Member News 2023

2023 News and updates from BOMA Edmonton members.

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
December 2023

BOMA Edmonton

  • A group of business organizations that included BOMA Edmonton released an open letter to council expressing concerns with the proposed tax increase. “Our message to the city council is all about balance. We’re pushing for smart investments and careful spending, aiming to boost Edmonton’s prosperity without burdening people with high taxes,” said Edmonton Chamber CEO Doug Griffiths. They argued the city should review its spending on agencies, boards, and commissions, and cancel capital projects that are not “aligned with core city needs.”

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Beyond Edmonton

  • “People are watching us from around North America, you know, from New York state to New Orleans to Los Angeles, who are just going into this work-from-home, high-vacancy phenomena,” said Greg Kwong, regional managing director in Alberta for CBRE Limited, in a Postmedia story about office conversions. “Hopefully we can be a shining star [and] provide some key performance metrics that are beneficial to other cities.”

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
November 2023

BOMA Edmonton

  • BOMA Edmonton and BOMA Calgary are working together to collect data about social disorder in their downtowns. “Maybe there’s something that we’ve done that you can learn from us, but we’re certainly here to learn from you,” BOMA Edmonton’s Lisa Baroldi told the recent BOMEX conference. “We’re in conversation with other BOMA local associations and BOMA Canada so that we can have national data to help with both advocacy and decision-making as we really take downtowns to the next level and revitalize.”
  • MNP shared its key takeaways from BOMEX Edmonton 2023, including what it will take to make sustainability the top priority in real estate and construction.

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Beyond Edmonton

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
October 2023

BOMA Edmonton

  • BOMA Canada president and CEO Benjamin Shinewald wrote in an op-ed ahead of BOMEX 2023 that “the crisis afflicting our cities’ cores is complex” and said “a whole-of-society approach, one that includes the private sector, civil society, and all levels of government” is needed. “Fuelled by its downtown, Edmonton is undeniably a city with momentum, but its ascendancy is being handicapped by the social fallout of the pandemic,” Shinewald wrote.
  • BOMA Edmonton president and CEO Lisa Baroldi spoke about the Alberta advantage in the latest edition of Business in Edmonton.

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Beyond Edmonton

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
September 2023

Mentions

Posts and Publications

WCB Alberta said that more than 10,000 Certificate of Recognition (COR) holders in Alberta shared over $78 million in Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) rebates for their 2022 performance. All employers can participate in the program and be eligible for refunds up to 20% by maintaining a COR, which is a part of WCB’s PIR program.

Beyond Edmonton

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
August 2023

Mentions

  • In a mandate letter to Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s minister of transportation and economic corridors, Premier Danielle Smith has asked for an exploration of “a province-led Metrolinx-like model for commuter rail service using heavy rail” that would initially connect the Edmonton International Airport with downtown, but could eventually be expanded to Calgary. The feasibility study will include the use of hydrogen-powered trains, which Canadian Pacific has been testing in Calgary and Edmonton.
  • The Edmonton Police Commission heard on July 20 that the Edmonton Police Service was involved in 18% fewer incidents of chasing suspect vehicles in 2022 than in 2021, and around 18% fewer incidents resulted in an arrest. Chief Dale McFee told reporters that the results point to the success of EPS’s prevention tactics, such as boxing in cars or deflating their tires, and emphasized the importance of the Air One helicopter in tracking vehicles and making arrests. He also said EPS is looking to acquire more drones for use in high-speed chases and asked the province for legislative changes to allow officers to seize vehicles that exceed the speed limit by 50 km/h.
  • The Edmonton Police Service and Alberta Motor Association are partnering with Kal Tire on a catalytic converter engraving program. Until Aug. 31, Edmontonians can have their vehicle’s catalytic converter engraved for $40 per vehicle and $20 for additional converters in the same vehicle. Each vehicle will get decals that state the converter is traceable, which police believe will deter thieves. Catalytic converter thefts in Edmonton increased more than 80% between 2020 and 2022.
  • According to the latest Consumer Debt Index from MNP, the proportion of Albertans concerned about their ability to pay their debts, especially as interest rates rise, has reached an all-time high. More than half (51%) of Albertans report that they are $200 or less away from being unable to meet all their financial obligations, up from 47% last quarter. Donna Carson, a licensed insolvency trustee for MNP, said Alberta is averaging 1,500 insolvencies a month in 2023.
  • Edmonton Unlimited has partnered with MNP to provide accounting expertise to entrepreneurs and innovators in Edmonton.
  • The City of St. Albert has installed 18 new electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city, funded mostly by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which is a collaboration between Alberta Municipalities, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the provincial government. Another six charging stations are expected to be unveiled alongside the reopening of Fountain Park Pool this summer.
  • Pattern Energy has selected Stantec as the owner’s engineer for the SunZia Transmission Project, which is “part of the largest clean energy infrastructure initiative in US history.” The project will deliver 3,000 megawatts of clean renewable energy to communities in Arizona and California.
  • Strathcona County council has approved all three readings of a bylaw to create new zoning districts for Bremner, which will allow Qualico Developments West to begin development. A similar bylaw was defeated on third reading in May when a Coun. Lorne Harvey changed his vote, but he flipped back in favour after a packed-to-overflowing public hearing on July 18.
  • Strathcona County council has agreed to submit a bid to host the 2026 Alberta Summer Games and to amend the operating budget for 2023 to cover the expected $1.9 million cost. “This is something that I am 100% on,” said Coun. Katie Berghofer, who tabled the motion. Mayor Rod Frank was the lone vote against, citing uncertain costs.
  • TC Energy is splitting into two separate companies, with its crude oil pipelines business being spun off. The decision comes after a two-year strategic review and is part of the company’s strategy to pursue faster growth and attract new investors in the natural gas and low-carbon sectors.
  • The University of Alberta has launched a new interdisciplinary research centre focused on water-related topics thanks to $1.4 million in seed funding from EPCOR. The new Water Research Centre will be led by director Mohamed Gamal El-Din, a professor in the Faculty of Engineering. “It’s not just about engineering and science. It also includes sociology, rural economy, Indigenous communities, and anything related to water across the entire university to cover a wide variety of water-related problems,” Gamal El-Din said.
  • A pilot project at the University of Alberta is growing spinach at EPCOR‘s kīsikāw pīsim solar farm to see whether land used for solar panels can also be used to grow crops, a practice known as agrivoltaics. It’s about “trying to use the space in a more efficient way,” soil scientist Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez told CBC. “We are able to combine the two efforts, the challenge of energy transition and the challenge of food security.”
  • West Edmonton Mall has welcomed four new African penguins, which relocated from the Vancouver Aquarium as part of an international breeding program intended to help endangered species. The African penguin has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2010. The mall now has 21 in its flock.
  • The average duration of claims with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta has risen from 34 days in 2015 to 63 days for the past two years, reports CBC.

