Alberta Blue Cross has launched its own flight delay service powered by Blink Parametric, enabling policyholders to register for flight delay coverage up to one hour ahead of their departure time. “This is an exciting move with Alberta Blue Cross and we are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Blue Cross across Canada,” said Blink Parametric CEO Sid Mouncey.
Edmonton has moved up three spots from last year to place 35th on CBRE‘s Scoring Tech Talent report, based on an analysis of labour market conditions, cost, and quality of highly skilled tech workers in North America. It ranked seventh among Canadian locations.
Edmonton’s industrial market is “red hot with low vacancies,” according to a report from Business in Edmonton Magazine. Demand for industrial space has been growing thanks to continued investment in the region and rising WTI crude oil prices. “Our challenge in the industrial market is just pure supply. There’s not a lot,” explained David Young of CBRE.
Marvin Schmidt, a senior wealth advisor with CIBC in Edmonton, is building dozens of schools in Guatemala. “Our mission to simplify the wealth of our clients exists alongside our social mission to change lives one school at a time,” he said.
Edmonton’s downtown office vacancy rate has risen more than 2% over the past year, reaching 19.2% by the end of June, according to the latest office market report from Colliers International. That’s up from 18.5% at the end of the first quarter and is the highest rate since 1986.
The RiverWatch Institute of Alberta is once again offering its interpretive rafting tours, called Eco Floats, funded by EPCOR. This year, the guided experience begins at the Laurier Park Boat Launch and ends at Dawson Park, passing under nine bridges and past well-known sites like Accidental Beach. “It’s a little bit of a historical view of the city,” said guide River Hoffos, “but it’s also just an enlightening view of the city because you start to realize how much green we have and how beautiful our river valley is.”
P.F. Chang’s has officially opened in Windermere, the American chain’s third location in Canada. “We are thrilled that they have chosen our development for their first location in Alberta, and we know that this will be a one-of-a-kind culinary experience that will attract visitors not only from our city but our entire province,” said Tony Prsa, vice president of Alberta for Harvard Developments.
JLL‘s vice president of retail Paul Raimundo spoke with Retail Insider about Edmonton’s struggling downtown retail sector. “Going forward, there is some really good momentum in downtown in general,” he said. “As we turn the corner at the end of summer, I fully anticipate a much stronger fall as it relates to consumers in the downtown core.”
MacEwan University‘s growing enrolment is good news for downtown, says president and vice-chancellor Annette Trimbee in an op-ed for Postmedia. “Our grads become the business and community leaders who are building a more diverse and resilient future for Edmonton and Alberta,” she wrote. MacEwan plans to increase the size of its student body by 60% over the next 10 years.
Backwoods Energy has announced a partnership with Carvel Electric to “better provide local companies with a greater array of services, backed by solid performance in each area.” Both companies are Indigenous-owned. “The Backwoods Energy Services and Carvel Electric partnership is the future of thriving Indigenous partnerships,” said Carvel president and CEO Jordan Jolicoeur.
TC Energy said the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink project is approximately 70% complete. The project is now expected to cost $11.2 billion, a 70% increase from the original estimate. “I want to reaffirm that we continue to see the Coastal GasLink project as economically viable and we anticipate mechanical in-service by the end of 2023, followed by commissioning and commercial in-service,” said CEO Francois Poirier.
The Globe and Mail took a look at the upgrades landlords are making in downtown office buildings to compete with the new towers sprouting up around Rogers Place. “We’re seeing a flight to quality, to new products that have state-of-the-art HVAC and mechanical systems, larger floor plates and offer lifestyle and amenity-rich environments and social hubs,” said Mark Hartum of Avison Young principal.
Commerce South Office Park – Building B, which is owned and managed by BentallGreenOak, was recognized as a leader in energy efficiency by ENERGY STAR Canada. It was named a “building of the year” in the office category for existing commercial and institutional buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency.
The Edmonton Police Service is asking businesses and homeowners to voluntarily register the location of security cameras in a new program called Public Camera Registry. “Residential and business security cameras often record evidence that can be used to investigate and, in many cases, solve a crime,” Sgt. Blake Schols said in a news release. “By choosing to register their home or business cameras, not only will citizens contribute to the enhanced safety of their community, but they will help reduce the time required for officers to complete an investigation by assisting in the identification of individuals involved in a crime.”
Qualico Properties celebrated the beginning of Phase 2 of the Station Lands project, which will bring a new tower and 600 residential units to downtown Edmonton. The groundbreaking was welcomed by Holly Mah, chairwoman of the Chinatown Business Association. “The investments being made here at Station Lands by Qualico and their partners is such an important signal of their belief in the future of this historically and culturally rich part of Edmonton,” she said.
