GoodLife brings new life to historic Stephen Avenue site

MARIO TONEGUZZI, CALGARY HERALDMore from Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

Published on: January 13, 2015Last Updated: January 13, 2015 5:44 PM MST

GoodLife Fitness is bringing new life and energy to the historic downtown Bank of Montreal building that’s been mostly vacant for several years.

On Tuesday, the company opened its newest Calgary location, inside the Stephen Avenue building that includes Manitoba Tyndall limestone, Corinthian columns and a number of other unique architectural features.

“We wanted to build something where everyone would go ‘wow,’ ” Good Life owner David Patchell-Evans said of the 20,000-square-foot location.

“I thought if we could take this heritage building it will reflect the established nature of our business — 35 years in business — at the same time we would put the best equipment in it. It’s really reflective of Calgary — quality,” said Patchell-Evans.

London, Ont.-based GoodLife Fitness has 27 clubs in Alberta, including 15 facilities in Calgary.

It worked with Square Feet Design Group Inc. and Trigon Construction Management for more than a year restoring the building’s mezzanine, main floor and basement. It protected the unique decorative features including 35-foot ceilings with rosettes and 917 ounces of gold leaf, marble floors, decorative mouldings and original chandeliers.

“We developed brand new approaches to meet infrastructure requirements and ensure the heritage elements of the building would be conserved,” said Lori Ireland, of Square Feet Design.

“GoodLife took great care to rebuild many of the interior historic features and uncovered beautiful decorative elements in the process. One of the washrooms is actually built inside an old bank vault. It was well worth the extra effort.”

The Bank of Montreal building was built in 1931. Music and electronic retailer A&B Sound operated out of the building for 10 years before vacating the location in 2005.

“It’s a key to the (Stephen Avenue) mall,” said Maggie Schofield, executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association. “Anything that is on the corner is really important from how people enter the area. So we believe this to be a very critical reopening. It’s been a long time coming.

“A fitness application is very, very creative. It will really add more vitality because it’s not only open during regular business hours but it’s open in the evenings and it’s open on the weekends.”