Is Increased Property Tax Closing Calgary for Business?

July 14, 2019

#CalgaryIsClosing – the latest hashtag to hit social media in our city. But what does it mean?

This campaign is in reference to increased property taxes and closing businesses across the city. Recently Calgary businesses have been subject to extreme increases in property tax, ranging from 100% to over 400%. For local business owners, this situation is nothing short of a nightmare, as trying to keep afloat during our economic downturn has been tough enough as it is.

Driving around the city, Calgary Commercial Group’s Brody Butchart and Jamie Coulter have been photographing signs of businesses closing their doors and posting their tax increases for the public to see.

As supporters of local business, working to negotiate the best lease terms for landlords and tenants alike, we’ve taken a special interest in following the city’s decisions regarding property tax and the businesses affected.

Below, we are highlighting some local businesses in Calgary, and the impact that property tax rates have had on their business:


The Social School – A digital marketing educator in Calgary, students and businesses can take classes to assist them with the digital marketing side of their businesses. From courses and workshops to informative blogs and and networking events the social school is a business primed to thrive in the digital economy. But what happens when their property tax increases a whopping $4,900/month (a 427% increase within a week) – For one, they join the #saveinglewood movement, and for two, they need to come up with $4,900 more dollars in their budget to say open.

Kensington Auto – In the last four years, this auto shop in Kensington, Calgary has faced an increase in property tax of $44,480. Serving Calgarians and their vehicles for 45 years, since 1970, what a shame it would be to close their doors. Family-owned-and-operated shops of all sorts struggle to beat larger corporations and chains – so for this maintenance shop, the property tax increase has hit hard. This photo couldn’t make their passion to keep their business running more obvious.

Wurst– Wurst is one of Calgary’s most loved restaurants for German cuisine, located on 4th Street. Wurst unapologetically celebrates Calgary Stampede and Oktoberfest every year, and serves as an amazing venue for weddings and other events. On weekends, people are often found dancing on tables in the basement! Will their fairy-lit indoor tree live to see another year? Their property taxes have increased a whopping $134k since 2014.

Home And Away – Driving down 17th Avenue, Home and Away’s bright red and brick facade has been hard to miss since 2016. Due to the property tax increase on top of the endless construction and road closures on 17th Avenue, Home and Away had no choice but to close their funky sports and entertainment bar at the end of June this year. Their property taxes tripled since 2016.

Running a local business isn’t an easy gig, and it’s obvious that increased property tax has been the “straw that broke the camels back” for many. All of this said, we do not believe #CalgaryIsClosing. We are here to support local and work with business owners to figure things out.

With smart real estate transactions, effective tenant representation, investment opportunity education and services, Calgary Commercial Group is here to answer all of your questions and be your real estate strategists and partners.