Two councillors have come forward with a plan to fill empty office space in the downtown core.
Many economists say Calgary's downtown will never be the same even after oil prices stabilize so a couple of city councillors are proposing an economic summit to form a comprehensive plan to fill the empty offices in the short and long term.
Nearly a third of the office space downtown is vacant and many fear oil companies will be leaner in the future and might not lease as much space in the core once the good times return.
Councillors Druh Farrell and Evan Woolley are proposing an economic summit between municipal and possibly provincial government leaders, Calgary's Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council and landholders to come up with new ways to fill the space.
They say nothing is too out there and things like urban farming, student and low income housing, co-sharing office space and convincing other companies to come here to avoid higher costs in other cities, need to be considered.
‘From what we’re hearing, high-tech companies would be interested in coming to our downtown core but some parts of our downtown core have a very poor public realm and companies want a nice public realm with cool parks and building exteriors, so do we need to invest?” said Farrell.
Calgary businesses now paying higher taxes to make up for the shortfall created by ones that closed are closer to the abyss and some business owners say if the city keeps applying that formula, which the Municipal Government Act allows, there'll be nothing left to tax.
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