Igloo-shaped watering hole to give way to office, retail complex

Kamotiq Inn has date with demolition squad


It's hosted drunks, lovers, sinners and saints, but Iqaluit's Kamotiq Inn has a date with the wreckers sometime in 2008.

The inn's new owners, Nova Builders, want to replace the landmark igloo-shaped restaurant with an office and retail complex. And they want to do it soon.

"We'd like to start next year," said Denis Simard, Nova's general manager.

While local media have reported the two-storey building will have 50,000 square feet of rental space, Simard said that's not the case.

A building that size would require more than 100 parking spaces, and there's just not room, he said. Simard suggested a structure with between 30,000 and 40,000 square feet of space with offices and possibly a coffee shop on the ground floor.

Simard said the goal is to fill demand for office space while meeting city rules for pleasing design.

"It's in the downtown core at Four Corners," he said. "It's a high traffic area and it's a great location."

And don't expect any homage to the Kamotiq's igloo-shaped roof either. Simard said Nova is trying to "keep value in what people have felt in the Kamotiq," but it will be in name only, not in the architecture.

"The igloo concept has not worked well in Nunavut," Simard said, referring to the Qikiqtani Inuit Association's old igloo-shaped office building across from Northmart.

Built in 1993 for $1.4 million, the "ugloo," as it was derisively tagged by local wags, developed severe structural problems by 1996. It then served a variety of purposes until it was trashed by vandals a few years ago. The QIA finally tore it down in 2006.

The Kamotiq, which opened in 1980, became known as a place where six people would share one sandwich so they could order drinks.

Like most places with liquor licences in Iqaluit, it's not uncommon to see drunks stagger out the door.

And in June 2006, a woman walked into the ladies room to find a couple having sex. More recently, a source told Nunatsiaq News a sign in the women's washroom warned of fines for stealing toilet paper.

Nova is making waves in the local development scene, with the recent construction of the new Nova Inn downtown and a handful of condominiums in the Plateau subdivision. It also recently bought the Navigator Inn, prompting rumours about that building's future.

Simard said there won't be any changes to the Navigator Inn "for the next few years."

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