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Downtown Office Demolition Incentive Program

Downtown Office Demolition Incentive Program

The Downtown Calgary Development 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 Downtown Office Demolition Incentive Program, a key component of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program, supports the demolition of office buildings that are unsuitable for office conversions.

The goals of the Demolition Program are to increase economic activity, vibrancy and safety in the Greater Downtown Plan area by:

  • Removing office space from the Greater Downtown Plan area – with a priority area of the Downtown Core
  • Establishing new public amenity spaces to support the growing downtown resident population and enhance vibrancy
  • Supporting redevelopment of under-utilized properties and increasing the mix of uses in the downtown
  • Reducing the downtown office vacancy rate and supporting property values and the non-residential property tax assessment base.

Please review the Program Guide to learn more about the Downtown Office Demolition 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 Office Demolition Incentive Program:

To be considered eligible to be approved by the Incentives Approval Committee or Council, as the case may be, an applicant must first satisfy the criteria outlined below. The criteria below must be met to be considered for the Demolition Program.

  1. The proposed demolition results in the elimination/removal of office space.
  2. Preference will be given to end-of-life buildings that are unsuitable for adaptive reuse.
  3. Preference will be given to properties assessed at or close to land value.
  4. The property is located within the Greater Downtown Plan Area with priority given to projects located in the priority area as highlighted on the map in Appendix A, with consideration given to strategic sites in the Downtown West area.
  5. Buildings listed in the Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources will not be considered.
  6. 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.
  7. Evidence of satisfactory project financing.
  8. Applicant track record.
    1. The applicant shall submit their project experience similar to scope and size contemplated in the application. If the applicant has no demolition experience, the consultants/ advisors that have demolition experience shall be named along with their relevant experience. The construction manager(s) or consultants must have a proven track record in large-scale demolition projects in urban areas. 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, may also be considered.
    2. The applicant shall prove to the satisfaction of the Incentives Approval Committee 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.
  9. Consideration of existing tenants and uses.
    1. The applicant must support the relocation of any existing headlease and sublease tenants to a property within the Greater Downtown Plan Area before demolition.
    2. Additional consideration will be given where the following uses and tenancies exist:
      • Non-profit/social services;
      • Educational uses;
      • Cultural spaces, including murals and public art;
      • Daycare & learning centers;
      • Recreational uses;
      • Ground-level retail;
      • Health services; and
      • Other uses as determined by the Downtown Strategy Team.

Grant details

The Demolition Program is offering a grant at 50% of demolition costs not to exceed a rate of $15 per square foot based on the original gross floor area of existing office space that will be demolished.

An additional $5 per square foot may be considered for projects requiring asbestos abatement and/or hazardous material removal, not to exceed 50% of total demolition costs.

The grant will be up to a maximum of $3 million per property unless Council approves a greater amount for a particular application.

Additional information required

Overview of the proposed demolition

  1. Ownership of the subject property (as outlined herein) Where applicant is not the current property owner, letters of authorization as outlined in 5.1 will be required, as well as any letter(s) of intent, purchase and sale agreement(s), and/or any other documents relating to the proposed acquisition of the property.
  2. Intent– demolition of xx square feet of office space
  3. Estimated total demolition costs
  4. Estimated timeline to completion
  5. Photos that show the current site and context, accompanied by how the demolition will impact the surrounding uses and ways to mitigate impacts

Description and background of the existing asset

  1. Current use and tenants
  2. Vacancy status
  3. Disclose any known environmental concerns, such as the presence of toxic substances within the building and/or contamination of the property or surrounding lands
  4. Explanation of why demolition is a better alternative to adaptive reuse/ conversion

Overview of the physical location of the proposed demolition

  1. Address/location
  2. Contextual information on surrounding properties

Demolition proposal

  1. What is being proposed
  2. Who will be involved in the demolition project (applicant’s team and list of consultants such as architects, designers, engineers, lawyers and agents)
  3. How, and from whom, financing and/or capital is to be sourced
  4. A description of the plan for remediating the land after demolition
  5. An overview of the planned reuse / redevelopment of the site
    • If none, an indication of willingness to allow The City to program the site in the interim of development at no cost to the land owner

Project readiness

  1. Status of financing/funding
  2. Status of any existing tenancy and lease agreements
  3. Demolition / deconstruction timeline

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. ​