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Ontario  + Alberta & Prairies  + Canada  + Office  | 
The City of London, Ont., plans to launch a downtown office-to-residential real estate conversion program.

Southern Ontario City’s Developers Consider Office Conversions

London, Ont., investors are preparing for possible office-to-residential conversions to capitalize on future city funding.

“I think anything we can do for the downtown is an improvement,” Richard Sifton, owner of Sifton Properties, told the London Free Press.

“We are seriously looking at converting a downtown office building as we speak,”

London Mayor Josh Morgan has announced that the city intends to offer a downtown office-to-residential conversion program. If all goes according to plan, the city will provide developers with grants of $20,000 per one-bedroom unit and $28,000 for each suite containing two or more bedrooms.

London’s proposed office-conversion effort differs in that the Southern Ontario city comprises a secondary market. Thus far, Canada’s office-conversion movement’s traction has occurred in major urban centres.

City of London staff will propose the program to council’s planning committee February 21. Jim Bujouves, president at Farhi Developments, called the proposal a step in the right direction and acknowledgment of issues affecting downtown revitalization efforts.

Fahri is discussing possible conversion projects with the city. But Bujouves contended that the federal and Ontario governments should provide additional financial support.

“It is significantly higher cost; there are inherent limitations on what can be converted,” he told the Free Press.

He noted that the city’s proposed funding levels are well short of the $75 per square foot available under a widely acclaimed City of Calgary conversion program.

But while announcing London’s plan, Morgan said the city will draw funds for conversions from the $74 million investment that it received through the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund.

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City of Lonndon, OntarioSifton Properties

About Monte Stewart

Monte Stewart serves as Content Director - Canada for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monte provides daily news coverage of major Canadian commercial real estate markets, including Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. He has written about the real estate sector for various media outlets and Avison Young since the early 2000s. In addition, he has covered sports, general news and business for several leading wire services and publications, including The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, Research Money, The Daily Oil Bulletin, Natural Gas World and The Toronto Star. Monte is active in his community as a youth basketball coach and raises funds for such charitable causes as Movember.

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