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Work starts on new bridge | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 00:00


Edmontonians living south of the North Saskatchewan River and working downtown will have a new bridge to drive across in early 2016, if all goes well.

After months of prep work, the City of Edmonton started construction in early July on the new $155 million Walterdale Bridge.

The arch bridge will be a landmark spanning the river and will carry three lanes of northbound traffic as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

It will replace the existing two-lane, century-old bridge that currently carries northbound commuters into the core.

The existing bridge will remain open during the 30-month construction phase for the new bridge, with some temporary or partial closures of connecting roads during the construction process.

Still, the city is warning motorists to expect delays, particularly during the peak of construction activities in the summer months.

from Western Investor September 2013

Airdrie building pushes $200M | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 00:00


City of Airdrie figures show the community was close to $200 million in building permits for the first half of 2013.

New-permit values hit $198.7 million, up over 23 per cent from 2012 and almost double the same period in 2011.

from Western Investor September 2013

Offices: Tale of two cities | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:00


Colliers International concludes in recent reports that the Edmonton and Calgary office markets are heading in different directions.

Calgary's downtown office market experienced net negative absorption for the second quarter of 2013 and its vacancy rate grew to 5.03 per cent, up from 4.35 per cent in the first quarter of 2013. It's a trend that started in 2012.

The best properties have only a 1.62 per cent vacancy rate, but that rate is 6.88 per cent for Class B office space.

In Edmonton the downtown office vacancy rate dropped to 9.53 per cent in the second quarter on the strength of 72,000 square feet of positive absorption.

from Western Investor September 2013

Fort Mac buying 55,000 acres | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:00


The provincial government is selling more land to accommodate new development in Fort McMurray.

The government recently announced it will sell about 55,000 acres around the oilsands capital to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which encompasses Fort McMurray.

The land would free up space for development east, west and south of the city.

"This is about creating an even better quality of life for residents of Fort McMurray, a thriving community that is expected to more than double in population by 2030," said Energy Minister Ken Hughes.

The long-awaited land is part of what's known as the urban development sub-region for Fort McMurray.

"It means stability in our housing market and a new world of business, cultural and recreational opportunities," said Fort McMurray Mayor Melissa Blake. 

from Western Investor September 2013

U of C sketches massive mixed "village" proposal | Print |  Email
Monday, 09 September 2013 00:00


U of C sketches massive mixed The University of Calgary's West Campus Development Trust has big plans for land on the western edge of its site.

Those plans, unveiled this summer after neighbourhood consultation, call for 6,500 multi-family homes in an urban village concept to be developed on land north of 16th Avenue and east of Shaganappi Trail.

The project would also include roughly 2 million square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of retail space within 15 minutes of Calgary's downtown.

While the trust wants to see development on the land, it's intending to lease the property for 99 years rather than sell it off.

The development lands encompass approximately 170 acres, stretching north to 32nd Avenue.

Residential neighbourhoods within the project are likely to have significant appeal for staff at two of the city's major employment clusters: the university itself and a large complex of health-care facilities and offices encompassing the Foothills Medical Centre just south of 16th Avenue. Foothills is the province's largest hospital. The project would also surround the Alberta Children's Hospital on three sides.

A separate developer is also poised to move forward in planning for the Stadium Shopping Centre project immediately north of Foothills Medical Centre on the north side of 16th Avenue. Western Securities owns the aging strip mall, which was developed in the 1960s on 6.1 acres. Calgary city council has approved a higher-density, mixed-use project that could include a major hotel.

"We are excited to be moving forward to the next stage of detailed development planning where we can use this blueprint to create a master plan for an innovative, dynamic area that will serve this area for years to come," said Mike Brescia, vice-president with Western Securities.

