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Calgary or Calgary Region? Which is better for your business?

Publish date: August 10, 2016

In Ontario, there’s the Greater Toronto Area. British Columbia has the Lower Mainland. And in Alberta, there’s the Calgary Region. 

If you’re looking for an industrial site for your business, these metropolitan areas hold much appeal. They offer large populations, mature transportation networks and array of industrial land options. You can select land in the regions’ large city, or choose a parcel in one of its neighbouring communities instead.

This article takes a look at the Calgary Region, which includes Calgary and 13 surrounding municipalities, and how Calgary stacks up against smaller municipalities on the following site selection criteria:
  • Availability of services
  • Land cost
  • Operational costs
  • Approvals/permitting

Availability of services

Industrial land in Calgary tends to come with full services. Industrial lots offered by The City of Calgary, for example, feature shallow and deep utilities, sidewalks and street lighting, commercial driveways, green spaces, storm sewers, storm ponds and future transit service.

Some Calgary Region municipalities offer fully-serviced industrial lots while others provide lots with partial services, which may or may not include sidewalks, transit and storm or sanitary sewers.

Land cost

Not surprisingly, serviced land in Calgary is usually more expensive than land in the surrounding communities. This reflects the value of full services, acreage assessments and proximity to transportation options and a highly concentrated customer base.
The lower prices in surrounding locales reflects service levels as well as distance to customers, location or access to transportation routes and facilities.

Operational costs

Depending on your business, selecting an industrial site in Calgary can translate into lower operational costs down the road. A Calgary location puts your business closer to customers, transportation routes, public transit options and current and future employees.
Choosing to locate your business in one of the outlying municipalities may result in higher operational costs. Employee recruitment and retention expenses may be higher as well as transportation and marketing costs.


Chances are you’ll need to secure some municipal approvals before you can develop your newly-acquired industrial land. You may need to apply to your municipality to subdivide or rezone your land. You’ll also need development permits and building permits.

Securing municipal approvals and permits to develop newly-acquired Calgary industrial land can sometimes take a while. With a population base topping one million people, providing timely land approval services to citizens can prove challenging. (The City is working to accelerate approvals and has set up a new department, called Approval Coordination, to streamline the process.)

Smaller Calgary Region municipalities typically take less time to turn around required approvals, as they’re smaller organizations which involve less internal coordination.