July 21st, 2024

Ground breaks at Canalta’s newest site

By Collin Gallant on August 19, 2017.

The early stages of construction are underway at the new Canalta Hotels complex near Home Depot.--NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT


Site grading is underway on a large commercial construction project in Medicine Hat’s south end.

Canalta Hotels broke ground at the site this week after stockpiling dirt and bringing in earth-moving equipment to its site at 2501 Strachan Rd. By the end of 2018, the company plans to be complete building a six-storey hotel, two standalone restaurants, a four-bay commercial strip as well as a South Country Co-op plaza.

Rob Visser is heading the project for Drumheller-based Canalta, which already operates the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton in the city’s west end.

“It’s a four-building development that will be an exciting addition to our Medicine Hat portfolio,” said Visser.

“The hotel will be around 120 rooms and we’re very excited about it … It will give us two strong Hilton-branded hotels in the same city.

“It’s a major investment for our company, which is family owned, and we’ll be holding these assets for a long time and operating the businesses.”

Last year, the city land office announced it had reached a conditional sale for about half the 17-acre lot with Canalta’s real estate wing.

The initial transaction, valued at $3.3 million, closed as scheduled on Aug. 4. An option is in place for one year on the remaining portion, with Canalta planning a long-term seniors’ housing complex and shopping other portions to tenants and developers.

Phase 1 includes the hotel, South Country’s complex — including gas bar, convenience store, carwash and liquor store — an A&W restaurant and Boston Pizza.

Foundation work on the hotel and other buildings could begin in September, said Visser, with work over the winter leading to staggered openings. The restaurants could open in the winter or early spring. the hotel’s tentative finishing date is late 2018.

Grant MacKay of the city’s land department said the municipal land deal is major and the amount of construction activity is encouraging.

“Just speaking as a citizen, I can’t remember a time when things have been this busy in commercial construction,” he said.

An unrelated development to clear the former Walmart Supercentre across Strachan Road has been underway since the winter.

It will eventually be home to a Save-on-Foods grocery store and other medium-sized commercial bays.

Two other developers that are planning 100-plus room hotels, have said they hope to start work this year on their respective sites near the Black and White Trail.

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