from Western Investor September 2013

B.C. real estate to be sold at unreserved auction | Print |  Email
Thursday, 22 August 2013 18:32
Four real estate parcels, including a Queen Charlotte fishing lodge, are to be sold an unreserved auction on September 4-5 in Edmonton by Ritchie Bros. Auctions.
Unreserved means the properties will be sold to the highest bidder, regardless of the price. "There are no minimum bids or reserve price," said Ritchie Bros. sales manager Jim Rotlisberger.
The properties are:
_ The 24-room Sandspit Adventures sports fishing lodge at Sandspit. Queen Charlotte Islands, which includes 6.8 acre site.
_ Two houses and a residential building lot, Sandspit.
_ Four residential building sites in Twin Bays Village, Kootenay Lake, near Creston, B.C. The lots will be auctioned individually.
_ A 1.3-acre residential property with a two-bedroom house and two outbuildings, Creston.
Bids will accepted online through
Edmonton permits soar as new bridge looms | Print |  Email
Sunday, 18 August 2013 17:47
City of Edmonton building permit values increased about 40 per cent for the first five months of 2013, hitting $1.90 billion. That figure is also up 67 per cent compared to the city's five-year average for the same period.
New work includes a $155 million bridge.
The biggest driver, in terms of percentage increase, for the city in 2013: institutional permits, which totaled about $500 million from January to May.
That said, residential permit values were also up 32 per cent, and cracked $1.06 billion.
Edmonton enjoyed a record month for permit values in March 2013, with the issuance of permits for $845.3 million in new construction in that month alone.
The downside in the city: industrial permit values are down about 82 per cent from 2012.
After months of prep work, the City of Edmonton started construction in early July on the new $155 million Walterdale Bridge.
The arch bridge will carry three lanes of northbound traffic as well as cyclists and pedestrians. It will replace the existing two-lane, century old bridge that currently carries northbound commuters into the core.
The existing bridge will remain open during the 30-month construction phase for the new bridge, with some temporary closures or partial closures of connecting roads during the construction process.
The numbers for August 2013 | Print |  Email
Thursday, 08 August 2013 00:00


Our monthly data showing leading trends affecting western real estate markets

To some, the 58-storey Bjarke Ingels Group-designed tower Telus announced last month for Centre Street and 7th Avenue SW in Calgary may be one more sign that the West has arrived.

But with 26 storeys of office space and 341 residential units on the upper 32 storeys - across the street, no less, from H&R REIT's equally towering Bow, with 58 storeys of office space - the tower is testimony to the appetite for office space in the city.

During the second quarter of 2013, Calgary's office market was the sole locale where vacancies dipped - sliding to 7.8 per cent from 8.1 per cent in the previous quarter. Vancouver held its own at 8.3 per cent; in the other markets Western Investor tracks, both office and industrial, vacancies rose.

What's happening in Calgary may be unique to Canada, but CBRE Ltd. noted that the phenomenon is playing out in Boston, Denver, Houston and Seattle, too. High-tech and energy are the sectors of the moment, driving leasing and overall economic activity as well as rents. Downtown Calgary saw occupancy costs rise 12 per cent in the first quarter, year-over-year, neatly sandwiched between the increase of 10.5 per cent posted in suburban Seattle and 14.9 per cent in downtown Houston.

Still, average net rents in Calgary and Western Canada remain low by global standards: $42 a square foot in downtown Calgary and $37 in downtown Vancouver compare favourably to US$96 a square foot in downtown San Francisco, US$120.65 a square foot in Midtown Manhattan or a startling $253 a square foot in in Hong Kong.

- Peter Mitham

From the Western Investor, August 2013

Brookfield building tallest Calgary office tower | Print |  Email
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 12:34
Brookfield Office Properties says it will soon begin construction of Calgary’s tallest office tower, a 56-storey high-rise that will anchor a block-big, 2.8 million-square-foot downtown development.
At 247 metres, Brookfield Place will represent the highest office building in Western Canada. It is to be complete in 2017, with construction to begin this September. The tower will stand taller than Calgary's The Bow, which is 236 metres high.
Cenovus Energy Inc. a leading Canadian oil company, has agreed to lease one million square feet in the first tower. A second 42-storey tower is proposed for the northwest corner of the site, with a three-storey, 50,000-square-foot transparent glass pavilion connecting the buildings for a pedestrian skywalk.
"I am very pleased to welcome this new and stunning addition to the dynamic Calgary skyline," said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "Brookfield and Cenovus are demonstrating their confidence in Calgary as an economic hub."
"Brookfield is thrilled to commence construction of Brookfield Place Calgary in the best-located parcel of undeveloped land in the city," said Jan Sucharda, president and chief executive officer of Brookfield Office Properties' Canadian commercial operations. "Cenovus Energy's long-term commitment to this development is an overwhelming positive for the Calgary office market and Brookfield specifically as we expand our relationship with this important player in the North American energy sector."
Calgary has a downtown office vacancy rate of 5 per cent, which is considered healthy.
In addition to Cenovus Energy's lease commitment, there are many large tenants in the market with leases expiring between 2015-2020, which would coincide with Brookfield Place Calgary's delivery date of 2017.
The entire project is expected to create 1,300 construction jobs, Brookfield estimates.
The development will be constructed to a high standard of sustainability and is expected to achieve the LEED Gold standard 
Brookfield is among Calgary's largest office landlords with a portfolio of 8 properties totaling 6.8 million square feet. Landmark assets include the Bankers Hall and Suncor Energy Centre complexes. Brookfield's Calgary portfolio is 99.7 per cent leased with an average lease term of 11.2 years.

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