Qualico Properties held a grand opening on June 21 for Maskêkosihk Trail, a newly completed two-kilometre stretch of arterial road that is the first major roadway in the city to be given a Cree name. “Renaming this significant roadway in honour of the Cree First Nations is a show of respect and acknowledgement for the fact that we are creating new communities on Treaty 6 Territory,” the company said in a news release.
A new report published by the Business Council of Alberta recommends that Alberta become a global leader in carbon capture and storage, expand the use of new innovations in agriculture, and invest more in health and medical care advancements. Solving global challenges related to energy, food security, and wellness could lead to a more prosperous future for the province. Rohit Group of Companies president Rohit Gupta was a member of the executive task force that guided the project.
The University of Alberta has launched Braiding Past, Present and Future — the school’s first formally endorsed Indigenous strategic plan — which aims to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s calls to action and bring Indigenous worldviews, histories, and knowledge to all its programs, Postmedia reports. “The plan recognizes our collective responsibility to acknowledge our history and to honour those who came before us and to follow the seven sacred teachings — love, respect, honesty, courage, wisdom, and humility,” wrote Florence Glanfield, the first vice-provost of Indigenous programming and research, who led the creation of the plan in consultation with an Indigenous Advisory Council.
Several Entuitive team members spoke with UrbanToronto.ca about the company’s work on the Port Lands bridges, described as “perhaps the most innovative and arresting architectural pieces to adorn the waterfront in decades.”
A deal leasing 548,000 square feet in APEX Business Park to MTE Logistix is Edmonton’s largest industrial lease of 2022 and one of the city’s top five largest-ever in a speculative build. “Closing such a sizeable deal before a facility is even built sends a strong signal that growth is coming from within the Edmonton market as well as from groups outside,” said Rob Iwaschuk of Avison Young.
Edmonton’s Revillon Boardwalk Building is in the midst of a major redevelopment that will update the historic building with modern amenities and a sleek facelift. “The Revillon Boardwalk has been a hidden gem in the middle of downtown for decades,” said CBRE Edmonton sales representative Ryan O’Shaughnessy. “Now it’s being polished and getting ready for primetime.” The project is expected to be substantially completed later this year.
The Edmonton Public Library has launched a new pilot program called Ready. Set. READ! to support childhood literacy in 2,000 families across 13 neighbourhoods. The program, which delivers one book a month to participating children up to the age of five, costs $660,000 over five years to run, CTV News reports.
EPCOR‘s solar farm in the river valley has been named kīsikāw pīsim, Cree for “daylight sun.” Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation said the name was determined during a pipe ceremony earlier this year.
Canadian Lawyer featured Jennifer Addison for her work on building and leading the sustainability strategy for EPCOR. “We’re striving for environmental stewardship, and improving the quality of life for our communities,” Addison said.
A community rally held in support of the Edmonton Oilers last month during the Battle of Alberta turned Churchill Square into a sea of orange and blue. “The city has been absolutely electric,” said Oilers Entertainment Group communications and gaming executive vice president Tim Shipton. “We can feel it every single day. The team can feel it. The passion that exists in the city for the Oilers.”
Several participants in the recent Edmonton Real Estate Forum suggested that improving Edmonton’s 19.8% office vacancy rate, the second-highest rate in Canada, requires focusing on social problems impacting downtown such as homelessness, poverty, and mental health issues. ONE Properties president and CEO Darren Durstling said there’s still confidence in class-A and class-AAA properties. “Where we see demand for office in Edmonton historically is from national or international clients or tenants – banks or insurance or law firms that are national or international in scale,” he said. “They want to elevate their position in Edmonton.”
The century-old University of Alberta Ring Houses that were acquired by the Primavera Development Group are being relocated and repurposed. Ken Cantor, president of the Primavera Development Group, has indicated “great effort will be made to minimize structural damage during relocation of the Ring Houses.”
Commercial real estate in Edmonton is recovering, especially in warehouses and logistics spaces on the industrial side, and food and medical outlets on the retail side. “It’s definitely an uptick, and the demand is there,” said Kris Augustson, vice-president of Remington Development Corporation. “There are more e-commerce-related groups circling the market right now, so I think we will see that trend continue.”
Edmonton should expect a shortage of housing and commercial buildings due to supply chain issues, rising construction costs, rising interest rates, and a growing population, according to industry leaders who met at the Edmonton Real Estate Forum on May 18. Rohit Gupta, president of Rohit Group of Companies, said the demand for houses may outpace real estate developers’ capacity to build them.
Strathcona County has updated its three Pride crosswalks from the original six-colour design to the progress flag colours to signal the inclusion of BIPOC and trans people. “We’re proud to paint the crosswalks outside the Community Centre with the progress flag design,” said Mayor Rod Frank. “It’s important we have these visible signals that all community members are safe, welcome and celebrated here in Strathcona County.”
