Renovations and upgrades to the space occupied by Citta’ Bistro
are just one part of a “revitalization of the Village Stroll and Square,”
according to Bryan Pilbeam.
The general manager of the Crystal Lodge and Suites, the
landlord of the space that Citta’ currently inhabits, said in an interview with
that renovations to the space are
just another stage of a long-standing facelift for the stroll and the square.
“The property itself has been enhanced significantly over the
last three or four years,” he said. “Major renovations to the storefronts…
right along the stroll, as well as the rooms themselves, as well as the
internal parts of the hotel, such as the lobby and some public areas. There’s
been a significant capital investment in that.”
The Crystal Lodge building forms a key part of the Whistler
Village Square. It boasts the biggest outdoor patio in the square. Eight months
from now, Pilbeam stresses that the patio will remain, but the outside of the
building may look a little different.
“Consistent with the rest of the stroll, we’ve got new wood and
granite front fixtures to it,” he said. “It’s slightly reconstructed, and of course
that’s pending approval, but of course the front or façade of the restaurant
space will be enhanced significantly.”
The renovations haven’t come without some dread on the part of
the current tenants. The Citta’ lease is up at the end of February, as is a
permit to use a non-conforming space for food and beverage storage. Currently
the bistro uses a crawl space within a storage area for food and beverage
storage, according to Pilbeam. The fire department has allowed that
non-conforming space permit to remain in place until February.
Thus far Scott Gadsby, general manager of Citta’ Bistro, says
he hasn’t gotten any indication from his landlord that the lease will be
Pilbeam said in a Dec. 29 news release that the renovation of
the Citta’ space is still in its “design panel stage,” meaning it’s under
consideration by the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s advisory design panel.
And until that panel okays the landlord’s renovations, they can’t negotiate a
Pilbeam, however, said the renovations will work within
existing guidelines set down by the RMOW.
“I can’t get into too much detail because it’s not been
approved,” he said. “It’s going to continue to work within the village design
guidelines and the (Village) Enhancement Strategy, really just the trademarks
of what we’re trying to achieve in Whistler as well as what we’ve already done
through the rest of the Village Stroll storefronts.”
The RMOW’s department of planning and development services in
November of 2001 finalized the Whistler Village Enhancement Strategy. It’s a
document that aims to ensure the village provides residents and visitors with a
“unique, world-class ‘Whistler’ experience.”
Part of that strategy includes addressing maintenance issues
related to the aging of the old Whistler Village area, as well as pursuing
“unrealized opportunities” related to the original development of the village.
Once adopted, there were “significant” investments in the
Whistler Village Square, according to Mike Kirkegaard, director of resort planning
for the RMOW.
“The municipality undertook a pretty significant capital
investment in renovation at that time to upgrade Village Square,” he said.
“Village Square was recognized as the first major capital commitment by the
municipality to enhance the plaza there and seating opportunities and amenities
in that space.”
Whether Citta’ continues to form part of that strategy is up in
the air at the moment. The bistro will have to close for six months during the
renovation but Pilbeam said in his news release that it’s possible that Citta’
will occupy the space once it’s finished — but he wouldn’t comment on
other prospective tenants interested in the space.
“Of course I can’t comment on that,” he said.