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Industrial strata units win converts in Calgary

Purchasing, not leasing, space is making sense for business owners in Alberta city
Core Business Park
Core Business Park, Calgary, has sold 60 per cent of its industrial condos. | PC Urban Properties Corp.

Dan Lim, owner of Incredible Florist, is glad he was among those who bought an industrial condo in Calgary for his wholesale flower business.

It makes sense, said the long-time city resident whose company supplies clients throughout southern and central Alberta.

“I thought of all the dollars I had spent leasing over the years,” Lim said of his decision to purchase two units in the Core Business Park. Lim paid from $205 to $210 per square foot for the near 10,000-square-foot space he bought in July 2018 and May of this year.

“Calgary real estate prices don’t boom like in Vancouver,” Lim said, “but prices will at least hold,” adding that stability, and freedom from rent increases, was worth the investment. 

Vancouver developer PC Urban Properties Corp. created the Core Business Park in Calgary two years ago when it converted a 111,000-square-foot industrial building to industrial strata. 

Completed this spring, the building is 60 per cent sold.

The new condo space comes with loading bays, high-capacity power, modern lighting and 18-foot ceilings and, Lim noted, the 5.7-acre site is within 10 minutes of downtown Calgary and has easy highway access. 

Limited supply

Core Business Park is one of very few commercial condo conversions in the Alberta city. 

“There’s a very limited supply of inner-city resale [industrial] condos in Calgary,” said Sean Ferguson, an industrial specialist with Cushman & Wakefield. “Most is either newly developed and sold as a shell, without an office, or on the periphery of the city.”

“This is a rare opportunity for businesses to invest in their own commercial property in Calgary,” said Brent Sawchyn, principal at PC Urban. “It’s a move many businesses are ready to take.”

The new Calgary Business Park in northeast Calgary also offers industrial condos, with spaces starting from 1,701 square feet, according to agents at JLL. 

The concept is also gaining ground in Edmonton, where 39 industrial condos were sold in the first half of this year at an average price of $212 per square foot for a total sales volume of $25.9 million, reported Network Real Estate Intelligence.