Canada: Timing Considerations When Buying Or Building Commercial Property In Calgary

Last Updated: May 1 2014
Article by Christie S. Conway and Gregory Liakopoulos

When deciding between buying an existing property or building a new space for your business, the first questions you need to ask are about timing. While anticipating the timeframes may sound like common sense, even seasoned buyers and builders can get caught off guard by the process and timelines involved in purchasing and developing property in a new location. Here are a few questions to consider so your next project stays on time and on budget.

How Long are You Prepared to Research a Building Before Buying?

If you have your eye on an existing building, consider the amount of time you will want to "kick the tires" of your new space and the extent of the due diligence you will want to conduct before entering into any negotiations or agreements with the seller. The more you know about a property, the more comfortable you will be with negotiating the deal. Be sure to give yourself (and your lawyer) ample time to complete any searches, inspections or other inquiries you will need to feel confident on closing day.

What are the Local Timelines for Commercial Development?

Similarly, if you are looking to redevelop a property or build new, do your research and understand the various stages and timelines involved in designing, receiving development and building approval for, and constructing a commercial development in your area. Different municipalities will have different processing times for permits and approvals. Different building sites – even within the same area – can present remarkably different and unexpected challenges. Don't assume the timeframes you used on your last project will work for your current one. And, as with any construction project, remember that flexibility is vital. Know what your timeframes should be, but always build in a buffer to be able to take those inevitable hiccups and holdups in stride.

Will you be Complying with the Current Land Use Designation?

Finally, whether you are buying or building, be sure to consider whether your proposed use for the land will comply with the current land use designation in your municipality. If it doesn't, be aware that the timeframes for these approvals can range from a few months to over a year. Address this issue early and have a contingency plan.

Guide to Timing the Purchase or Development of Commercial Property in Calgary

The following infographic sets out some of the approximate timeframes associated with various stages of buying and/or building a property in Calgary. Some of the stages listed below will be concurrent or may not be required, and again, because all projects are unique, these timeframes will vary depending on a number of site, deal-specific and administrative factors and are provided only as rough guide and are subject to change. As always, your best bet is to talk to your lawyer when considering buying or building your new space and work together to ensure your concerns are addressed and goals are met.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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