The City of Calgary now accepting new applications for downtown office conversion, demolition programs
The City of Calgary’s Downtown office conversion program has surpassed expectations with uptake and interest here locally and abroad. Today, The City of Calgary furthered its commitment to reinvesting in the Downtown by opening up the intake of applications for funding to support additional conversion projects while expanding the funding criteria to include the demolition of existing buildings as well as incentivizing post-secondary Institutions to consider a presence in the core.
“We are seeing great success from the initial phase of the Downtown Development Incentive Program. The ultimate goal is to create a thriving community in our city's core that is about more than office towers. It is about creating homes and amenities for Calgarians and visitors alike,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “As we move into the next phase of the program, we continue to advance this goal all while strengthening the economic engine of our city, which is a win-win for all Calgarians."
On March 14, 2023, Calgary City Council approved the expansion of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program beyond residential spaces, so that grants could be provided to building owners who would like to convert empty office space to hotels, schools and performing arts spaces. City Council also approved the creation of the Downtown Demolition Incentive Program and the Downtown Post-Secondary Institution Incentive Program to help support these conversions and increase the opportunities to develop additional spaces.
The Downtown Incentives programs are as follows:
· “Revised” Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program includes conversion projects for residential units, hotels, schools and performing arts spaces. These new conversion categories will encourage a more diverse mix of amenities and services downtown that will make downtown more attractive to live in and visit.
· The Downtown Post-Secondary Institution Incentive Program provides financial incentives for post-secondary institutions to establish a greater presence downtown. This would bring an influx of students downtown, which would support downtown’s vibrancy during all hours of the day, support existing businesses and would encourage new businesses to be established.
· The Downtown Office Demolition Incentive Program incentivizes the demolition of buildings that are deemed ‘end-of-life’ and are not suitable for conversion or reuse. The program will support non-office redevelopment and the creation of new public amenity space.
“We are a third of the way to meeting our goals of removing six million square feet of empty office space,” said Natalie Marchut, Manager, Development & Strategy for The City’s Downtown Strategy. “The additional funding and expanded criteria will support creative and visionary ideas for reimagining vacant office spaces breathing new life into our downtown.”
These programs are key initiatives of The City’s Downtown Strategy and a major driver of The City’s vision and goals for creating a vibrant and thriving Downtown Core. To date, 14 office-to-residential conversion projects are under consideration for program funding. Should all 14 projects proceed, they will remove an additional two million square feet of empty office space from our downtown and create more than 2,000 homes for Calgarians.
To learn more about the Downtown Development Incentive Programs, please visit Calgary.ca/downtownincentives.