Economic downturn forced Sawridge Inn to close

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Alberta’s continuing economic downturn forced the closure of Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre in recently. According to a Sawridge press release, the hotel and conference centre will be turned into a dealership after its sale to Summit GM.

Sawridge Group CEO John MacNutt said some of the hotel’s “long-service” staff transitioned to the Best Western and Sawridge Suites at TaigaNova.

“The few remaining, obviously we really value our staff and we’re going to try and find opportunities for any that still remain,” he said, quoted in media reports. “But the majority of the staff right now are term employees that were brought in after the fire to help us run the business.”

The press release said construction on the new dealership will begin in 2017, and Summit GM is working with architects to retain as much of the interior architectural features of the hotel lobby and conference center as possible.

The deal to sell the property was well on its way to being finalized before the fire that devastated the city last year, MacNutt said.

The decision was spurred by the economic slowdown, looming renovations and dwindling revenue.

“The business was just marginally viable and it required an extensive amount of renovations to get it to a service level that we felt the guests deserved,” he said.