Ontario Construction News staff writer
Based on tremendous uptake, Calgary’s downtown strategy team is pausing the acceptance of new applications to the incentive program for office-to-residential, hotel, school and performing arts centre conversions. Existing applications to the program – approved and under review – exceed current available funding.
City council approved an original terms of reference with guidelines for the program in 2021, and the will be updated to reflect the current downtown real estate market and the priorities of the housing strategy, focusing on market, non-market, affordable, inclusive and student housing in Calgary’s downtown.
The program will re-open for project applications when new terms are approved by ouncil and when additional funding becomes available.
The Downtown Post Secondary Institution and Demolition incentive programs are not impacted by this pause. Building owners and developers are encouraged to continue to reach out to the Downtown Strategy team at email@example.com to discuss future potential office conversion projects.
“We plan on using this time to better align the program with The City’s commitment to accelerate the development of more student, market and non-market housing, while also encouraging further private investment in Calgary’s downtown,” said Sheryl McMullen, manager of investment and marketing. “We have 17 projects in the program pipeline and are pursuing additional funding to support many more strong projects in the near future.”
To date, the city has committed $153 million to the program and there are currently 13 approved projects and an additional four projects in the review process. If all approved, the would create about 2,300 homes and remove and estimated 2.3 million sq. ft. of downtown office space from the market.
The city’s investment is expected to leverage more than $567 million of private investment in these 17 projects – reflecting an estimated $4 of private investment for every $1 of public investment.