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Downtown Post--Secondary Incentive Program

Downtown Post-Secondary Institution 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 Post-Secondary Institution Incentive Program, a key component of the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program, provides financial incentives for Calgary’s post-secondary institutions to establish a greater presence downtown.

The Post-Secondary Program will follow a unique collaborative process involving The City of Calgary, post-secondary institution(s), the Government of Alberta, and private property owner(s).

The PSI Program is reliant upon the successful collaboration of multiple parties to enter into commitments/agreements to make an office conversion project a reality. The parties anticipated to be involved and their potential respective roles are as follows:

  • Post-Secondary Institution – a commitment for an academic or research program that would be located in Calgary’s downtown for a minimum period of 20 years. 
  • Private property owner – will undertake the office to post-secondary institution use conversion and enter into a minimum 20-year lease with the post-secondary institution.
  • Government of Alberta – payment or commitment to pay the lease costs for a minimum 20-year lease term.
  • The City of Calgary – provide the $50 per square foot grant of office space successfully converted to post-secondary institution use, after all conditions of the Funding Agreement are met.

Program eligibility

Program priority area

Program criteria

The following criteria must be met to be considered for the Downtown Post-Secondary Incentive Program:

  1. The proposed conversion project results in the elimination/removal of office space.
  2. The proposed conversion is from office space to post-secondary institutional use space.
  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. Evidence of commitment from the post-secondary institution and the Government of Alberta.
  7. 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 conversion or major urban renovation experience, the consultants/ advisors that have appropriate experience shall be named complete 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 other incentive/grant programs, 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.
  8. Consideration of existing tenants and uses.
    1. The applicant should support where practical the relocation of any existing headlease and sublease tenants to a property within the Greater Downtown Plan Area
  9. Existing active ground floor and Plus 15 level commercial uses should be supported and encouraged to remain as additional amenities for the post-secondary institution.

Grant details

The Post-Secondary Program is for the sole purpose of supporting the construction costs of office to post-secondary institution conversion projects.

The grant will be based on a calculation of $50 per square foot of gross floor area of existing office space that will be converted to post-secondary institution use.

The grant will be up to a maximum of $15 million per property unless Council approves a greater amount for a particular application.

Additional information required

 Confirmation of a commitment from a post-secondary institution to occupy the space for a minimum period of 20 years.

Confirmation of a commitment

Commitment from the Government of Alberta

Commitment from the Government of Alberta to support and fund a minimum 20-year lease agreement.

Overview of the proposed project

  1. Ownership of the subject property (as outlined herein);
  2. Where applicant is not the current property owner, letters of authorization as outlined in 5.1(4) 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;
  3. Intent of project – conversion of xx square feet of office to xx square feet of post-secondary institution use;
  4. What is being proposed, including details around ground level activation;
  5. Who will be involved in the conversion project (applicant’s team and list of consultants such as architects, designers, engineers, lawyers and agents);
  6. Estimated total conversion costs;
  7. Estimated timeline to completion; and
  8. Photos that show the current site and context.

Description and background of the existing asset

  1. Current use and tenancy;
  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; and
  4. Explanation of climate measures being considered.

Overview of the physical location of the proposed project

  •  Project address/location. 

Project readiness

  1. Status of financing/funding;
  2. Estimated project timeline; and
  3. Construction drawings and building permits (where available).

Please read Terms of Reference for detailed program information.

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. ​