By Trevor Suffield
Jan. 15, 2009
A Charleswood landmark is in the process of being sold and turned into a gas station.
Red River Co-op is hoping to finalize a deal to purchase the Charleswood Hotel, located at 3425 Roblin Blvd., which has been a fixture in the community for 44 years.
The hotel was closed in early November. Its doors and windows have been boarded shut since that time.
However, Greg Reiter, general manager of Red River Co-op, said it's too soon to say what his company's plans for the site will be.
"I don't want to talk about it just yet, because it's not final. We still have a couple of conditions to be removed," Reiter said.
Reiter expects a deal to be finalized within the next couple of weeks.
Ike Kraut, president of the Charleswood Department Store, said Co-op representatives have already introduced themselves to him as the new owners of the site.
Kraut, whose store has been located at 3411 Roblin Blvd. for 52 years, said he became curious upon noticing the nearby hotel was boarded up.
"I phoned the city and wanted to get all the information because that building is going to be ripped down," said Kraut, adding that he had expected it to be demolished by now.
"I didn't want any damage to my building and they guaranteed that."
Kraut said he has heard the former hotel site will feature a new a convenience store, car wash and gas pumps. Approximately 1,700 vehicles a day are expected to access the site when it is completed, he added.
John Towle, who used to live in Charleswood and was a frequent patron of the hotel, said he was surprised to learn of its closing.
It was just a community bar. Lots of locals went there, Towle said.
Randy Horel, who has lived in Charleswood for more than 30 years, said the neighbourhood won't be the same without Charley's Bar.
The Charleswood Hotel was a centre- place of Charleswood for years, said Horel, who remembers buying his first case of beer there.
The old gang, on Christmas Eve, we used to go to the Charley for years, this year nobody knew what to do, the 48-year-old entrepreneur said.
The Thirsty Lion Tavern, located in the Park West Inn at 525 Dale Boulevard, hopes to cash in on the closure of the Charley.
Dave Andrews, general manager of the Park West Inn, said his establishment has already seen an increase in customers since the Charley closed.
Things have picked up in November. We also have a full-service vendor and are noticing more people in our VLT lounge, Andrews said.
Horel said the sale of the Charleswood Hotel had more to do with the owners receiving an offer they couldn't refuse rather than a decline in business.
Still, Horel said it is be difficult to accept that the Charley is no longer a part of the neighbourhood.
Like a Cheers bar, said Horel, that's what the Charley was.