Calgary’s office-to-residential conversion program is taking a pause as the city expects to hit its ceiling for available funding, a sign of the initiative’s “tremendous uptake” according to the city.
With 13 projects approved and four under review, the program has reached its $153-million funding threshold, the city said Wednesday.
Should those remaining four projects be approved, the city said it will have replaced 2.3-million square feet of office space with 2,300 new homes, leveraging $567 million of private investment.
The city is “pursuing additional funding to support many more strong projects in the near future,” Sharyl McMullen, manager of investment and marketing for downtown strategy, said in a statement.
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The initiative, formally known as the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program (DCDIP), will close applications for office-to-residential, hotel, school and performing arts centre conversions.
Post-secondary institutions looking to convert office space for its uses are still able to apply. The city’s downtown office demolition incentive program, which offers grants to tear down offices unsuitable for conversions, also remains open.
As Calgary has moved forward with the conversions, early signs show Calgary’s chronic vacancy rates in the downtown core have started to lift.
A September report by Avison Young found Calgary is back to its pre-COVID downtown vacancy numbers, which have healed from 32.6 per cent in 2021 to 27.3 per cent.
The program will reopen when a new Terms of Reference is approved by city council and new funding becomes available, the city said.
More to come…
— With files from Bill Kaufmann
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