May 21, 2014 6:22 pm

Huge, heated parking lot sits vacant downtown, due to red tape

CALGARY- A $3 million, heated underground parking lot is sitting vacant in a prime location downtown—all because of a strange requirement from the city.

When the Mustard Seed opened up its affordable housing tower at 10 Ave. and Centre Street S, the city required that they build the 79 stall lot for permit reasons.

However, not even one resident owns a vehicle, meaning the lot sits completely empty, and the Mustard Seed still has to pay to heat it.

Story continues below

“To me, there’s some disconnect,” says Lyall Thomson from the Mustard Seed. “We’re understanding that the city is starting to think about this, they have policies that they have to review, they’re trying to look at it from a precedent setting situation. We understand all that.

“But why would we want this to sit empty in a prime location in the centre of the city?”

Management originally didn’t include a parking lot in their plans, aware that very few of their residents would own a vehicle.

“We requested no parking, that was the message we were trying to send,” Thomson adds. “You’re starting to see in the East Village, the city permitted no parking spaces for new buildings of this magnitude.”

The city says the issue was only brought to their attention a week ago, and it’s not known how long a decision on the matter will take.

It’s estimated that the non-profit Mustard Seed could generate $350,000 per year by renting out the stalls.