• Calgary Citizen
  • Posts
  • City’s first Co-Op grocery store built in 1960 is going to look very different soon

City’s first Co-Op grocery store built in 1960 is going to look very different soon

Sixty years ago it was dubbed store number two. 

Now, the familiar Calgary Co-Op that has adorned North Hill along 16th Avenue NE since 1960 will be replaced with a massive, new, multi-use, two-phase project in partnership with local developer Royop Development Corporation. 

The project is set to change the make-up of the community and will include a 44,000-square-foot brand new Co-Op store, a liquor store, a cannabis shop, and a car wash to be added to the existing gas bar. 

In total, there will be 55,000 square feet of retail in the redevelopment with 180 residential units above the retail space. There will also be two levels of underground parking to help alleviate parking issues. 

A community icon 

The 35,000-square-foot current store has been a staple in the community but its best days are behind it, says Calgary Co-Op CEO Ken Keelor. 

“This store is 60 years old and we’ve done lots of tweaks and as much cosmetic work on it as we could over the years,” Keelor tells Calgary Citizen. 

“But we’ve known for the last few years that we need a new store and that the community deserves a new store. We will be leading the transformation of 16th Avenue, and it will really change the store and the experience to deliver on that goal of exceptional customer experience.”

While the North Hill store is known as store number two, Keelor says it’s technically the original Co-Op. 

“Calgary Co-Op is 65 years old. The first store was the one downtown and then we moved it to where it’s located today. Consumers love it. Team members love it. And the only reason the store is still around is that they love it so much they continue to shop there.”

The new store and multi-use development will be a one-stop shop for customers, Keelor adds. 

“We’re very excited.” 

The perfect development partner 

Royop acquired the property in September and is moving forward with plans for the redevelopment of the site in tandem with Co-Op, says Jacob Weber, senior vice-president of development.

“Calgary Co-Op was working on a rejuvenation redevelopment of this particular site for a number of years. It’s been around since the ‘60s, but it’s definitely seen better days, and it’s kind of come to the end of its life,” Weber tells Calgary Citizen. 

Construction is set to begin in 2023 and Weber says it’s important to note that the existing store will remain open until the opening of the new store because it was important to all parties involved that the community did not lose its grocery store during the construction. 

“We think we have a well-articulated plan to take this older food store right to the very end. It’ll close on a Sunday night, and the new store will open on a Monday morning and customers will be able to walk into the new store the next day.”

Co-Op originally planned to develop the project itself but decided to sell the property and lease it back through Royop in what both companies are calling a win-win situation. 

Enchancing 16th Avenue 

Once the new grocery store is completed in 2025, the second phase of retail construction will start where the original store is located and continue into 2026.  

Weber says the project will enhance the entire community as well as add some excitement to the city’s 16th Ave. revitalization project. 

“It’s one of these things where all the stars align at the right spot… so let’s make this game changer project happen in our city,” Weber says. 

“Here’s a great opportunity to build a brand new food store for the community, provide a little bit of housing, add some more retail amenities and create a real community hub that’s put together by local experts.” 

The first phase of the multi-storey, mixed-use building will feature 180 residential apartments and townhomes with resort-like amenities such as an entertainment hub, sound stage, podcast studio, sports club, and culinary kitchen. 

Join the conversation

or to participate.