Blair Sinclair isn’t listening to all of the bearish bluster about Saskatoon’s downtown office vacancy numbers.
The executive vice-president of investments and development at Triovest in Calgary is going full speed ahead with the first phase of a project that will transform Saskatoon’s skyline.
Work has already begun on a 20-storey condominium tower and a 155-room Alt Hotel, which are slated to open in 2019. Construction of a 13-storey office tower is set to begin this summer.
Numerous reports have pegged the city’s downtown office vacancy rate at 16 per cent, but Sinclair said when you dig down into the numbers it’s just 6 per cent on Class A product, which he said does not constitute a glut of office space.
“That equates to 60,000 square feet and none of it is contiguous,” he said.
Much of the city’s Class A market is 40 years old at least. Today’s tenants are looking for high-quality space with industry-leading heating and ventilation systems and an efficient floor plate, he noted.
“For today’s office user, the design is exponentially different from what they’re used to in the past. These older buildings can’t meet those standards,” he said.
Plans for a second office building – 22 storeys with 300,000 square feet of space – will be put in motion once sufficient pre-leasing levels have been met, Sinclair said.
Should it go ahead, it would become the tallest building in the province.
“We think it’s the right size for the market at the right time,” Sinclair said.