Posts and Publications

Beyond Edmonton

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
July 2023

Mentions

  • The Edmonton International Airport will host the SMART Airports and Regions Conference and Exhibition from July 19 to 21. “With an annual economic output of over C$3.2 billion, YEG supports over 26,000 jobs, illustrating the success of YEG’s Airport City Sustainability Campus approach for diversifying the region’s economy, while leading technological innovation and supporting its sustainability pledge to become carbon neutral,” wrote conference chair Chris LeTourneur in a piece for Airport World.
  • The Downtown District Energy Initiative was endorsed during council’s executive committee meeting on June 23, giving the green light for EPCOR to design, build, finance, and operate the system. The first phase of the project will connect to three buildings but is expected to expand to about 50 buildings once fully operational. The system is “critical as part of our city’s efforts to be a net-zero community by 2050,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. Executive committee also approved an additional $7.7 million in funding for the system to address the project’s changing scope and inflation. The District Energy Building remains under construction at the Francis Winspear Centre of Music.
  • Corporate Knights has recognized Stantec as one of Canada’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens, ranking first in the engineering construction category and fifth overall. This is the 14th time Stantec has been included on the list.
  • The University of Alberta ranked 111th in the world and fourth in Canada in the 2024 QS World University Rankings. The institution ranked 68th worldwide in the international research network category, a new measure that looks at the number and diversity of productive research partnerships with other universities around the world.
  • West Edmonton Mall is the site of a new concept for Kate Spade, the first in Canada to showcase the New York-inspired design.

Lululemon said it will expand its store at West Edmonton Mall this year to more than 10,500 square feet. The location is said to be the top-selling outlet for the chain, which also announced it will close its store on Whyte Avenue.

Posts and Publications

TC Energy said its employees contributed nearly 3,000 hours of volunteer time in May for Mental Health Awareness Month, and the company matched employee donations to contribute more than $468,500 to 310 non-profit organizations across North America.

Beyond Edmonton

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
June 2023

Mentions

Posts and Publications

Beyond Alberta

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
May 2023

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Posts and Publications

Beyond Alberta

  • In 2022, GWL Realty Advisors celebrated the launch of three new residential buildings and the completion of a new state-of-the-art, 33-storey AAA office tower in downtown Vancouver. All its buildings are equipped with smart technology to deliver significant operational and energy-saving benefits. More information on how the company achieves “operational excellence” can be found in its Annual Review.

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
March 2023

Mentions

The Saville Community Sports Centre at the University of Alberta is getting six new year-round tennis courts. The university is one of four locations in Canada to receive funding for a year-round tennis facility through a partnership with Rogers Communications. A soil-turning ceremony was held March 7.

