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Calgary Film Centre facility for sale following growth in the industry

After five years of operations, the goals of the Calgary Film Centre Ltd. (CFCL) have been achieved, leading the City of Calgary to begin the process of divesting the facility.

The centre, located in southeast Calgary, was focused on helping the city’s film and TV sector into a new era.

That’s now been achieved, Patricia McLeod, Board Chair for Calgary Film Centre, said.

In January 2021, Calgary was listed among the top 10 places in North America for film and television productions by industry publication Moviemaker in its annual list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker.

“The industry is flourishing and there is increased demand and competition for studio space, so the time is right to explore a sale. Calgary Economic Development and The City were never intended to run the Film Centre over the long term, and it will develop further when owned by a private-sector player,” McLeod said.

City council approved exploring the sale of the facility May 10, 2021, retaining Ernst & Young Orenda Corporate Finance Inc. (“EY”) to support the City in the sales process.

City council has indicated the goal is for the divestment to be completed in 2021, although no official date has been set.

“The film and TV sector is seeing exponential growth and the Calgary Film Centre played an important role in helping make that happen, so it was a good investment but it’s time to let the private sector to take it forward and grow the business,” said Jeff Davison, Councillor for Ward 6 and member of the CFCL Board.

Building impetus

The facility features three purpose-built sound stages on an 8.35 acre site, with warehouse and workshop facilities. William F. White International is the anchor tenant, providing production services and equipment.

According to a statement from the City of Calgary, the sound stages have been operating at 100 per cent capacity since reopening with strict COVID-19 protocols last June and are fully booked until summer 2022.

In 2019, the film and TV sector contributed $197 million to Calgary’s economy. Despite the COVID-19 constraints in 2020, the industry contributed $90 million the economy, and created more than 2,474 jobs.

The Government of Alberta’s announcement this spring to create a more competitive tax  credit program for the industry has provided momentum for more production in the province.

“The potential of film and television as a major contributor to creative industries in a diverse economy is starting to be realized. In addition to the quality of our talent, crews and outstanding venues and facilities, the right level of government support is serving as a critical catalyst to the significant growth,” Luke Azevedo, Vice-President, Creative Industries, Calgary Economic Development and Alberta Film Commissioner, said.

“In the last five years, film and TV has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy and created thousands of jobs. The industry is on a trajectory to be an even greater contributor to Calgary and Alberta’s economy.”