Support was unanimously approved for Hockey Central’s changes to the former Smugglers building at the foot of 50th Street, during the Municipal Planning Commission meeting Monday night.
Members recommended to council that the development application be approved. Because the building falls within a ‘direct control’ district, council has to make a final decision on the application which will be on its agenda next Monday.
Hockey Central Memorabilia Inc. proposed renovating the existing building to use the main floor for merchandise sales and the second storey for a 140-seat drinking establishment.
Approximately 20 of those seats would be contained on the outdoor patio and used seasonally.
Asked by Ken MacVicar if the establishment would have a kitchen, Darren Field responded they have three Red Seal chefs waiting to begin and will operate the second storey as a sports lounge.
He said later they hope to be open by the third week of May.
The favourable recommendation to council includes a relaxation of 20 per cent on the required minimum distance separation from other drinking establishments.
In his report to the commission, planning technician Martin Kvapil wrote that the nearest separate drinking establishment, Fireside Restaurant, is located approximately 80 metres (263 feet) away. The Land Use Bylaw requires a minimum separation distance of 100 metres (328 feet).
“A relaxation for the proposed development may be warranted considering that 1) it is a change in use within an existing building, 2) the use is somewhat similar to the former restaurant use, and 3) it is located within another plan block on the opposite side of the roadway.”