An increasing number of tenants are looking to move retail ventures into the city, as retail sales in Alberta tipped $5.6 billion in June.
Jeff Robson, vice-president and associate broker with Barclay Street Real Estate Ltd. in Calgary, has seen Calgary rise up the ranks as a hot spot for commercial investing. “Where once we would have been overlooked in favour of three or four cities in Canada, now we’re considered a hot place to look,” he explains. “There’s a lot of pressure on good quality space from good quality tenants looking to expand (to Calgary).”
Calgary’s retail vacancy rate has been steadily declining since 2009, and currently sits at 1.9 percent. Robson predicts the boom in growth is expected to continue over the next five years. “I could see a million to two million square feet of inventory come online in the next three to five years based on the projects that are coming up, the tenants that are looking, whether it’s East Village, the west Beltline, east Beltline.”
William Van’t Veld, an economist with ATV Financial, explains that while consumer spending is important, business investments are the primary driver of Alberta’s economic development. “It should be noted that consumer spending in Alberta, while still very important, constitutes a much smaller proportion of economic activity than in other jurisdictions. That is to say, personal expenditures make up 60 per cent of Ontario’s economy and only 43 per cent of Alberta’s.”