BIA Expansion

Marda Loop BIA is growing

The Marda Loop BIA is expanding to better support and involve businesses in the Marda Loop business district. The proposed Expansion Area would include about a dozen new businesses, most of which are in the new Harrison building at 33rd Avenue and 18th Street, just east of our current boundary.


History of growth

Since Marda Loop was first established in 1984, as one of Calgary’s first “BRZs”, the businesses of Marda Loop have worked together to promote and grow the area into the successful business district and asset to the community that it is today. Founded by 72 original businesses, the Marda Loop BIA has more than 170 businesses today. In case you are wondering, the Marda Loop name comes from a contest conducted by the new business organization to brand the area.

The boundaries of the BIA (it stands for Business Improvement Area – changed from Business Revitalization Zone/BRZ a few years ago) have changed a couple of times before to accommodate growth. It expanded significantly in 2000 to include the new Garrison Gate/Safeway development, and in 2017 the boundary changed to include the businesses of Avenue 33 at the corner of 33rd Avenue and 19th Street, and the Marda building at 34th Avenue and 20th Street.

What’s being proposed?

The new Expansion Area extends the BIA east, to 17th Street, to include businesses in the new Harrison building, in the future Sarina 1900 development at the NE corner of 33rd Avenue and 19th Street, and a few other businesses in converted houses. The Expansion Area also includes some areas on the south side of 34th Avenue that are not already in the BIA: This is to “smooth out” our southern boundary, enable the BIA to better manage things like banners and street furniture on both sides of avenue, and to accommodate future commercial conversions on our southern edge without the need to again go through this expansion process.

What’s the process?

Expansion is a formal process managed by The City of Calgary, which will be sending area businesses information at the end of August. Businesses and members of the public will have the opportunity to support or object to the proposed expansion – both directly to the BIA, and to The City and Council. The proposed expansion will go to a Public Hearing of City Council on October 3, 2023 where people can speak. City Council will make the final decision.  (Update: Expansion was approved by unanimous vote of Council)

What’s happened so far?

The Marda Loop BIA has engaged many of the new businesses in the Expansion Area in our communications, promotion and programming since the fall of 2022. This includes listing on our website, profile in our social media and email newsletter campaigns, and being part of promotions like our Marda Card gift card and holiday Gift Guide, and participating in events like Spook the Loop, Eggfest, and the Marda Gras Street Festival. The BIA will continue to talk to the businesses directly about formally joining the BIA in August, September and October. If we haven’t talked to you, send an email to and we’ll set something up.


In addition to being part of Marda Loop marketing efforts listed above, BIA members participate in BIA decision making, including voting at the Annual General Meeting and being eligible to join the elected Board of local business members that runs the BIA. Members also contribute to the business levy (the BIA Tax) that goes 100% to fund the BIA’s local improvement and marketing efforts. To learn more about the Calgary BIAs, check out this City webpage.  For more information on the Marda Loop BIA check out or this introduction (PDF).

The BIA Tax (we prefer the term Levy) is set by the Board of business members annual to pay for BIA operations. The cost is divided among all the area businesses proportionate to an Assessment of each business made by the City’s tax department. Factors that go into the Business Assessment include square footage, age and type of property. Here is a link to the City’s Business Valuation Methodology (PDF). Like property tax assessments, business assessments can be appealed. You can learn more about the BIA Tax and Assessments here.

In 2023 the Marda Loop BIA levy was $220,000, about 2.6% of assessment value. Our ten-year average is 2.5%, the lowest year being 2.1% and the highest being 2.8%. The levy “mill rate” is affected primarily by the size of the revenue ask, the number of businesses sharing the load, and the pace of openings and closings. In 2023, the average levy bill was $1,380/year or $115/month, and the median bill was $901/year or $75/month. The biggest bill was $15,127/year or $1261/month (our biggest supermarket) and the smallest bill was $21/year or $1.74/month (a professional office in a converted house).


There is no change. The Expansion only applies to business other than home-based businesses, and does not change any zoning or land use planning documents. The area remains part of the Marda Loop Communities Association.

Thank you!

The Board of the Marda Loop BIA invites all area businesses to support this modest expansion of Marda Loop business district. Help us to continue Marda Loop’s legacy as one of Calgary’s pioneer BIAs, and premier business communities, in the growing heart of southwest Calgary.

Note that this page may be updated with new information and in response to questions received. For more information, to discuss the proposal or to learn more about the work of the BIA, contact Bob van Wegen, Executive Director at

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