Construction activity in Calgary is booming during the pandemic. During the first eight months of 2021, the city saw $4.2 billion worth of construction compared to $2.2 billion the same time last year. The number of building permits are also up 29 per cent year-over-year.
“In 2020, we experienced a permit value decline,” says Brenda Desjardins, director, Calgary Building Services. “However, during the pandemic, Calgarians have been investing in home improvements projects, such as installing hot tubs, garages, swimming pools, retaining walls and carports, and we are seeing the numbers recover to pre-pandemic levels.”
Residential improvement permits are up a combined total of 33 per cent over the past two years, while planning applications have also surged including a 200 per cent increase in applications for patios and a 60 per cent increase in applications for multi-residential rowhouses.
“In response to the pandemic, we have supported Calgary’s construction industry by waiving fees, launching virtual inspections, and transforming our intake process,” says Desjardins. “So far this year, we’ve processed 10,700 planning applications online and made improvements to our timeline commitments.”
The city has issued occupancy for major projects such as Rhapsody, a multi-residential building in the university district, with a construction value of more than $72 million.
Additional occupancies, with construction values exceeding $25 million, include:
- The 9th Avenue Parkade.
- Union Square Phase 2.
- City Scape Plaza.
- Silverado Seniors Village.
- Westman Village Journey Club (2 & 3).
- Redstone Tower.
- Sunridge Mall Renovation.
- ABG Skyview Building.
Several notable industrial applications include: BMO Centre Expansion application (valued at $317 million); Two Park Central Apartments (valued at $92 million); and VIVO Indoor Recreation Facility Expansion (valued at $42 million).
The city notes that construction values and building permits are not representative of overall market and economic conditions, but they provide a benchmark for the state of the construction industry.
The Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program is also encouraging private developers to undertake downtown office conversions, office replacement, and new residential development. The program’s first phase application period closed on Sept. 15 and interest has been strong, with 13 applications received.