Vacant Spaces Grant

The Vacant Spaces Grant is a pilot subsidy program designed to incentivize the development of a unique, well-invested downtown where people and businesses thrive. Up to $10,000 in rent is available for entrepreneurs to activate vacant street-level commercial spaces for retail, pop-ups and events.


  • Application deadline was September 1, 2023
  • Applicants were notified of a decision on or before September 15, 2023
  • Final grant reporting will be due March 31, 2024

Eligible applicants

  • Meet submission requirements (i.e. the application must be complete, received by the deadline, in the format required, etc.)
  • Contribute to the vision and goals outlined in the Downtown Activation Playbook (pdf).

Eligible projects

  • Demonstrate that the majority of those directly benefiting from the project are Red Deer residents 
  • Upload a balance sheet
  • Must be under way by December 31, 2023
  • Priority will be given to projects according to the following areas:
    • 50 Ave. between 48 and 53 St.
    • 49 St. between 48 and 50 Ave.
    • All other locations
  • Must support the following goals outlined in The City’s Downtown Activation Playbook:
    • Economy (A prosperous place to be): People and businesses thrive in downtown’s supportive economy. 
    • Vibrancy (A vibrant place to be): People visit the downtown to access the area’s high quality public spaces and appealing local businesses.

Examples of eligible projects may include: 

  • Retail, food & beverage and entertainment: independent bookstore, women’s boutique, menswear, Turkish restaurant, convenience store, arcade, etc.

Ineligible projects

  • Major structures and/or renovations to structures that are not moveable or removable. 
  • Any costs incurred prior to receiving the grant are ineligible.
  • Duplication of funding already provided by The City of Red Deer or from Bid Red Deer submissions.

Eligible Expenses: 

  • Grants may be used for up to 50% of rent costs for first 3-6 months to a maximum of $10,000.

Ineligible Expenses: 

  • Expenses for projects already underway. No retroactive funding will be considered. 
  • Project expenses already covered through other City funding 
  • Major structures and/or renovations to major structures that are not moveable or removable
  • Capital purchases such as office equipment and furniture
  • Any expenses not directly related to the project
  • Lobbying, advocacy or fundraising activities
  • Further disbursement of funds as grants to a third-party recipient

Community Development will consider appeals only in instances where the appellant believes there has been an error in fact or in process in the handling of their submission. Disagreement with a final funding decision in itself does not warrant an appeal. To make an appeal, complete your appeal based on an error in fact or in process and submit it to