“Patience” was the overall theme of this year’s Real Estate Leasing Conference, held at the Telus Convention Centre last Tuesday. The conference started with an economic outlook presented by Randy Ollenberger, of BMO Capital Markets. One interesting take away from Randy’s presentation was that Calgary has experienced seven economic downturns since 1980. Average number of days our great city has stayed in a downturn is 227. As of June 2nd, we were at day 141 of this most recent decline. So, with a ways to go, plus expressed uncertainty of a new NDP government in Alberta – patience will be required when it comes to what lays ahead.
Real estate professionals invited to present at the conference recognize the influx of sublease space on the market (and the reduction of companies looking to fill those vacancies) and are encouraging building owners and managers to take this time to focus on their tenants in addition to investing to re-position their assets in the market. With 7 new buildings totaling 4 million square feet coming on stream in the next 3 years, low A to C class buildings in Calgary will have to make improvements to their buildings in order to remain competitive in this growing market. These investments will help “future-proof” yourself for when this happens again, and every Calgarian knows, this will happen again.
Despite the declining market, the whole conference wasn’t “doom and gloom”. Over the lunch hour, a keynote presentation was given by Simon O’Byrne, Vice President, Planning Community Development, from Stantec. Simon delivered an inspiring and motivating address focused on how Calgary’s downtown can go from good to great with some simple additions to our current public spaces. He showed attendees how these simple changes can help shed a more positive light on the city – in all seasons.
In all the conference was a success for all who attended. Valuable information and insight as to what the leasing market is currently experiencing and how everyone, from building owners, managers, and tenants can continue to be strategic in the market, even under its current conditions.
Leah Stewart, Sizeland Evans
Submitted on behalf of the BOMA Communications Committee