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Sep 22, 2015
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The clock is ticking for developer John Day and his plans to build a slender new residential tower near the Alberta legislature.

For the second time this fall, council included a sunset clause on a new zoning permit. The extra 15 storeys council granted Monday is only good for 10 years, bringing the tower to 29 storeys. If he hasn’t started construction when the clock runs out, zoning rules revert to the 50-metre height limit previously in place.

It’s similar to the seven-year sunset clause council gave new zoning for the Healy Ford site, whereRise Real Estate plans to build three towers.

“This is an important provision,” said Coun. Scott McKeen, defending the time limit and asking administration to come back with a policy that could apply similar sunset clauses to future rezoning applications throughout the downtown core.

Full Story
It’s the end of an era for Jasper Avenue — and one that leaves a big gaping hole on Edmonton’s main drag.

This week, City TV will do its last broadcast from its studios in Enterprise Square, a.k.a. the old Hudson’s Bay building.

Rogers Communications is moving all its broadcast properties, including City, World FM and Omni, from the downtown to its studios on Gateway Boulevard and 59th Avenue.

Full article (Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal)
Downtown Edmonton needs at least four more major grocery stores to serve its growing population, says a new study.

The city’s urban core bounded by 107th Avenue, the Quarters, the North Saskatchewan River and 124th Street are served by only three major food retailers — Lucky 97 in Chinatown; Save-On-Foods at 109th Street and Safeway on 104th Avenue, said Grocery Stores in Canadian Urban Centres, a study by the University of Alberta’s School of Retailing. The study examined grocery store coverage in seven Canadian cities.

“One thing that we found in general is to make an urban area truly walkable and truly urban, grocery stores are often ideally within 500 metres of a person’s residence,” said Craig Patterson, the school’s head of applied research.

“That’s roughly a five-minute walk and if you make it more than that, people are going to be inclined to use their cars.”

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
Myriam Melsan Touré has a bold, possibly delicious dream for a beloved but abandoned Edmonton landmark.

Not only does she and three partners — who like Touré are recent immigrants to the city from Paris — want to preserve and transform the Canada Permanent Building into a hub for all things French, they want to do it with flair.

And they want to do it with the community's backing.

The group has created a Kickstarter campaign for their project, The French Square, aimed at raising $100,000 for their hope to build a place that promotes "French art de vivre."

But there's more to it, Touré said.

"The Kickstarter is to create community awareness," she said, noting the main financial backing for the group's ideas is from within. "We want to have the community commitment into the project. That will give us the assurance that the community is on board with us."

If realized, The French Square will see four levels of all things Parisian in the heart of the city: A bakery and café on the first floor, a wine cellar and fine-goods store on the second, a French bistro on the third and a rooftop terrace on, well, the roof.

Touré said the group hopes to open by early 2017.

Full Story (Metro Edmonton)

This is great for the City -- ideal reuse for a substantial historical building! Also @Daveography, I wanted to share a proposal that we have in the works for Old Strathcona -- talking about iconic structures. The process is s-l-o-w going because negotiations between the CPR and City are moving at a snail's pace. Anyway, here is what we have in mind --


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Edmonton’s downtown building boom should make it easier for companies to attract young skilled employees to the city, a real estate investment specialist says.

Many millennials — generally considered to be people in their 20s and 30s — want to work in interesting surroundings rather than just going to a job, Chris Nasim, vice-president of asset management for GWL Realty Advisors, said Thursday.

When his company tried to hire staff from the University of Alberta a few years ago, most graduates wanted to go to Calgary instead, he told an Edmonton Real Estate Forum seminar.

But that should change if they can work in one of the new office towers going up in the Ice District, live in a nearby condo and make use of other downtown developments, Nasim said.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
A week after closing the biggest deal in his company’s 62-year history, Stantec CEO Bob Gomes should have some interesting insights to share Thursday when he addresses the downtown business association’s annual spring luncheon.

Stantec’s $1-billion acquisition of Colorado-based water infrastructure specialist MWH Global expands the Edmonton-based engineering giant’s staff to roughly 22,000 people, and its corporate footprint to more than 25 countries.

With a market value of more than $3 billion, Stantec is Edmonton’s most valuable publicly traded company. In 2018, when it moves into its new downtown headquarters in the city’s burgeoning Ice District, Stantec will have the splashy digs to match

The latest to make the move: MCW Hemisphere, which expects to relocate its 70-person local staff to the 24th floor of the ATB Place tower (formerly Telus Plaza) in September.

MCW Hemisphere was formed in January, when Toronto-based MCW Consultants, a 500-person firm with offices from coast to coast, acquired Edmonton-based Hemisphere Engineering.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
One of North America’s biggest downtown building booms continues to push Edmonton skyward despite the sag in oil prices that has walloped Alberta’s economy.

Projects worth more than $3 billion are planned or underway in central Edmonton, from MacEwan University’s $180-million Centre for Arts and Culture in the west to the $45-million Hyatt Place Edmonton nearing completion in the east side Quarters district.

