Calgary is developing its future

The industrial land development program has serviced 5,000 acres, sold to 2,700 businesses
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
By David Purcell-Chung

The City of Calgary is a developer of industrial lands, business parks, transit-oriented development and affordable housing. Calgary competes with major cities in Canada and around the world to attract business and industry. Initially, the City was one of few industrial developers and, in slow times, the only provider of serviced industrial land.

The private industrial market tends to focus on ready-built space for long-term leases. These developments ensure a variety of product options are available for businesses to locate and expand in Calgary. The City complements this product by providing a steady supply of individual lots for businesses to purchase and own.

Calgary has planned, serviced and sold municipally-owned land assets to ensure availability of industrial lots through strong and weak economies. The City’s industrial land development program has:

• Serviced approximately 5,000 acres and sold to 2,700 businesses, employing more than 50,000 people

• Maintained a self-sustaining program (not taxpayer funded) that finances future industrial development

• Invested in affordable housing projects (five per cent of the development program’s returned earnings)

• Funded corporate infrastructure (e.g. Shepard wetland surrounding Ralph Klein Park)

• Enabled Calgary to achieve other policy objectives through its land ownership and development role

The responsibility for developing this steady supply is with the City’s newest business unit, the Office of Land Servicing & Housing (OLSH). OLSH’s mandate is to build the best livable, workable Calgary through collaboration, innovation and passion. Those values are evident in the work that is done in land servicing, real estate and affordable housing. To help facilitate economic opportunities, OLSH engages in diverse land servicing projects from feasibility, planning and engineering approvals to construction, marketing and sales.

The City engages in several different development types:

Business Parks
Business parks, such as the future Aurora development in north central Calgary, will deliver fully serviced ‘construction ready’ land for intensive office-related employment and for light industrial uses in suburban areas.

Industrial projects, such as Eastlake Industrial Park, help deliver a one-year supply of fully serviced ‘construction ready’ industrial land while supporting economic development and diversification in Calgary. The City has been an active leader in industrial land development for the past 50 years.

Transit-Oriented Development
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is a walkable, mixed-use, high density form of development typically focused within a 600-metre radius of a transit station. OLSH is currently creating a market-driven program for the development of City-owned lands in and around key transit stations. Sales negotiations for the Westbrook TOD are being finalized and planning is underway for the Anderson TOD station.

The real estate sales program manages all land that is declared surplus. Whether it is general land or a specific industrial, commercial or residential property, the program’s objective is to maximize financial, environmental and community value from sale of City-owned real estate assets.

Affordable Housing
Affordable Housing (AH) develops and implements affordable housing policies and programs that support the delivery of housing units. AH seeks to increase the supply of affordable housing units through the construction or acquisition of new units, and by working collaboratively with private and not-for-profit developers.

David Purcell-Chung is the development and planning advisor with the City of Calgary’s Office of Land Servicing & Housing. He provides strategic direction and analysis for the disposition and development of City-owned industrial and surplus lands.


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