Capstone vision unchanged with Carnival Cinemas looking to relocate

Property taxes for 2022 at the Carnival property alone are listed by realtor Colliers at $74,906.

“The Carnival building sits at the gateway of Capstone, and we believe there is better use for it now. This is the time to make a move for our benefit, but also for Capstone,” says Ramji. “When we moved in, this was the civic yards and the bus yards. It was mostly light industrial. But we’ve always been a proponent of the entirety of Capstone and the City’s plans it had for it even back then.”

So what does this mean for the burgeoning Capstone, which the municipality has pumped many dollars and days into promoting as Red Deer’s next big thing?

As of today, Carnival sits at Capstone’s entrance, and a stone’s throw from where condos and many other businesses are planned one day to be.

John Sennema, The City of Red Deer’s Manager of Land and Economic Development, says ideally, the theater wouldn’t be departing, but admits Ramji is well within his rights to sell, especially if it means improving his business.

Sennema agrees that Ramji has been a big proponent of Capstone, and though he will be taking his business elsewhere, the vision for Capstone doesn’t change.

“From a planning perspective, it’s in a pretty flexible zone. We’ve looked at different concepts with Berry Architecture, including how the current cinema structure could be revised to accomodate certain things,” says Sennema. “We’ve known about this for quite some time, and while it’s not our preference to see Carnival leave, it’s an opportunity to get a higher and better use in that location.”

Collierswhich is handling the 2.32 acre property’s sale, lists grocery store, multi-family, hotel, mixed use commercial/office with residential, health & medical service, and restaurants as viable uses.

In October 2020, the City announced A $36 million multi-family residential development would be located on the parcel directly west of Carnival Cinemas. The announced developer was Brad Remington Homes, with 180 condo units the big selling point.

The City noted then that it represented the first investment of private equity into Capstone.

However, Sennema says, the agreement with Remington lapsed in summer 2021 when there weren’t enough pre-sales. Sennema believes cost uncertainty during the pandemic really turned people off of buying things like condos.

“Once a purchaser for the Carnival property comes along, we’ll try to articulate our vision to them. We’ve been trying hard to socialize our vision for Capstone over the past couple years, but the pandemic slowed that down just a little,” he explains. “It’s our hope that whomever purchases Carnival’s property will buy into that vision and see the opportunity that’s there with a densified community.”

Sennema maintains there’s plenty of interest in Capstone, as The City looks to flesh it out over the next 25-30 years.

“Coming out of COVID, we are seeing the ability to activate that Canada 150 Square and adjacent space. Capstone is a place we want people to live, and it’s a bit different than what Red Deerians are used to, but I think through the activation of that space, people are starting to discover and enjoy it,” says Sennema. “We are now able to do some of the important things we just couldn’t when COVID had our hands tied; things like trying to sell the condos.”

So where will patrons find Carnival next?

Ramji says the theater, which carries movies typically on their second run, is and will continue to be a destination.

“We draw from around the city and out of town. I’m hoping patronage will continue. We’ve been grateful to the City and all our customers, and we want to continue to serve the community,” says Ramji.

“By no means is Carnival shutting down. We’ll keep operating until and only make a move once a buyer is identified. For now, we’re not privy to say where we’ll be going.”


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