Big Box (imagE) Big Box (image)


The Big Box

Zoning Change Opens the Door for Children's Recreational Center in Calgary

01 The Opportunity

Our client, The Big Box, was seeking 30,000 to 60,000 square feet (sf) to house a children's recreational indoor play facility. They had three key building requirements: minimum of 28' clearance; zoned industrial commercial to allow for recreational use; and, exposure to major roads with parking to accommodate over 100 vehicles.
big box team (imAGe)

"Cushman & Wakefield did a fantastic job of providing us with market intelligence to help us make an informed decision. The negotiation process was well managed to ensure we obtained all necessities to run our business. We appreciate their help and commitment in assisting us with opening the largest indoor children’s recreational center in Calgary, Canada."

- Owner

02 The Solution

The requirements created a unique challenge due to Calgary's limited supply of recreational commercial zoned buildings with 28' clear ceilings and exposure to major thoroughfares.

First, we examined the Calgary Airport Authority lands as this would have been the path to least restrictions. However, the airport lands did not give adequate exposure for the business and had increased competition due to a saturation of recreational indoor play facilities in the area. This left us reviewing commercial properties zoned I-C or discretionary use I-G zoned buildings.

In 2016, the City of Calgary made I-G zoning very difficult for indoor play recreational users to occupy space and strictly enforced occupancy and permitted use. Prior to 2016, the City permitted recreational users to operate as an instructional facility under a discretionary use within I-G. While the tenant could have sourced an I-C zoned property it would have resulted in higher associated rental costs.

After a year of reviewing options, we were able to find the ideal building located on 64th Avenue and Deerfoot Trail. The building is unique as it is fronting 64th Avenue and across from a major redevelopment, Calgary's Deerfoot City Mall. The property also has a neighboring Impark lot and a large area in the rear to create 40 parking stalls with another 35 available at the front. Although this building was the ideal location and solution for our client, the zoning restrictions on the area created a problem, as the building was Industrial General (I-G) zoned.

To hopefully overcome this hurdle, we commenced discussions with the landlord regarding the land's change of use. Unfortunately, at that time the landlord wasn’t receptive to start the process. After almost eight months of searching for alternate solutions, the 64th Avenue location still sat vacant. We approached the landlord again and were able to assist in commencing the change of land use process.

Within three months we successfully had the building rezoned and the use was accepted immediately under Direct Control-Recreational by the City of Calgary.

03 The Results

The landlord was able to fill the 55,325 SF vacancy, which had remained vacant for over a year. Our client was able to obtain a fair market deal with great incentives to assist with start-up expenditures. Calgary opened the largest children's recreational center featuring a 20,000-sf indoor playground, 8,000-sf inflatable bouncing castle, 8,500-sf aerial rope course, virtual reality room, and bumper cars.

Meet the Team

Michael Warner Calgary
Mike Warner

Executive Vice President, Industrial
Calgary, Canada

+1 (403) 261-1165

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Kevin Tang Calgary
Kevin Tang

Sr. Associate, Industrial
Calgary, Canada

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David Reich Calgary
David Reich

Sr. Associate, Industrial
Calgary, Canada

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