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Downtown Calgary Incentive Program

Revised Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program

The Downtown Calgary Incentive Program is a cornerstone of The City’s Downtown Strategy and a major driver of the vision and goals of Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan. The program supports downtown property owners to redevelop or remove underused office space and bring in a greater mix of amenities and services that support a thriving and resilient downtown community.

The revised Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program supports office space conversions to residential units, hotels, schools and performing arts centres.

Please review the Program Guide to learn more about the Revised Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program and how to apply.

Program eligibility

Program Priority Area

Program Criteria

The following criteria must be met to be considered for the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program:

  1. The proposed conversion project results in the elimination of office space.
  2. The proposed conversion is from office space to one or more eligible conversion uses – multi-residential development; hotel; school; performing arts centre.
  3. The property is located within the Greater Downtown Plan Area with priority given to projects located in the Priority Area of the Downtown Core.
  4. The applicant is the property owner or their designated agent, or the applicant provides the Downtown Strategy Team with the following letters of authorization:
    1. written authorization from the property owner that is satisfactory to the Downtown Strategy Team authorizing The City to obtain any information reasonably requested by The City directly from the property owner; and
    2. written authorization from the applicant that is satisfactory to the Downtown Strategy Team authorizing The City to discuss the details of the application directly with the property owner.
  5. Evidence of satisfactory project financing.
  6. Applicant track record.
    1. The applicant shall submit their project experience similar to the scope and size contemplated in the application. If the applicant has no conversion experience, the consultants/advisors that have conversion experience shall be named along with their relevant experience. The development manager(s) or development consultants must have a proven track record in office conversions or major urban renovation projects. The City’s previous dealings with the applicant, if any, including the applicant’s history of compliance with previous agreements and/or requirements of development, as well as any previous dealings under the Incentive Program, may also be considered.
    2. The applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the Downtown Strategy Team that the applicant has the human resources from a project management, supervision and execution perspective (if not own staff then via consultants) available in Calgary.
    3. Details about the applicant shall be provided with the application as follows:
      • Age of entity/corporation;
      • Type of entity/corporation (legal and industry); and,
      • Proof of good standing with respect to annual filings, corporate standing, and financial capacity.
  7. Consideration of existing tenants and uses.
    1. The applicant must make every reasonable effort to support the relocation of any existing headlease and sublease tenants to a property within the Greater Downtown Plan Area.
    2. For properties with any of the following uses, applicants must make every reasonable effort to retain tenants, and/or provide a relocation plan within the Greater Downtown Plan area, specifically within the Downtown Core:
      • Non-profit/social services;
      • Educational uses;
      • Cultural spaces, including murals and public art;
      • Daycare & learning centres;
      • Recreational uses;
      • Ground-level retail; and,
      • Health services.
  8. Existing active ground floor and Plus 15 level commercial uses should be supported and encouraged to remain.

Grant details

The program offers a grant for office to residential conversions of $75 per square foot, based on the original gross building area of existing office space that will be converted.

Grants are available up to a maximum of $15 million per property under Administration approval - any requests in excess of $15 million require Council approval for a particular application.

The following information must be included in an application.

Downtown Retrofit Challenge

The Downtown Retrofit Challenge is a competition-styled grant program intended to help offset the design, construction, and performance verification costs related to emission reductions and climate resilience measures being undertaken by your project. 1-2 projects will be selected for a maximum grant of up to $1.2 million.

Preferred projects will provide a comprehensive, whole-building energy consumption reduction approach that considers the building as a single, integrated system with components working together. 

Funding will be awarded in addition to the funding and agreed-upon terms of the Incentive Program. Please see the Terms of Reference for comprehensive information and application requirements.

Additional information required

Overview of the proposed project

  • Ownership of the subject property
  • Intent of project – conversion of XX square feet of office to XX square feet of future use
  • Estimated total conversion costs
  • Estimated timeline to completion, with key project milestones highlighted

Description and background of the existing asset

  • Current use and vacancy status

Overview of the physical location of the proposed project

  • Project address
  • Location
  • Surrounding context and neighbouring properties, if relevant

Project proposal

  • What is being proposed (i.e. type of product, unit types, residential amenities, etc.)
  • Project scoring considerations, if applicable
  • Who will be involved in the conversion project (applicant's team and list of consultants such as architects, designers, engineers, or agents)
  • How, and from whom, financing and/or capital is to be sourced

Project readiness

  • Status of financing/funding
  • Existing vacancy and/or remaining lease terms
  • Any schematics, drawings, renderings available or relevant permits (optional)
  • Proposed timeline for project construction - projects that are able to commence construction on an expedited basis will receive priority consideration

Please read Terms of Reference for detailed program information.

The guide

Still have questions?

You can also submit an inquiry to the program team at

This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​