Calgary to sell 5 city-owned parcels at discount for affordable housing

The City of Calgary plans to sell five city-owned sites at a discount to non-profit affordable housing providers.

The move is the second time the city has sold plots of land to help create more units of affordable housing in the city. A similar land sale took place in 2017, which Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said created 160 new units.

Successful applicants for the land will be immediately eligible for grants from the city and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a federal entity.

There is also federal cash through the national housing strategy, bringing the total investment from Ottawa to as much as $48.5 million.

"This will generate up to 200 new units for Calgarians in need," said Nenshi at a press conference.

"These sites were selected for their close proximity to important amenities like transit, grocery stores and employment."

Locations spread across city

The parcels up for grabs are spread across the city, in Saddle Ridge, Highland Park, Banff Trail, Capitol Hill and Seton.

MP Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said Calgary is an attractive city for federal investments in affordable housing.

"I don't think there's a city that's faster, certainly not a city of this size, that's faster at getting social housing approved and built, and time is money in the development industry," he said.

"And I think that's one of the things that really attracts us to looking at the projects in Calgary, because there's a commitment from city hall."

Calgary moves quickly on housing

Vaughan also highlighted the fact Calgary doesn't come looking for cash for one project in isolation, but rather bundles them in a portfolio, which allows greater flexibility in spending the funds.

The city said the sale will be open to more than 60 non-profit affordable housing providers that will have to meet a specific set of criteria.

Applications will be accepted until March 27.