhead! Kudos to the owners for making this possible. The owners currently plan to demolish the Uptown theatre's interior (preserving much of the Barron Building exterior), but hopefully events like this, which highlight its rare and beautiful moderne architecture and possibilities for adaptive re-use, will lead to a change of heart, and plans.

http://www.beakerhead.com/
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Re: Barron Building / Uptown Theatre news

Postby newsposter » Sun Jun 14, 2015 10:10 am

Plans for the Barron Building have advanced, and on Monday June 15 City Council will consider a land use application that is designed to protect some of the historic elements of the Barron Building. Notably most of the façade, but not the marquee canopy, and none of the interior.

Here is a link to the Calgary Heritage Initiative letter to Council which outlines our position:
http://www.calgaryheritage.org/document ... or_web.pdf

Here is a link to the June 15 Council agenda; you can see the land use application as agenda item 7.23
http://agendaminutes.calgary.ca/sirepub ... ype=AGENDA
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