WebStamp April 21, 2021

Viable Downtown Living

Back in December, there was a bold notion of motion presented to the Calgary city council to convert existing downtown commercial buildings into residences. Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Davison stated; “Encouraging an active and vibrant population base in the downtown is critical for the success of long-term city infrastructure investments, for preserving property values, and for providing the city with a more stable stream of tax revenue.” With Calgary’s 29.5% vacancy rate of office buildings in the downtown, it could be a plan to help bring back a vigorous city centre.


With more than a ¼ of downtown Calgary office buildings currently sitting empty conversion of office space into condos or apartments would reduce the vacancy rate. Ken Towes mentioned that the Strategic Group is looking to uplift downtown Calgary as Toronto and Vancouver have done with their large residential downtown populations. Back in 2018 the Strategic Group already saw the decline in the need for office space and decided to convert the historic and iconic Baron Building on 8th Ave SW into 97 rental suites with street-level retail.

Back in the 1990’s, there were several commercial warehouse spaces flipped to condos and lofts to add more residential to the downtown core. The Lewis Stationary building, the Imperial Lofts, and the Refinery building have helped revitalize the Warehouse District. A project completed several years ago is the Cube where a repurposed commercial building was converted to 67 apartments.


Several tech companies are moving into the downtown taking advantage of the lowered rent allowing for future expansion with extra space to attract new employees. Those working in the tech sector are a younger generation and usually prefer to work, live, and play in a central district. It would make sense to increase the residential units available in the downtown core to accommodate the new demographics in a new self-sustaining pulsating central core.

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WebStamp April 21, 2021

With more than a ¼ of downtown Calgary office buildings currently sitting empty conversion of office space into condos or apartments would reduce the vacancy rate.
After all the hardships a century ago with the Spanish Flu pandemic, the world recovered with a new normal. After the COVID disaster let us not only “Return To Normal”, but a better normal where we work towards Building A Better Economy that is resilient against disasters.
Marinus (René) Verschuren
Marinus (René) Verschuren
Founder of WebStamp
René has been involved in the publishing and printing industry since the 1970s. He has published and distributed a successful 24-page weekly news advertiser with a circulation of 4400 copies. Also for the last 20 years, he has been a printer, plotter, scanner and 3D printer technician and installer. Since High School, he also has worked as a janitor, cabinet maker, building construction, landscaper/designer, computer operator producing microfiche, graphic artist, and webmaster, among many other professions. This qualifies him as a Jack-of-All-Trades with plenty of knowledge in many subjects.

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