Found a space for your creative ideas to take off? Great location, high ceilings, open floor plan, affordable … perfect – right?
Whoa. Take a breath. And take a few careful steps before you sign that lease or spend time and money fixing it up… We hope these pointers will help smooth the path to that new doorway. Read on….

As we grow our expertise in this area, we’ll build up this page. So keep checking back for developments…

Let’s Get Started

If you want to lease or rent a space in Edmonton, you’ll most likely need to get a Development Permit to make the changes you need for your uses. Your potential new space was probably last used for something other than what you’re proposing. In that case, you’ll also have to apply for a Change of Use.

Let’s say you found a great old warehouse space that would be perfect for your dance studio. You’ll first need to make sure that the City allows a dance studio in that neigbourhood or area or “zone”. Next, your ‘change of use’ from warehouse to dance studio will likely activate a need to upgrade building codes in that space – mostly around health and safety issues: things like ventilation, accessibilty, adequate washrooms…. You might think you don’t need much parking, but is there sufficient parking by code on your lot? Oh boy. All of this will be reviewed by a Development Permit officer when you make your application. Once your “DP” is approved, you might then proceed to get a Building Permit before you begin your construction.


We know. Its a labyrinth. It hurts. We don’t want to do any of it. But we’re going to. Why? Well, what if we didn’t make sure there are enough exits and … there is a fire? Enough said.

Visit the 5th Floor Sustainable Planning Department

In light of the above, we highly recommend you take the address, floor plan and if you have one, a site plan of the space you want to lease or rent to the 5th floor of the HSBC building (at 101ST and 103 AVE) and speak with a Development Advisor before you enter into an agreement. This precautionary step could provide you with important information you will need to plan for your space and save you agony and money further down the road.

The advisors will help determine if your use or activity is allowed on the site you are considering, or if the site would have to be “rezoned”, and they will begin the conversation around parking requirements and potential building code upgrades. Go armed with questions and ask all of them. Don’t be afraid to go back several times.

And don’t get discouraged. You will be given a list of overwhelming TO DO’s and application procedures. Step-by-step, you can do them.

Yes, it will take some money (and time)!

Look, if your space is small, these will be negligible. But if you and some friends or your organization want to take over a large space that’s been empty for some time … well, its always good to be prepared. Here are some of the costs you can expect:


  • You might need to hire someone to measure and draw up your space so you have an accurate record to show the development permit and building code officers;
  • In rare cases you might need to apply for rezoning, although this is usually up to the building owner;
  • You will need to pay for the Development Permit Application and the Change of Use Application if that applies to you;
  • You will pay for drawing copies and printouts;
  • You will pay for contractors to build the improvements required, and for any permits they need;
  • Even if you are developing a studio in your garage, some if not all of this list can apply.


  • If you are conducting a business or are leasing a commercial space you will have to pay for business license;
  • If you are conducting a business in a Business Revitalization Zone, you might have to pay a BRZ Levy based on the square foot of your space;
  • If you apply for a home business there is a new process that also requires a development permit, but it is less involved. You are also responsible for the cost of a home business licences (minor or major), but at the time of this writing the license and permit department is looking at reducing or removing this fee.