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Some office buildings turned into residential real estate units

Some landlords are stepping up to the plate to try to help the economy in Wild Rose Country. Some property owners in Alberta are taking commercial properties like office buildings and turning them into residential real estate units -- particularly in the Calgary area. When agencies or companies leave these buildings, some landlords are opting to shell out big bucks to refurbish them into apartment or condo units. It's a way landlords are getting through the rough spots of a sickly oil industry which affects all areas of the economy.

In fact, it was actually costing landlords more to keep struggling commercial tenants, rather than letting them leave and turning these buildings into residential units. After the oil price crash in 2014-2016, about 20% of Calgary's downtown office spaces have remained vacant -- higher than most urban areas of the country. It was a hard adjustment for landlords to make since they were used to the vacancy rate in boom times of about 1%.

The City of Calgary has also felt the fall-out of empty buildings in its tax base, so it has been trying to lend a hand. The city has been trying to entice an increased corporate presence to these buildings by offering a tax break. The city is trying to lure major companies to locate their headquarters in still vacant downtown office buildings. Edmonton is doing the same.

An Alberta lawyer is in the position of being able to offer advice to investors who wish to revamp or repurpose their holdings, turning them into residential real estate units. The laws that accompany these decisions are complex and developers likely need legal guidance before moving forward. A lawyer can enlighten such clients as to the permits needed and how to adhere to any laws that may govern such potential decisions.

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