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Posted by Jeff Robson on May 10, 2024
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Exploring the Pros and Cons of 2nd Generation Retail Spaces in Calgary, Alberta


In Calgary the retail landscape is constantly evolving, with new trends and innovations shaping the way businesses operate. One such trend that has gained traction in recent years is the repurposing of 2nd generation retail spaces. These spaces, which were previously occupied by other businesses, offer both opportunities and challenges for retailers looking to establish a presence in Calgary. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of 2nd generation retail spaces in Calgary.




Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of 2nd generation retail spaces is cost savings. These spaces often come equipped with existing infrastructure, such as HVAC systems, lighting, and plumbing, especially washrooms, which can reduce upfront renovation costs for new tenants. Additionally, landlords may offer competitive lease rates for these spaces, making them more affordable for retailers, particularly small businesses and startups.


Location: Many 2nd generation retail spaces are located in prime areas with high foot traffic, offering excellent visibility and exposure for businesses. This strategic location can attract more customers and drive sales, providing retailers with a competitive edge in the market. Moreover, established shopping districts in Calgary, such as 17th Avenue SW and Kensington, often have a mix of 2nd generation retail spaces available, providing a diverse range of options for prospective tenants.


Quick Occupancy: Unlike new construction, which can take months or even years to complete, 2nd generation retail spaces are typically ready for occupancy much sooner. This allows retailers to move in and start operating their businesses more quickly, generating revenue and serving customers without lengthy delays. For businesses looking to capitalize on seasonal trends or time-sensitive opportunities, the ability to occupy a space promptly can be a significant advantage.



Limited Customization: While existing infrastructure can be a cost-saving benefit, it may also limit the customization options available to retailers. For businesses with specific layout requirements or branding preferences, retrofitting a 2nd generation retail space to meet their needs can be challenging and may require compromises. This lack of flexibility could impact the overall aesthetic and functionality of the space, potentially affecting the customer experience.


Maintenance Issues: Older retail spaces may require more frequent maintenance and repairs, particularly if the previous occupants did not adequately maintain the property. This can result in unexpected expenses for tenants, ranging from minor repairs to major renovations. Additionally, outdated systems and equipment may be less energy-efficient, leading to higher operating costs over time. Retailers considering a 2nd generation space should carefully assess the condition of the property and factor potential maintenance expenses into their budget.


Permitting and Zoning Challenges: Depending on the intended use of the space and any proposed modifications, retailers may encounter permitting and zoning challenges when leasing a 2nd generation retail space. Changes to the layout or signage, for example, may require approval from local authorities, which can delay the opening of the business and add complexity to the leasing process. It’s essential for retailers to work closely with landlords, their designers and city officials to navigate these regulatory requirements effectively.


In conclusion, 2nd generation retail spaces in Calgary offer both advantages and disadvantages for retailers looking to establish or expand their presence in the city. While cost savings, prime locations, and quick occupancy are appealing benefits, retailers must also consider the limitations on customization, potential maintenance issues, and permitting challenges associated with these spaces. By carefully weighing the pros and cons and conducting thorough due diligence, retailers can make informed decisions that align with their business goals and objectives in Calgary’s dynamic retail market.


Let us help you navigate the pros and cons of 2nd generation spaces that may be ideal for your particular requirement.  You can reach out to us at either , 403-770-3071 or at 

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