Rancher’s plans not up to code

Plans to expand a historic downtown hotel are being scaled back.

Plans to expand a historic downtown hotel are being scaled back.

The former Rancher’s Valley Inn at 5017 49th St. was slated to gain two more floors and have a four-storey addition constructed on its south side. The project received conditional approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission in June, with the work expected to result in 71 affordable housing suites and ground floor commercial space.

On Monday, the commission heard that Alberta Building Code restrictions prevent the existing structure from exceeding 12.5 metres in height — 2.1 metres less than planned. Accordingly, owner Potters Hands Developments Ltd. has decided to reduce the size of the building.

George Berry of Berry Architecture and Associates said the height reduction would be achieved primarily by altering the roof’s design. The size of the suites would not be affected, he said.

Although the change was presented to the commission as information only, it prompted city manager Craig Curtis to question another design feature. He said the canopies to be placed above the signs for the commercial premises were smaller than the commission had contemplated when it approved the design.

“I think it’s fair to say that’s not a true canopy,” said Curtis. “It’s a very small projection.”

He argued that more prominent canopies are needed to break up the visual mass of the building. Berry replied that this will be achieved through the use of multiple colours and materials on the facade, and that the trend is toward smaller canopies.

The commission voted to table the matter for two weeks to allow for further consideration of the canopies.

Potters Hands Developments, which is operated by Stan Schalk and Peter Leyen, acquired the two-storey Rancher’s Valley Inn on June 1. When the expansion is complete, the suites are to range from 280 to 710 square feet in size, with each having its own bathroom and kitchen.

Schalk said earlier that the project could cost between $4.5 million and $5 million. A second phase might follow, he added, with Potters Hands Developments looking into acquiring a public parking lot on the south side of the building.