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Developer drops idea to renovate Bowden Hotel

Kyle McCowan of Okotoks says the building has deteriorated too much, but says he may be interested if the hotel was demolished

BOWDEN — A developer who had expressed interest in renovating the old Bowden Hotel has dropped those plans. 

However, during an interview, Okotoks-based developer Kyle McCowan indicated he may be interested in doing something with the site if the hotel was demolished. 

The hotel, which sits on the corner of Highway 2A and 20th Street in downtown Bowden, has been vacant for years. 

In 2018, McCowan came to town council with an idea to renovate the building and create several small one-bedroom affordable apartments in it. 

In a similar vein, he has revived a proposal to council to create one-bedroom apartments in the old Lions Hall in town. That proposal comes before the town’s municipal planning commission on Jan. 25. 

During a year-end interview, mayor Robb Stuart said one lien has been taken off the Bowden Hotel but one placed by the Canada Revenue Agency still remains. 

That’s one issue. But McCowan said there are others.  

“Generally, I think the building is too far gone to be salvaged in my opinion," he said. “It’s been sitting empty for quite a bit. The foundation is starting to strain. There is of course asbestos in the building. 

“And the roof has been leaking now for what? Five years? So of course there’s water damage. There’s been vandals that have hopped in and out of there.” 

Given all those factors, McCowan said his interest in renovating the Bowen Hotel has “gone away.” 

However, when asked if he’d be interested in building something on the site if the hotel was knocked down, McCowan replied, “I’m not opposed to the idea if it was favourable.” 

When McCowan came before council back in 2018, councillors were intrigued by his idea, suggesting the hotel building could even become a mix of housing and small retail outlets. 

They said they were pleased with the way McCowan had renovated the old Pelican Motel in town. 

Doug Collie

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