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Ward 7 - Terry Wong

Downtown Office Conversion Program Announcement

Three innovative office-conversion projects are injecting new investment, creating new homes, and building climate resiliency in Calgary’s Downtown.

The City of Calgary’s downtown revitalization efforts continue to accelerate with a new office-conversion project announcement and two previously announced projects evolving to deliver more housing and long-stay hotel suites.

Alston Properties and Slate Asset Management’s Dominion Centre housing project will receive funding through the City's office-to-residential conversion program and the Downtown Retrofit Challenge. This newly announced project will improve climate resiliency, reduce emissions and create 132 new homes – all critical priorities for Calgary’s Downtown. A minimum of 25 per cent of the units will be rented at affordable rates.

“Calgary’s office conversion programs remain one of our greatest successes and have become internationally recognized as the template for creating new homes in existing downtown office buildings,” says Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “It’s exciting to announce three projects today that are tackling office conversions in different ways – through climate resilient initiatives, by building much needed long-stay hotel rooms, and accelerating housing delivery.”

Additionally, the second phase of Aspen Properties’ Palliser One office-to-residential housing project, has been approved for funding under the office to residential conversion program which will more than double its housing delivery by adding 395 homes to Calgary’s downtown.

“In the first two years of our office conversion programs, we’ve seen tremendous interest from the private sector in partnering on these transformational projects,” says Sheryl McMullen, Manager of Investment & Marketing for The City’s Downtown Strategy. “We have 17 projects in our pipeline currently and are committed to working with other levels of government to secure funding to expand that number as we move into the new year.”

Of note, the PBA Group of Companies’ whose project at 833 4 Avenue SW was originally approved as an office-to-residential conversion, but now has been revised as a hotel conversion. The approved project will convert the existing office building to a long-stay hotel offering 226 suites for Calgary’s tourists and business visitors.

Together these three projects will in total remove ~675,000 square feet of surplus office space from Calgary’s Downtown Office market.

Dominion Centre, Palliser One, and Element by Westin Hotel are just three of 17 office conversion projects in our pipeline. The City’s pipeline is positioned to provide over 2,300 new housing units to more than 3,500 residents and will inject $567M in partner investment into downtown revitalization.

The City is also pleased to announce the first recipient of an additional grant provided through The Downtown Retrofit Challenge. Dominion Centre has been selected to receive an additional grant of $1.2 million to help offset the design, construction, and performance verification costs related to emission reductions and climate resilience measures. The Downtown Retrofit Challenge was designed to demonstrate the extent to which we can improve energy performance while making strides toward the goals of The City’s ClimateHousing, and Downtown strategies. Dominion Centre will target exceeding the 2017 National Energy Code by 25 per cent by improving the building envelope to minimize heat loss and incorporating heat recovery ventilators into the building’s HVAC system.

“Taking buildings that are underused and retrofitting them for a new use, instead of demolishing them, helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of materials that would need to go to our landfills,” says Carolyn Bowen, Director, Climate and Environment for The City. “The Dominion Centre being awarded the inaugural Downtown Retrofit Challenge funding is a great first step to demonstrate that even retrofit projects in our downtown can achieve high energy efficiency standards and can take the needed steps to support our city’s climate resiliency efforts and to lower utility bills.”

Dominion Centre (665 8 Street SW) – Alston Properties Ltd. and Slate Asset Management

Strategically located adjacent to Century Gardens and the CTrain line, Dominion Centre will convert just under 100,000 square feet of office space into 132 homes over 10 floors. A minimum of 25 per cent of rental homes will be rented at affordable rates. The project will include approximately 5,800 square feet of amenity space for residents and community members. As part of the building’s conversion, Alston Properties and Slate Asset Management will make design enhancements to improve the building’s energy efficiency and climate resilience.

Palliser One (125 9 Avenue SW) – Aspen Properties

The Palliser One project in total is a conversion of approximately 415,000 square feet of office space to 395 units, featuring a mix of one- and two-bedrooms. Approximately, 25 per cent of these units will be rented at affordable rates. Amenities will include a mid-building, double volume height balcony and amenity floor, main floor sport court that will be an ice rink in the winter, main floor fitness facility centre, and pet park on the 3rd floor balcony.

Element by Westin (833 4 Avenue SW) – PBA Group of Companies

Located in the west end of the downtown core, with easy access to transit and close proximity to the Bow River, multi-use pathways and the 8th Street urban improvement corridor, The Element by Westin will strongly contribute to the creation of an active and dynamic downtown core. Approximately 168,000 square feet of office space will be converted to 226 hotel rooms and hotel facilities. Element by Westin is committed to smart eco-friendly features including vehicle charging to reduce emissions, using recycled materials as much as possible in design, construction and room décor, and eco-friendly bathroom features, including low-flow fixtures.

Categories: Affordability, Downtown, Housing, Updates, Ward 7