Improving economy boosts Calgary’s retail sector

Calgary’s retail market is expected to remain vibrant over the next 12 months due to an improving economy and rising consumer confidence.

A report by Colliers International in Calgary says the shopping centre vacancy rate in the city is expected to drop slightly from 3.21 per cent to three per cent while streetfront vacancy rates are expected to stabilize and hover around the current rate of 5.75 per cent.

“We are still the number one province on a per capita retail (spending) basis by a significant amount above the national average,” said Robert Walker, senior vice-president/partner with Colliers International in Calgary. “That still shows me that despite the vast number of layoffs downtown, the people who are employed are still spending money.

“Our average weekly income is still the highest in the country by a longshot. So they’re still spending money.”

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StoneGate on arrival

New retail development to take shape near airport

A major regional shopping centre is being planned just north of Calgary’s airport, in a burgeoning district.

ONE Properties has plans to develop StoneGate Common as the retail portion of the overall StoneGate Landing project and turn it into a “signature” retail development that will serve northeast Calgary and the greater Calgary region from its location at 128th Avenue N.E. and Barlow Crescent.

StoneGate Landing, directly north of the airport, will include a 10-million-square-foot industrial park, a 2.5-million-square-foot suburban office development, hotels and auto dealerships on about 800 acres.

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Lots for lease

The suburban commercial real estate market has mostly avoided the high vacancy rates seen downtown, but levels are creeping upwards in suburban malls

The economic downturn of the past two years has had a widespread impact on Calgary’s retail sector with businesses in the core particularly hard hit.

Two years of a recession in 2015 and 2016 have taken their toll as thousands of people in the city’s central business district were victims of layoffs in the oil patch, which takes up the vast majority of space in the downtown office market.

With thousands of potential customers gone, retail stores and restaurants have felt the pinch.

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Sky rising

Is there a glimmer of hope in Calgary’s struggling downtown office market?

A new report by Avison Young suggests the market may be turning the corner following a brutal two years of ploughing through a recession.

The vacancy rate in the core was 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of the year, up from 17.6 per cent a year ago, but basically unchanged from year-end 2016.

“The first-quarter 2017 vacancy level actually represented positive news as the market took its first steps in halting its overall downward trend,” said the commercial real estate company.

Todd Throndson, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Calgary office, says the downtown office market appears to have hit a pause in its rising vacancy.

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Chinook Mall

Calgary mall makes top ten list

Destination malls like Chinook Centre provide more than just shopping

CF Chinook Centre in Calgary has made it on a list of the most productive shopping malls in Canada.

According to the recent Retail Council of Canada’s Canadian Shopping Centre Study, Chinook Centre was ranked seventh overall with sales per square foot of $1,057 for the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2016.

Paige O’Neill, general manager of Chinook Centre, says the local shopping centre has some key elements that contribute to its success.

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