Anthem Properties Group has made its debut as a new home builder in Alberta with the completion and sale of its first two single-family homes. The company said house building is “a natural progression of our real estate journey, leveraging the expertise we’ve gained as an award-winning homebuilder in the Greater Sacramento area and as an experienced land and multifamily developer in Western Canada.”
Backwoods Energy announced its matting division is moving to a larger facility in Nisku. “We came here due to the low tax rates, great infrastructure, and access to transportation hubs. We look forward to growing our business here for years to come,” said CEO Mike Heck.
Truspace wrote about how a productive workplace is mentally well. “Unhappy employees are more likely to take shortcuts at work and are less likely to form attachments with other employees, ultimately reducing the organization’s ability to retain talent.”
Demand from B.C. investors for single-tenant commercial properties in Alberta “has seen a tremendous increase” over the last year, reports Marcus & Millichap. Industrial and office properties in Calgary and Edmonton are generating annual yields from 1.5-2% higher than in Metro Vancouver, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
WSP Canada is acquiring John Wood Group PLC’s environment business for US$1.8 billion in support of its goal to boost net revenues by 30% by 2024. The Globe and Mail reports that the deal “cements (WSP)’s position as one of the world’s dominant players in sustainable development consulting.”
BOMA Edmonton Spotlight: May 2022
The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) reported earning a record 14.7% return for 2021, which was well above the 8% it benchmarked. Public equity investments gained 23.4%, and its private equity holdings rose 65.9%, with its money market and fixed income investments losing 1.1%. AIMCo reported a 14.5% return in its $18.3 billion real estate department and a 19% return in its $10.6 billion infrastructure department.
For hotels, CBRE projects a modest recovery this year in Calgary and Edmonton for revenue available per room. “Calgary and Alberta’s challenge is that the activity related to the energy sector needs to return, and as restrictions are getting lifted visitations are also returning,” said David Ferguson, director for CBRE hotels.
Oilers Entertainment Group president and CEO Stew MacDonald spoke with CTV News about the playoff excitement that has been building in Edmonton as the Oilers take on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. “The atmosphere continues to amp up, game after game after game,” he said.
Rohit Property Management vice president Adil Kodian told Postmedia that the changes in the City of Edmonton’s proposed omnibus zoning bylaw will “require a shift away from traditional forms of prescriptive to a more supportive and open regulatory environment.” A draft of the bylaw is expected to return to a council committee in November.
Stantec said in its 15th sustainability report that it “has achieved carbon neutrality for operations in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and European Union.” The company also said 53% of its revenue is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), up from 49% in 2020.
Construction on a new $41.1 million footbridge over the North Saskatchewan River connecting northeast Edmonton and Strathcona County is expected to begin as early as this summer now that funding agreements between the City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, and the River Valley Alliance have been finalized.
Altus Group has released its latest sustainability report, highlighting the progress made on its environmental, social, and governance initiatives. The company said it has a “light environmental footprint and carbon business model.”
Anthem Properties Group said in its spring 2022 newsletter that over the past year its real estate portfolio has “grown significantly across all of our asset classes,” with 500,000 square feet of new retail, industrial, rental residential, and office space added.
CIBC economist Andrew Grantham told Postmedia the bank thinks the Bank of Canada “will be concerned that inflation continues to surprise to the upside of their forecasts” and will want to “make sure that these strong inflation readings don’t start to impact longer-run inflation expectations.”
The six finalists for an architectural design competition launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada last year for Block 2, located directly across from Parliament Hill, have been unveiled. A winner will be announced later this spring.
WSP Canada announced it is part of the delivery team for the ONxpress Transportation Partners (ONxpress) consortium that has reached commercial close on the GO Expansion – On-Corridor Works (OnCorr) project.
The Kitchen, a learning and community kitchen facility located on the second floor of the Edmonton Public Library‘s Stanley A. Milner location downtown, has opened to the public. The facility will offer courses in cooking, baking, and other food-related matters either directly or through partner organizations.
Greg Kwong, executive vice president and regional managing director for the Canadian Prairie region at CBRE Limited, said the amount of office space in Calgary’s downtown needs to be reduced through either demolition or repurposing.
The Canterbury Foundation wrote about the mental, emotional, and spiritual importance of keeping couples together. Many long-term care facilities don’t offer spaces for couples to love together while receiving specific care. “Through our brand new renovated memory care unit and our future enhanced supportive living unit on the horizon, we will now have such suites – so couples can stay together despite their individual needs, till death do they part,” said Sacha Cooper, business development and licensing manager.