Calgary Business Revitalization Zones: What to Know
- March 13, 2018
- By Cody Battershill
What is a Calgary Business Revitalization Zone?
You may have heard people reference a Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ) in Calgary before. But what exactly is a Business Revitalization Zone anyways?
This is actually an old term created by the City of Calgary. As of July 1st, 2016, the names for most of these zones were officially changed to Business Improvement Areas (BIA).
Business Revitalization Zones / Business Improvement Areas
Definition: A BIA or BRZ is an organization established by businesses common to an area which jointly raise and provide funds for different activities, events and marketing for that zone. Chances are that you’ve heard of Calgary’s most well-known ones such as Kensington, Marda Loop and Inglewood. There’s a lot more BIA’s in Calgary than just these three. They include:
4th Street SW BIA
If you’ve ever been to the Lilac Festival, then you know the general area of where the 4th Street SW BIA is found. From approximately 12th to 26th Avenue SW is where you’ll find the associated businesses and community.
17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District
The 17th Avenue SW (a.k.a. “The Red Mile”) BIA is focused on making the eclectic and vibrant entertainment district as fun and relaxing as possible. This area is found between 14th Street SW to 2nd Street SE along 17th Avenue.
Calgary Downtown Association BIA
More than 3,000 businesses across a 120 block area in the downtown area is represented by this BIA. That includes 50 million square feet of attractions, cultural, entertainment, government, hotel, office, retail and restaurant buildings.
Chinatown District BIA
Chinatown has a lengthy history in Calgary’s development and has always been a huge part of downtown’s cultural character. Today, its goal is to revitalize the distinct Asian culture and societal diversity of the area while celebrating more than a century of local heritage and pride. The BIA is also adjacent to the Bow River and its pathways.
International Avenue BRZ
Between 26th to 61st street on 17th Avenue SE (a.k.a. International Avenue) is where you’ll find one of the most diverse streetscapes in Calgary. The area is a one-stop-shop for ethnic restaurants, grocery stores and other services from around the globe in addition to more familiar brands like Tim Hortons and Safeway.
Mainstreet Bowness BIA
Bowness’s mainstreet has a BIA of its own between 62nd and 65th Street NW. The area has a diverse array of businesses ranging from sports equipment stores and ethnic restaurants to coffee shops and financial services. More than 60 businesses operate within the boundaries of the Mainstreet Bowness BIA.
Montgomery on the Bow BIA
This area is found in the Bowness Road / Home Road area and consists mainly of a mixed-use commercial corridor. Its 115 strong member base are all found in three distinct commercial areas each providing their own special niche of goods and services.
Victoria Park is a highly walkable community which has now been named as part of the “Beltline.” It’s streets are packed with a full spectrum of restaurants, shops and services and is a gateway to the Stampede Grounds and Saddledome to the east side of downtown.
More on Calgary's BRZ & BIA
Calgary’s BRZ’s and BIA’s are extremely desirable to live nearby to or within because of having quick-and-easy access to restaurants, shops, services and entertainment.
Their vibrant and eclectic nature are supported not only by the amenities, but also annual festivals such as the Salsa Festival in the Kensington BRZ and the Lilac Festival along 4th Street SW. Above is a picture of Peace Bridge that connects the Kensington BRZ / Sunnyside area to Eau Claire and downtown's west end.
New Condominium Buildings
Both commercial and residential developers know the value of building projects in these areas. Lately, there’s been a huge effort by companies to build multi-family projects to replace some of the older and worn down buildings.
Two great examples are Lido Condos and Kensington by Bucci, both recently completed projects found right along 10th Street NW in the Kensington BRZ. Others such as Avenue 33 in Marda Loop and Avli on Atlantic Ave in Inglewood are more examples.
These buildings have introduced new bottom-floor retail spaces which have and will drastically improve the diversity of amenities found in the Business Revitalization Zones / Business Improvement Areas.
Once completed, newly built residential buildings also contribute to population density which in turn creates even more vibrancy and involvement in the regional community.
Walkability of BRZ’s and BIA’s
Living in a Business Revitalization Zone or Business Improvement Area in most instances offers walkability second to none. The Kensington BRZ, for example, has a riverside location that allows people to not only access the hundreds of businesses within the area, but also the Bow River and its pathways within minutes.
These pathways are a means for many downtown workers to walk to and from work no matter what season it is.
The Marda Loop BRZ also has its own level of walkability. While it may not be as close to downtown as the Kensington BRZ is, it is found just a few short blocks from the Elbow River and its system of pathways and parks that span northwards all the way to downtown and beyond.
These pathways are used by many residents who live nearby in the South to get to and from work in the downtown corridor during spring and summer. They are also used by many Calgarians from all over the city for recreation and leisure.
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