Letter of Support for Pop-Up and Interim Commercial Spaces

On April 16, 2019 by Ben Morin

The City is looking to support short-term occupancy for businesses that create minimal impact on communities. The proposals include ‘Pop-Up’ uses in commercial or industrial space for 4 days without a development permit (DP); and ‘Interim Uses’, for up to six (6) months without a DP.


In January, Administration approached the Federation for feedback on the project, which is meant to respond to the economic downturn and changing retail landscape. Administration proposes both pop-up and interim uses, which can open in vacant commercial spaces without a development permit on a temporary basis.

Pop-up uses

  • Low to moderate impacts
  • Up to 4 consecutive days, 50 days a year
  • Allowed in commercial and industrial spaces
  • Includes uses such as performing arts centre, market, cinema, as well as each of the interim uses

Interim uses

  • Low impact on the surrounding area
  • Up to 6 consecutive months, 6 months per year
  • Allowed in commercial spaces
  • Includes uses such as artist’s studio, office, speciality food store, retail services

Note that uses like restaurants and night clubs would not be allowed. For a full list of the uses, click here.

Federation Letter

In April, we shared details of the project with our Urban Planning Committee and membership for feedback. Based on the feedback we received, we wrote a letter of support that also acknowledges some of the risks of the project. Click here to read our letter.

Calgary Planning Commission

The project leads took their work to Calgary Planning Commission (CPC) for feedback. The full report can be found here starting on page 199 of the document. Through the discussion, Administration stated that:

  • The City will be monitoring each successful pop-up for complaints and successes
  • The City is aware of other new types of business models, for example, where two businesses operate out of different spaces at different times of the day
  • Cafes and similar uses are not included, but other uses may be added if the project is successful
  • The uses are restricted to the ground floor for the time being

Next Steps

CPC unanimously accepted to receive the report for information. The project team will be taking the feedback to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Urban Development and Council later on in 2019 for approval. If you have questions or concerns about the project, contact Toun at planner1@calgarycommunities.com