City eyes down­town univer­sity campus to re­vi­tal­ize core

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - NEWS - He­len pike Metro | Cal­gary

The en­tre­pre­neur­ial minds of Cal­gary want to bring a univer­sity campus down­town.

On Mon­day, coun­cil­lors will dis­cuss strate­gies that came out of the Down­town Eco­nomic Sum­mit in March hop­ing to kick­start the strug­gling down­town core as the down­turn con­tin­ues to dog the city’s down­town.

One of the city’s pri­or­i­ties is to bring more post-sec­ondary down­town – es­pe­cially build­ing a down­town univer­sity campus with stu­dent hous­ing. On their list, this tops the need for a new arena.

Most post­sec­on­daries in the city aren’t think­ing down­town right now – apart from ACAD.

“The Al­berta Col­lege of Art + De­sign is cur­rently en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion with the city and are ex­plor­ing all po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­pan­sion,” read a state­ment from spokesman Steven Hodges. “We are still in that early ex­ploratory stage.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which cites stats from a spe­cial study done by the Con­fer­ence Board of Canada, Cal­gary is un­likely to see any new down­town of­fice real es­tate in­vest­ment for at least 12 years.

Dur­ing the down­turn, be­tween 2016 and un­til 2018, CBOC ex­pects $7.5 bil­lion to be wiped out from the as­sessed value of the city’s down­town of­fice mar­ket. And that’s bad news from the City of Cal­gary be­cause it means the to­tal tax gen­er­ated from the build­ings won’t sur­pass its 2015 peak un­til 2020.

The va­cancy rate is also ex­pected to re­main above 20 per cent un­til 2023 and above dou­ble-dig­its un­til 2032.

One of the trends in the core the city hopes could help is re­pur­pos­ing the empty of­fice space to res­i­den­tial, but none of the post-sec­on­daries Metro ap­proached had a res­i­dence con­ver­sion in the plans.

Bow Val­ley Col­lege, which al­ready has pres­ence down­town, don’t have res­i­dences. Last year, they told Metro there were plans to look at the Cen­tral Li­brary build­ing for fu­ture ex­pan­sions, but on Thurs­day they were un­able to re­spond to such a hy­po­thet­i­cal re­quest.

Mount Royal Univer­sity doesn’t cur­rently have a pres­ence down­town, An­nalise Van Ham, act­ing Vice-Pres­i­dent of Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vices said there are no plans to ex­pand to the city’s core.

“We are fo­cused on in­vest­ing in our Lin­coln Park Campus to en­sure it meets the needs of Al­berta learn­ers,” she said “Fu­ture de­ci­sions around our phys­i­cal space will be guided by our Campus Mas­ter Plan.”

The Univer­sity of Cal­gary’s down­town campus but they’re also doesn’t have any new down­town plans. SAIT, which al­ready has a culi­nary campus down­town also shied away from re­veal­ing any fu­ture plans.

the Al­berta Col­lege of Art + De­sign is cur­rently en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion with the city. Steven Hodges

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.