Office Tenancy Assistance Program

The Office Tenancy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to either building owners or tenants for eligible leasehold improvements to office buildings located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope/Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.

Program details 

The intent of the program is to facilitate the increased attractiveness and marketability of the office stock and reduce the office vacancy rate by attracting new office tenants and owner-occupied office uses from outside the City, and to assist existing businesses to expand.



Program eligibility requirements include:

  1. Buildings must be located within Downtown Hamilton, Community Downtowns, the Mount Hope / Airport Gateway, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) or, the commercial corridors along Barton Street, east of the Barton Village BIA and along Kenilworth Avenue North as identified in the Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Project Area By-law.
  2. Either owners of eligible buildings, or tenants within eligible buildings, may apply to the Program.
  3. Leasehold improvements made for a tenant establishing a new office location in the City of Hamilton are eligible for the Program. Each application must involve leasehold improvements by a minimum of 1,000 square feet of gross leaseable office space. The minimum square foot requirement may be subdivided within a larger building.
  4. Leasehold improvements made for a tenant expanding or relocating from a location already within the City of Hamilton must be increasing their current leasehold area by a minimum of 1,000 square feet of gross leaseable office space to be eligible for the Program. For the purpose ofcalculating the loan amount, the total eligible leasehold improvement costs will account for the expansion area only.
  5. Eligible leasehold improvements include leasehold improvements required by the tenant in order to lease the space, but that will become the property of the landlord upon termination of the lease. They include alterations or improvements to the building that cannot be removed upon termination of the lease because they are attached to or form part of the leased premises. They may include:
  • alterations to a building such as interior walls, ceilings and doors
  • paint, wallpaper, window coverings and flooring
  • phone and data cabling
  • fixed lighting, HVAC, electrical or plumbing upgrades

    Ineligible leasehold improvements would include items that can be moved or taken out of the building, such as mobile partitions, furniture and equipment, appliances, pictures, signs, and carpeting or rugs that are not attached to the floor. Capital improvements to a property are not eligible such as additions or roofing.
  1. For the purpose of this program, eligible leasehold improvements are to be made to space within eligible buildings that is devoted to office uses, where permitted by the zoning by-law, in which management, clerical, administrative, consulting, advisory, training or teaching services are offered or performed, including call centres and educational establishments. Other uses may include commercial school, communications establishment, financial establishment, medical office,  and medical clinic (excluding methadone clinics), where permitted by the Zoning By-law. City Council at its sole discretion may deem other uses eligible for the program that are not listed above.

    Leasehold improvements to space within eligible buildings that is devoted to more commercially-oriented uses are ineligible, such as retail, restaurant, personal services, commercial entertainment, commercial recreation, hotel, conference or convention centre uses.
  2. The improvements made to buildings shall be in accordance with the Ontario Building Code and in compliance with all applicable City by-laws, official plans, zoning regulations, design guidelines and site plan approvals.
  3. Improvements commenced prior to submitting an application are ineligible. Improvements commenced after submitting an application but prior to application approval do so at the applicant’s risk of the application not being approved.
  4. Prior to a loan being approved, property taxes are required to be paid in full as billed.
  5. Approval of the loan application is at the absolute discretion of the City and subject to the availability of funds.
  6. Without limiting the discretion as set out in paragraph 10 herein, the City Council, whether or not an applicant satisfies the requirements of the Program, may reject any application received from an applicant where, in the opinion of Council, the commercial relationship between City and the applicant has been impaired by, but not limited to, the applicant being involved in litigation with the City. Applicants are individuals; or, corporate entities and individuals behind the corporation such as officers, directors and shareholders.
  7. Without limiting the discretion as set out in paragraph 10 herein, City Council, whether or not an Applicant satisfies the requirements of the Program, may reject any application received from an applicant where there are property tax arrears owed on the subject property or on other properties owned by the Applicant within the City of Hamilton.
  8. Works commenced prior to submitting an application are ineligible for funding under the Program. Works commenced after submitting an application but prior to approval of an application may be eligible for funding under the Program and eligibility will be determined by the General Manager of Planning and Economic Development, in his sole, absolute and unfettered discretion. An applicant shall assume the risk of paying for work commenced after an application has been submitted but prior to approval.

How to apply

  1. Review the full program description, including program terms. (PDF, 181 KB)
     
  2. Complete the Office Tenancy Assistance Program application form (PDF, 262 KB) and submit in person or by mail to:

    City of Hamilton
    71 Main Street West, 7th Floor
    Hamilton, Ontario, L8P 4Y5
    Attention: Hazel Milsome, Co-ordinator of Urban Renewal Incentives
     
  3. You will need to pay the $519.80 administration fee when you submit your application.