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I would agree that Calgary, over the last decade or so, has done development "better" than Edmonton, but Edmonton over the last several years or so has been more bold in adopting progressive planning policies.
Edmonton is far more decentralized than Calgary, both in terms of employment concentration and municipal governance, so it faces more battles.

Edmonton has largely bungled rededevelopment of large inner city parcels: the former CN lands along the104th Ave corridor (ex. Grant McEwan University campus, Oliver Square, Stationlands, Brewery District), downtown CP lands (ex. RailTown, Venetian), Riverdale (the Brickyard) and the south side CP lands along Calgary Trail/Gatewat Blvd.

The Ice District is mediocre so far. Only Greisbach has been well executed.

Hopefully Blatchford, redevelopment of the remaining CP lands down to Argyll Road and continued development of U of A South Campus and U of A Farm will turn out well.

Edmonton likely had/has the most inner city land available for redevelopment of any large Canadian city. Calgary could be in that situation if CP ever leaves the Alyth location.
For reference, there's about 14,100,000 sqft of vacant office space in Downtown. Works out to removing about 3% of the vacancy, or equal to the entirety of then office vacancy in the West End (~498k sqft) [ CBRE Calgary Q1 2022 Report ].

Not quite a tide shift, but a positive impact none the less.

I think we're pointed in the right direction. Keep building residential downtown, fill in those empty parking lots, and shift streets away from cars and towards people. The relatively low cost of living, proximity to the mountains, and a growing arts and culture scene will keep Calgary doing well. Get the Green Line, Arena, BMO, Glenbow, and Arts Commons built and for the love of god build substantially more midrise and 15 years from now the city will be unrecognizable compared to the late 90's.
TBH, with 100% flexible money that could have been spent on literally anything, this $30 million could have been used much more imaginatively. $3 million a year to support live music, pop up galleries, park activations would go much further.
Looks like one of them is Palliser One which was already being converted...or maybe went ahead because of the funding? The other two look like good candidates.
Palliser One was tendered and they were just waiting for confirmation of funding. So this should get started pretty soon.
TBH, with 100% flexible money that could have been spent on literally anything, this $30 million could have been used much more imaginatively. $3 million a year to support live music, pop up galleries, park activations would go much further.
It would be nice if they could do both. The conversion are nice as they are a one time cost, and hopefully never convert back to office. Going forward there will always be that extra population. But yeah, it's also important to draw people into downtown.
The number of units is small. The square footage is relatively small. The dollar amounts are going directly from our pockets with little but hand waiving in the way of modelling.

I just want a public benefit for public investment.
I'm in favour of the program, and I think that the incentive is a relatively small amount to pay for the level of investment that the developers will have to spend in order to get the $75/sqft up to a maximum of $10M per project (although it appears that Paliser One is getting $15M).

I really like the look of the HAT @ Arts Commons conversion (middle image below).

The only concern I have is that this program is going to suck all the oxygen from other programs/projects that I personally think will have a greater public benefit, whereas this program has a significant private benefit. The Main Streets program for example has moved at a glacial pace, and I personally would prefer to see those projects funded before this program.

When I saw that the 2021 budget surplus is $147M, the first thing I thought was that I bet a significant amount of that ends up going into the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program.

Regardless, more people in the core is a positive thing!


These projects will add less street life than the 2 hotel projects recently completed/near competition.

The city's vision is to literally do this but times 20. $500+ million bucaroos into private developments.

For Aspen, I'd rather the city had used the same money to attack the palliser podium, instead of the tower. Much more future public good to go on in that block. I'd rather have the city buy entire low class towers based on lowest $/acre and bringing them down and putting lawns on the sites instead of subsidizing market rents.

It is a poorly conceived program where the only measurable output is the input. I'm worried people will be so self congradulatory about it that it is inevitable that it will crowd out better projects.
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