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Red Deer ideal for co-working as landlords repurpose space

Growing opportunities on the Prairies as IWG aims to double its network in Canada
IWG has inked a deal for a new Regus co-working space in Red Deer, meaning workers in the city can avoid the commute to offices in Edmonton or Calgary.

IWG continues its expansion in Western Canada with the announcement of a new shared workspace in a Red Deer heritage building formerly home to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“The pipeline of opportunity across Alberta, Saskatchewan and then Manitoba continues to grow because, frankly, the vacancy rates continue to increase and building owners are really trying to ascertain how to pivot their building, and in fact how you bring some life into the building,” Wayne Berger, CEO of Americas, IWG plc said.

A two-storey building at 4909 50th Street in Red Deer where IWG is setting up its first co-working location in Alberta outside Calgary and Edmonton is a case in point.

Built in 1951 and occupied by a succession of federal government tenants beginning with the post office and most recently the Canada Revenue Agency, it sold in 2022 after four years on the market. Canada Revenue Agency staff had moved out in 2020, underscoring the shift in office use ushered in by the pandemic, and East Lincoln Properties Corp. was looking for a creative solution.

“A hybrid environment can allow businesses to be more agile as needs change and affords more flexibility for employees,” Tanya Kure, director of property development with East Lincoln said in a statement, noting that the former government building is ideally located to provide satellite offices to the city’s new justice centre and expanding hospital.

The new location will operate under the Regus banner when it opens early next year. It will offer 10,178 square feet of space on the top floor, with a variety of configurations including private offices and meeting rooms. IWG is the first co-working provider to serve the city.

IWG says co-working space fills a need in Red Deer, located midway between Calgary and Edmonton but with a population that doesn’t necessarily want to commute to either city in the new hybrid work environment.

“People do not want to carry out lengthy commutes, and no city is really immune to that,” Berger said. “That’s why Red Deer is such an important strategic market for us to continue to grow in.”

IWG has been strategically matching brands to market, announcing the launch of its HQ and Spaces brands in Edmonton earlier this year and plans for an additional Regus location in Calgary. It’s been actively seeking locations in communities such as Red Deer, Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, Brandon and Portage la Prairie for additional locations as part of its expansion into secondary communities attractive to workers on account of their lower housing costs and quality of life.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen demand for our space increase 30 per cent. And it’s not just in the traditional markets that we used to serve, but also in new markets,” Berger said earlier this year.

The latest announcements put IWG on track for more than 30 locations on the Prairies by the end of the year.

“These new centres perform very well from opening because it’s now giving those residents choice to work differently,” Berger said. “There’s a real new normal now that’s taking place today, where companies and people continue to embrace hybrid working.”

Berger said the announcement in Red Deer will be followed in the next 30 days by several other announcements as IWG aims to double its locations in Canada to 250 by 2026.