Calgary

Calgary council approves $7.5M to help finish Barron Building conversion to housing

Calgary city council, sitting for the last time before the Oct. 18 election, voted 12-1 to help fund the stalled Barron Building conversion project on Monday.

Iconic 1950s office tower was to be revamped for residential units but project stalled

City council will provide $7.5 million to help convert the Barron Building to residential units, but only after the project is complete. The building, which formerly housed the Uptown Theatre, is at 610 Eighth Ave. S.W. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Calgary city council, sitting for the last time before the Oct. 18 election, voted 12-1 to help fund the stalled Barron Building conversion project on Monday.

The project, transforming an iconic 1950s office tower into residential units, has been stalled for over two years.

The owner of the historic 11-storey complex, Calgary-based Strategic Group, halted work on the project a couple of years ago when it found the cost of completing the job would be higher than expected.

The property development company has also run into financial troubles as a result of economic conditions.

Council will provide $7.5 million to help complete the conversion, but that money won't flow until the project is complete. 

The money is not part of a larger pot on offer for conversions in the core, one aspect of a larger plan to cut soaring vacancy rates downtown that could cost $1 billion over 10 years. 

The Barron Building isn't eligible for that cash because the project started before the program was put in place this year. 

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