City announces first three downtown office-to-residential conversion projects approved for funding

via City of Calgary

The City of Calgary is pleased to announce the first three successful applicants to the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program. These three projects will infuse life into largely empty or underutilized office buildings by converting empty office space to new residential units. It’s one way we’re moving beyond the traditional 9 to 5 business district towards a vibrant city centre people enjoy 24/7, with a balanced mix of residential, office, retail, entertainment, tourism and culture. The first three approved projects of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program are:

·       Palliser One (125 9 Avenue SE) – Aspen Properties

·       HAT @ Arts Common (205 9 Avenue SE) – Cidex Group of Companies

·       909 5 Avenue SW – Peoplefirst Developments

“Calgary’s success relies on our downtown shifting to a place where people want to live, and where businesses want to set up shop, now and for decades to come,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “These three projects are supporting the shift to move beyond the traditional office-based central business district to becoming a dynamic centre of our city with welcoming neighbourhoods, active streets, and well-used public spaces.”

These three projects have been approved to receive, upon completion of construction, ~$31 million from the $100 million fund approved by Council in 2021. These three projects are expected to remove ~414,000 square feet of office space from the market and create an estimated 401 homes. The estimated grant amounts are all based upon $75 per square foot of office space being converted to living space with final amounts to be confirmed and disbursed at project completion.

Creating homes in these buildings will help bring new life to downtown areas that have largely been quiet, as office space has sat empty for the past several years. The Palliser One and HAT @ Arts Common projects are located across the street from each other, creating the beginnings of a residential ‘hub’ at a critical intersection of 9 Avenue SE and 1 Street SE within the Civic District. These projects are in close proximity to the new Arts Commons Transformation, Olympic Plaza, the soon-to-be renovated Glenbow Museum/JR Shaw Centre for Arts and Culture, and a redesigned Stephen Avenue. People living in this location will also benefit from the pathways and parks in the East Village, shopping and restaurants in Victoria Park, and the Cultural & Entertainment District.

The 909 5 Avenue SW project will bring life to an office building, which has sat vacant for nearly 10 years. The project will provide attainable, family-oriented housing options in Calgary’s downtown core, with the majority of homes being two and three-bedroom layouts. The developer, Peoplefirst, is providing 40 per cent of units at 20 per cent less than current market value