But the growth spurt is centred on the Ice District, the collection of condos, office towers, shops and, of course, an arena taking shape on about 10 hectares of former parking lots.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
“We’re in for an interesting ride in the office market here.”

That’s the assessment of David Young, executive vice-president and Edmonton managing director with CRBE Ltd.

Assessment? More like an ironic understatement.

Edmonton is about to see two big new downtown office complexes open: the Kelly Ramsey project in Rice Howard Way and the Edmonton Tower in Ice District. They’re the first two new towers in the downtown proper in decades.

A third skyscraper, the Stantec Tower, is under construction.

But they were all planned when things were booming. Now, with oil prices in the cellar, there are plenty of people worried about the possibility of an office glut.

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)
The provincial government will be moving 450 of its employees from their current offices on newly refurbished Capital Boulevard — and at least half of those employees will be relocated outside of downtown.

The decision, which will result in 130,000 square feet being added to Edmonton’s growing downtown vacancy problem, is frustrating some commercial landlords.

“We’ve just got some vibrancy here,” said Percy Woods, president of the Edmonton Building Owners and Managers Association, referring to the new uptick in downtown’s vibe.

“We’re just getting things going and the government says we’re gone,” he said, noting a vibrant downtown benefits all parts of a city and boosts its global image. “Government should be downtown to support the vibrancy of downtown.”

Full Story (Edmonton Journal)

Ugh. Terrible timing, and hugely short-sighted move.
Start-ups pounce on TEC Edmonton office space
You may not know Good Glucos now but Edmonton entrepreneur Elliot Gatt hopes that changes soon.

Describing the health start-up as “the Dollar Shave Club-slash-Tom’s shoes of diabetic test strips,” Gatt, 33, is one of the tenants of TEC Edmonton’s new downtown co-working space for daring new tech companies on the rise.

“We hope to be that company people in Edmonton recognize and talk about,” said the young executive.

Good Glucos, which launched in January around the same time TEC’s co-working space on Jasper Avenue opened, works by offering diabetics test strips at a reduced price: $45 a month, instead of an average of $80 elsewhere.
Councillor launches counter effort to keep Dynalife downtown
Against a backdrop of rising vacancy rates, Edmonton’s downtown councillor is struggling to keep a major employer from relocating.

Dynalife, a health diagnostics lab with more than 500 employees, will be part of the new provincial super lab meant to serve the Edmonton region and northern Alberta.

Coun. Scott McKeen is worried that might pull Dynalife out of the Manulife 2 downtown building when Edmonton’s main business district can ill afford more vacancy. He brought that concern to Alberta’s health minister last week and filed notice he wants city staff to outline just what losing 500 employees would mean to the local economy.

Council is expected to vote on his request for a report at the next council meeting.

“If the province is serious about moving 500 employees out of the downtown, the citizens deserve the right to know,” said McKeen, arguing the province needs to be involved in building a concentrated employment hub because it’s good for its capital city.

A concentrated employment hub makes quality transit possible and, when combined with people living in the area, creates vibrancy to support arts, culture and local business.

City officials need to gather the data to make a convincing case on this, said McKeen, “so we can put up a fuss before it happens.”

It’s not the first wave of provincial employees looking at relocation. Last October, commercial landlords raised the alarm after the province decided to pull 390 employees from downtown, mainly out of the Centre West building on Capital Boulevard (108 Street).

Commercial landlords were worried because vacancy rates were already at 13 per cent. Now vacancy rates are at 18 per cent downtown, partly because city employees consolidated into the new Edmonton Tower near Rogers Place.

The Westin Hotel in downtown Edmonton is up for sale. Jan. 31, 2018.
Wes Rosa, Global News

Three Westin hotels across Canada are being put on the market, including the high-rise in downtown Edmonton.

Cushman and Wakefield has been hired to sell the Westin hotels in Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary, the real estate company confirmed.

“The hotels are managed by Marriott Hotels and branded as Westins and that will not change under new ownership,” Curtis Gallagher, vice president of hotel investments for Cushman and Wakefield said in a statement to Global News.
July 2017 / October 2018
Couldn't find anything in the forum about the Canada Permanent Building, but walked by it today and saw all new windows which really bring that building back to life. There was a post on reddit from a year ago saying that the owner was restoring the interior for commercial use but no clear intended use. Has anyone heard anything recently?


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The net effect of all Stantec Tower’s tenant movement on Edmonton’s downtown market will be 91,000 sf of positive absorption. As a result from the recent construction of three new office towers within the past three years – Enbridge Centre, Edmonton Tower and Stantec Tower – the resulting increases in vacancy will essentially serve as the high-water mark going forward. For the foreseeable future, there will not be any significant additions to the office inventory. With modest growth from office tenants, we predict vacancy rates will gradually decline over the next 24 months. However, there will be continued downward pressure on rental rates for lower tier buildings.