Posts and Publications

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
February 2023

Mentions

  • Global News featured Lauren Kennedy West, a mental health advocate and one of the winners of the Faces of Wellness 2022 grand prize from Alberta Blue Cross. The program received 350 applications from across the province in 2022, compared to 150 in 2021, the year it launched.
  • Englobe published a piece on the new Roxy Theatre, for which Arrow Engineering provided engineering services. “Rebuilding the Roxy Theatre was a significant undertaking requiring sophisticated engineering, and Arrow’s multidisciplinary team of mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineers welcomed the challenge,” the company wrote.
  • Edmonton City Centre, owned by Canderel Group, is losing another anchor tenant as Sport Chek plans to close on March 12. Coun. Anne Stevenson of Ward O-day’min said workers are starting to return downtown, but some businesses haven’t been able to hold on. “We need people in the core to be supporting stores, and we also need stores in the core to be attracting people, so I think right now we’re sort of seeing a bit of a mismatch,” she told Postmedia.
  • Edmonton CREW published a feature on Stefanie Orsini, a Senior Associate in the Retail Division at Cushman & Wakefield Edmonton. “We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of a feature like this!” the company expressed on LinkedIn.
  • A preliminary report from the Edmonton International Airport shows a major jump in passenger activity, with more than 5.8 million people arriving at or departing from the airport in 2022, up from around 2.8 million in 2021 when Canada still had significant travel restrictions. The number is still below the record-setting 8.1 million seen in 2019, however. The number of travellers between Canada and the United States was up 775% in 2022.
  • Plant Plus, which produces compostable straws using a novel plant-fibre polymer, is planning to boost production thanks to an upgraded facility at the Edmonton International Airport. The company, which moved to Edmonton from Vancouver, has been working with the Bio Processing Innovation Centre to explore using local crops in its alternative to paper or plastic straws.

Enterprise Square has been freshly renovated thanks to city investments aimed at revitalizing the downtown core. The University of Alberta is relocating more staff to the space, nearly doubling its occupancy, in a move intended to strengthen the university’s relationships with business, arts, and cultural communities and contribute to economic recovery. The space includes the UA Innovation Centre, which offers around 44,000 square feet of leasable office, classroom, and lab space and is home to 17 companies.

Posts and Publications

Beyond Alberta

Wendy Waters, vice president of research services with GWL Realty Advisors, appeared on a recent episode of Altus Group‘s podcast alongside Phil Stone, principal and head of Canadian research at BentallGreenOak (Canada) LP, to review the Canadian real estate market in 2022 and provide insight for 2023.

BOMA Edmonton Spotlight:
January 2023

Mentions

  • BOMA Edmonton, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP Edmonton, and the Urban Development Institute – Edmonton Metro issued a joint statement to raise “deep concerns” over city council’s budget deliberations. “The motions passed thus far scatter priorities and are not related to the core mandate of municipalities,” said Chamber CEO Jeffrey Sundquist on Dec. 13. City council approved the 2023-2026 budgets with a property tax increase of just under 5% in each of the next four years.
  • City council approved various changes to parking rates at city-run EPark stalls in an effort to raise an additional $1.4 million in annual revenue. Starting next year, rates at 92 high-demand EPark stalls will rise from $3.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour, the 30-minute grace period introduced during the pandemic will be reduced to 15 minutes, and some free parking will be cut. “In the last 20 years, transit fares have risen by about 75%, whereas parking fees have not significantly increased over that time,” said Ward Métis Coun. Ashley Salvador, who introduced the motion while acknowledging the changes “will probably not be super popular.”
  • Alberta Blue Cross and Alberta Innovates have formed a strategic partnership to connect employees with digital health solutions to help them manage mental health issues and chronic disease conditions. There are nearly 500,000 health-related digital tools on the market, creating an overwhelming choice for people seeking to improve their wellness. “This partnership will aid people in that search,” says the release.
  • Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) CTO Denise Man spoke with CIOReview about AIMCo’s new approach to technology and innovation. “I’m excited to use technology to help transform the organization, helping to make us smarter, nimbler, with data driven decisions, all to help our many clients meet their fiduciary responsibility to the people of Alberta,” Man said.
  • Higher-end spaces are doing better in Edmonton’s office market, reports Avison Young, noting a “gradual flight to quality benefitting Trophy and Class A properties.” Bell Tower and Baker Centre have seen increased activities since they were upgraded, the firm added.
  • The province announced the launch of the Affordable Housing Partnership Program, which will allow housing providers to apply for funding to support up to one-third of costs for construction, renovation, conversion, or redevelopment projects. Public, non-profit, and private housing providers are eligible to apply until Jan. 11. “These partnership commitments will assist Civida in building new mixed-income affordable housing and provide more housing options for Edmontonians who need it most,” said Civida CEO Gord Johnston. The program is part of the province’s 10-year affordable housing strategy, Stronger Foundations, which began in 2021.
  • The Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is looking forward to continued growth for its cargo business in 2023, even though it’s not a major contributor to its bottom line, because it’s important for the region, said Mammen Tharakan. “Cargo doesn’t buy coffees, park cars, or spend money at duty-free, so it doesn’t have the same revenue impact,” he told Taproot. “But our raison d’être is to drive economic prosperity for the region, and air cargo is a major contributor to that mission.”

Posts and Publications

Beyond Alberta

Pattison Outdoor Advertising has launched a $1 million media grant program to support non-profit and charitable organizations that promote diversity across Canada.