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Calgary seeking to fill commercial real estate vacancies

Many successful businesspeople have turned a profit by seeing opportunity where others see disaster. Commercial real estate vacancies are at historic highs in the downtown cores of the major Alberta cities, as the economic downturn still has the real estate market in its grasp. Rather than simply admit defeat, however, the Calgary city council is trying to make the city more attractive to business, both small and large.

While it's the massive, empty downtown office towers making the headlines, there is plenty of smaller commercial space available in Calgary as well. In an effort to reduce vacancy rates, the council is exploring ways to make moving a business downtown more appealing. In general, they are looking at relaxing certain regulations that may make using the available space impractical.

According to a report from the city, some of the changes include suspending the requirement for a permit to change the use of an existing structure that already has approval, and suspending the accompanying parking requirements in a repurposed building. Existing buildings could also be exempt from certain umbrella policies if put to a new use. Additionally, the report suggests removing the need for a permit to make small renovations to an existing, approved building.

Should council approve some or all of the recommendations, it could make downtown commercial real estate more appealing to smaller businesses that don't require the large spaces available in office towers. Regardless of what incentives may be on the table, it is always a good idea to proceed with caution before making a move into the real estate market. An experienced Alberta real estate lawyer can help review contracts and ensure a transaction goes off without a hitch.

Source: CBC News - Calgary, "Calgary looks to fill downtown storefronts by relaxing regulations", May 26, 2017

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