Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program

Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program

City Council has committed to a $100 million investment in the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program that is focused on supporting Downtown building owners in the conversion of vacant office space to residential uses.

The conversion program supports Greater Downtown’s economic recovery by encouraging the elimination of excess office space downtown through conversion into residential uses and the development of vibrant downtown neighbourhoods.

Program phase 1 is closed


The initial application period was open from August 15, 2021 to September 15, 2021. 

A second application period was open from July 15 to September 8, 2022.

To learn more, please contact downtownstrategy@calgary.ca

Program phase 1 eligibility


Property owners, or their designated agent, with property located within the Greater Downtown Plan area who are interested in converting office space to residential space are eligible to apply for this program. A priority was placed on properties located within the Downtown Core.

Criteria


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

  • Applicants must include existing tenancy and a relocation plan for those buildings that are not 100% vacant (main floor excluded) 
  • Elimination/removal of office space
  • Conversion of office space to residential space
  • The property is located within the Greater Downtown Plan area, with priority placed on property within the Downtown Core (see map)
  • The applicant is the property owner or their designated agent, or the applicant provides authorization from the property owner that is satisfactory to The City
  • Evidence of project financing
  • Track record of the applicant 
    • experience of projects of similar scope and size
    • demonstration of local project management, supervision and execution resources
    • applicant details including age and type of entity/corporation, and proof of good standing with respect to annual filings, corporate standing and financial capacity

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 $10 million per property under Administration approval - any requests in excess of $10 million require Council approval for a particular application.

Additional information required


The following information must be included in an application

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 and Program Guide for detailed program information.

Approved projects

The City has finalized the approval of five projects in the conversion program with three other projects in the final stages of approval as part of the first round of applicants, and it is anticipated further announcements will be made later this year. These five projects will remove ~665,000 square feet of office space from the market and create 707 homes.

The Cornerstone
909 5 Avenue S.W.

Developer: Peoplefirst Developments
Municipal investment: $7,800,000
Scope of conversion: ~104,000 sq. ft.
Total units created: 112

Building amenities:

  • The main floor will include retail and amenities for residents and the surrounding community
  • The second floor will be built out into a coworking space for small businesses – supporting, entrepreneurs, and residents in the area.

Canadian Centre
833 4 Avenue S.W.

Developer: PBA Group of Companies
Municipal investment: $12,375,000
Scope of conversion: ~163,000 sq. ft.
Total units created: 225

Building amenities:

  • Main floor café and patio
  • Bicycle parking and repair facilities
  • Second floor restaurant and gathering area
  • Outdoor gathering spaces on the 10-12 floors

Palliser One
125 9 Avenue S.E.

Developer: Aspen Properties
Municipal investment: ~$15,000,000
Scope of conversion: ~200,000 sq. ft.
Total units created: 176

Building amenities:

  • Ground-level outdoor park and skating rink
  • Fitness facility
  • Resident amenity lounge, located midway through the building, will provide residents with a modern common floor featuring games areas, a workspace, lounge seating, a kitchen/bar area, and an outdoor BBQ space
  • Rooftop patio  

United Place
808 4 Avenue S.W.

Developer: United Canadian Investments Inc.
Municipal investment: $6,600,000
Scope of conversion: ~88,000 sq. ft.
Total units created: 81

Building amenities:

  • Parkade/EV charging stations for resident bikes and cars
  • Fitness room
  • In-house daycare and plaza activity area
  • Café/restaurant with plaza seating area
  • Community flex space
  • Rooftop space/patio

Teck Place
205 9 Avenue S.E.

Developer: Cidex Group of Companies
Municipal investment: $8,200,000
Scope of conversion: ~110,000 sq. ft.
Total units created: 113

Building amenities:

  •  The main floor will include an artists studio and amenities for residents and the surrounding community

Program map

Program phase 2


The City opened an expression of interest (EOI) for Phase 2 of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program that will expand the focus beyond solely residential use to consider other types of office conversions. Possible conversion types could include hotels, institutional uses, laboratories, cultural spaces and neighborhood amenities, among others.

The purpose of the EOI is to get a sense from building owners and developers on what other types of projects are currently being considered so that Phase 2 of the Program can best enable redevelopment to occur.

The expression of interest period for phase 2 is now closed for review.

