Items from inside Red Deer’s Black Knight Inn will be auctioned off this fall, before the building is demolished. (Advocate file photo).

Items from inside Red Deer’s Black Knight Inn will be auctioned off this fall, before the building is demolished. (Advocate file photo).

Red Deer’s Black Knight Inn will be torn down for re-development, say investors

The hotel’s sale closes at the end of the month

A landmark hotel in Red Deer — the Black Knight Inn — is being purchased by investors who have plans to demolish the eight-storey structure by next spring.

The idea is to completely re-develop the site — “and we didn’t make this decision lightly,” said Brett Salomons, of Salomons Commercial realty, who represents the two local investors.

A recent assessment of the hotel, which went into receivership six months into the pandemic, showed it has a failing mechanical system, a roof in need of repair, and extensive asbestos throughout, he added.

Given the difficulty and expense of renovating, Salomons said it wasn’t feasible to convert the hotel for multi-family use — or really any other use.


-Black Knight Inn goes into receivership

Investors decided the best option was to auction off the contents of the Black Knight Inn this fall and then start removing asbestos in preparation for a demolition process that’s expected to start in March or April.

The hotel’s sale closes at the end of the month, said Salomons, who is unable to disclose the price until the sale is finalized.

The buyers, who prefer to remain anonymous, are aware of the significance of the Black Knight and its 40-year history in the city: Salomons said they wanted to acknowledge the many community contributions made by the Black Knight’s previous owner/operator Ken Mandrusiak.

Many central Albertans have strong connections to the hotel built in 1977 that once held dinner theatres and sold events tickets for the Memorial Centre. Salomons said he liked to gather with friends at the Black Knight Inn’s JB’s Lounge and order its popular steak sandwich.

Although the Black Knight Inn sparks nostalgic feelings, it doesn’t make sense to continue running a large hotel — with 98-rooms, nine suites, an indoor pool, meeting rooms, restaurant and lounge — given its age and the pandemic hardships inflicted on the hospitality industry, he added.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, the investors will be auctioning off the hotel’s contents, including beds, chairs, televisions and kitchen equipment through Mirterra Auctions and Radcliffe Auctions.

A four-month long asbestos removal process will then take place. Once completed, a demolition firm will lift an excavator onto the hotel’s roof and take the building down to the ground, floor by floor. This is expected to take two more months to complete, said Salomons.

The cleared lot will available for re-development by mid-next year, and the investors are already accepting proposals, said Salomons.

He believes the 2929-50th Ave. lot, with 700-feet of frontage and 300-foot of depth, is a prime, visible location that is well situated in the south end of the city. Salomons feels it could be suitable for an array of developments — from a big box or grocery store, to a strip mall, or even a mixed-use commercial-residential complex.

“We’re open to pretty much anything,” he said, noting discussions are underway with the city to make the zoning more flexible. “The owners are even willing to sell a portion of the property, or lease it.”

Salomons hopes to see a number of expressions of interest over the next few months.

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