This year, the retail sector appeared to be the primary area of interest for Western Investor readers looking for news on the Saskatchewan and Manitoba commercial real estate markets. The oil recession affected the two Prairie provinces’ markets as it did Alberta, but consumer support and some new additions to the retail arena bolstered market conversation.
Here is our first annual countdown of our five most-read Saskatchewan and Manitoba stories in 2016.
A series of store closures in Winnipeg caused the city’s retail vacancy rate to rise to its highest level since the early 2000s, Western Investor contributor Geoff Kirbyson reported in July. Despite glaring vacancies at Winnipeg’s second biggest mall, there were two large retail developments underway in the city at press time.
A high vacancy rate didn’t stop owners of a Winnipeg shopping mall from scheduling a full-scale makeover. Landlords are preemptively avoiding a potential loss of tenants but upgrading existing spaces as vacancies rates in the city expected to grow.
In contrast to Winnipeg, this article out of Saskatoon reported a boom in Saskatoon’s retail sector. A new addition to a shopping centre in the city was 97 per cent leased when the article was published and the market was doing well as compared to office and industrial sectors.
In November, the Scotiabank building sold for $18 million after being on the market just three weeks. Investor interest from across the country showed readers that Saskatoon’s real estate market is on solid ground.
Manitoba takes the top story in our duel-province category with the opening of another supermarket chain. This fall, three Save-on-Foods stores opened in the city, giving Winnipeg consumers a new choice in grocery shopping.