Long Term

If your arts organization needs an operations base, consider these tips to secure longer term space. There are some (almost) free options out there!

Note: City bylaws and programs change over time and this information may become out of date. It is your responsibility to reconfirm this information.

Where do I start?

Here are some first steps that artists, collectives, and organizations should take before approaching building owners or their agents.

Where is this going down?

  1. Hopefully you have narrowed down where in the city you’d like to be.
  2. Determine what your use is defined as in the Alberta Building Code and The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw.
  3. Once you do this, you can determine what building types and land use designations allow your use.
  4. Once you find a building, you can determine if it has been built to accommodate your building code occupancy classification and you can see if your use is permitted on that site.

Build a case for support

If you are thinking of approaching building owners or agents with a pitch for tenancy, make sure you’ve thought it through from their perspective. Develop a one-pager that includes the basics: your why, what, who, when, and duration for using the space. And also think like a building owner. Anticipate what they would see as financial and reputational risks from having your group in their space, and address them upfront.

Things to consider

  • Are there any other benefits that the building owner, their agents or other tenants will get from having your group in the space?
  • Determine a budget of what you might be able to pay. Many building owners and their agents ask that utilities costs be covered.
  • Do you have liability and other forms of insurance in place?

Before you submit

Have you clearly and accurately explained how your group will use the space? Will your use impact other tenants? How will you ensure your use doesn’t damage their building? Have you developed health protocols both for your safety and to reassure building owners that you will not break any public health laws?

  • Hot planning tip: If your organization would benefit from a non-traditional lease under 2 years, you may be a good candidate for a Meanwhile Lease.

Helpful Links

Where Can I Find Long Term Space?

Long term space can be found through commercial real estate listings, or often by searching an area the old-fashioned way – on foot. Take a walk around a neighourhood that you’re interested in and get inspired. You may discover opportunities you hadn’t thought of before.

For some more non-traditional options check out some of the existing space-matching platforms active in Calgary or investigate a Meanwhile Lease for less long term commitment.

Hot planning tip: If you don’t need permanent space, consider if an Interim or Pop-Up space would be more appropriate for your needs.

Great! I’ve finished my homework

Once you’ve found a space and written up a Case for Support, your work is not quite done. You may need to get City permits to use the space. The City of Calgary offers help at https://www.calgary.ca/for-business/licences.html or you can use their live chat feature here: https://www.calgary.ca/planning/live-chat.html

Looking for warehouse space?

These platforms may include short term and long term space. If we are missing a good platform, let us know at info@cspaceprojects.com.

Looking for studio space?

These cool art spaces include opportunities to rent Studio Space (may or may not be fully leased).