Have questions?


See below for answers to common questions, or submit an inquiry to the program team at downtownstrategy@calgary.ca

Why did this program start?

At the time of Program approval, downtown office vacancy was at approximately 12 million square feet which translates into approximately 32.9% (CBRE, Q2 2021). As downtown office vacancy rates continue to rise, the impacts are far-reaching. The status quo scenario is the biggest risk to downtown vibrancy, Calgary’s economic competitiveness, and fiscal sustainability.

Downtown office property values have declined by $16 billion since 2015, or 60 percent, resulting in the tax shift situation that affects City finances and residential, commercial, and industrial property taxes throughout the city. This will exert further downward pressure on downtown property values and shift further property tax burdens on both residential and commercial property tax payers.

At least six million square feet of office space needs to be removed from the market through leasing, conversion, adaptive reuse, and/or demolition to help address downtown office vacancy and stabilize downtown office property values over the next decade.

To begin to address this critical issue, City Council approved a $100 million investment for the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program, which will provide property owners with grants to convert downtown office space to other uses.

Is funding for phase 1 of the program still available?

$100 million in funding has been approved by City Council for the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program, with a maximum of $10 million being made available per property, unless Council approves a greater amount.

Currently, approximately $73 million has been conditional allocated towards eight office-to-residential conversion projects. The remaining $27 million will be made available to new submissions through the re-opening of Phase 1 this summer.

How and why is phase 1 re-opening?

Three projects initially considered for the grant program will no longer be proceeding, resulting in approximately $27 million remaining from the $100 million fund. The first phase of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program will re-open for applications from July 15, 2022 to September 9, 2022 and will continue to focus on office to residential conversion, with a priority placed on the Downtown Core, which currently has the greatest level of office vacancy in the Greater downtown.

The program continues to offer 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. The City continues to be able to approve grants up to a maximum of $10 million per property; any amounts in excess of $10 million will require City Council approval.

Who can apply for this funding?

Property owners (or designate) within the Greater Downtown Plan area who are interested in converting office space to residential space or other use are eligible to apply for this program. A priority will be placed on properties within the Downtown Core.

What types of conversions are eligible for funding?

The first phase of the program focused on office to residential conversion. The re-opening of Phase 1 will also solely focus on residential use.

The City is now working on a second phase of the program to be launched later this year that will include adaptive uses other than residential. Possible uses being considered include residential, hotel, education, cultural, and laboratory.

What funding amounts are available?

Phase 1 of 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. A maximum grant of $10 million per property unless City Council approved a greater amount for a particular application.

The grant amount for phase 2 may be different than phase 1 and will depend on what the eligible conversion types are and what incentive may be required to enable conversion.

How do I apply for funding?

Program Phase 1 is currently closed for applications for funding.

For questions about the Program, please email DowntownStrategy@calgary.ca

When does phase 2 of the program begin?

The City launched an expression of interest (EOI) for Phase 2 of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program that will expand the focus beyond solely residential use to consider other types of office conversions. Possible conversion types could include hotels, institutional uses, laboratories, cultural spaces and neighborhood amenities, among others.

The purpose of the EOI is to get a sense from building owners and developers on what other types of projects are currently being considered so that Phase 2 of the Program can best enable redevelopment to occur. 

The EOI period is currently closed for review.

Who is eligible for phase 2 of the program?

Possible uses being considered include residential, hotel, education, cultural, and laboratory.

How much funding is available for phase 2 of the program?

Currently, phase 2 is not funded. The terms of reference and funding amount for this phase will be announced later this year.

What is the plan for existing tenants of office buildings being converted to residential and non-office use?

Most buildings participating in the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program are entirely or largely vacant. Building owners are not required to convert the entire building as part of the Program. They may choose to maintain some floors as office space to accommodate existing tenants.  However, there is a minimum conversion area of 40,000 square feet to be eligible to participate in the in Program.  

Where there are existing tenants that will be displaced through a building conversion, the building owner is required to submit a ‘tenant relocation plan’ as part of their application. Building owners may be able to relocated existing tenants to other buildings within their portfolio. 

Where building owners do not have a tenant relocation strategy or ability to support tenant relocation, the Downtown Strategy team will connect tenants with appropriate partners who may be able to assist in finding new space. 


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. ​