Mikey's on 12th to close due to redevelopment, music venue could be evicted within 35 days

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Mikey’s on 12th, a popular Beltline venue that features live music seven days a week, could close within the next two months due to redevelopment of the surrounding buildings.

Owner Mike Clark posted the news Wednesday afternoon, just one day after the venue hosted a media event for an advocacy group working to turn Calgary into a “music city” by championing musicians, venues and music organizations.

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Clark said he was contacted on Tuesday by the building’s owner, Strategic Group, and told they could be evicted within 35 days depending on the construction schedule. Mikey’s on 12th opened in 2017. Since earlier this year, Clark has been paying rent month-to-month.

On his Facebook page, Clark wrote “I don’t believe I have the means to fight them on this, as tenants have very little recourse in Alberta.”

According to the City of Calgary website, there is a development permit application in circulation for the neighbouring property 906 12th Ave. S.W., which is a nine-storey office building. The redevelopment would involve a 12-storey addition to the existing nine-storey tower for a total of 21 storeys and 186 units.

“We just had our seventh anniversary,” Clark says. “I’m devastated. I was just the little guy who mortgaged his house to run a business. I’m also devastated for my staff, who are great people and some have little kids they are trying to support and they are going to be out of work, and for my music community.”

Clark said he went public so the music community, both musicians and patrons, would get proper notice.

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It’s the latest blow to Calgary’s live-music scene. On Tuesday morning, Mikey’s on 12th hosted a media event to announce the release of the report Resonant Energies: A Music City Strategy for Calgary by advocacy group West Anthem. Among the findings of the report was that there has been a drop in active music venues in Calgary from 2020 to 2023.

In 2020, there were 67 multi-purpose venues programming music, and 75 bars, cafes or restaurants with live music performances. In 2023, the numbers were 58 and 53, respectively.

In January, it was announced that the Blues Can, a 13-year-old music venue in Inglewood, would also close due to a redevelopment plan to put in condos. No official date was given for when it would close, but it could be as early as the fall.

“It’s a sad day,” said singer-songwriter Tom Phillips, who has weekly gigs at both Mikey’s on 12th and The Blues Can. “It’s development, development, development. The problem for music venues is that, obviously, it’s a labour of love rather than a way to make a lot of money. It’s hard to have enough money to buy a property on your own so you’re at the mercy of developers.”

Clark said it is too early to say what his plans will be if evicted. But moving the venue to another location is not an easy process.

“I’ve already had people reach out to say they would maybe be interested in investing and stuff like that,” says Clark. “But it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot out of me. I’ll have to sit down and soul-search and get my bearings. Yesterday, my head was spinning coming to grips with it all.”

When reached by Postmedia, an official from Strategic Group said the company did not have an immediate comment.

More to come …

Shane Ghostkeeper performs at at Mikey’s on 12th on Tuesday May 28, 2024. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia
music Calgary
Shane Ghostkeeper performs at at Mikey’s on 12th on Tuesday May 28, 2024. Photo by Gavin Young /Postmedia

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