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November 4, 2013
Nobody is Selling, Except in...
A scarcity of available product has hampered sales activity this year, according to RE/MAX. (Santa needs to get his elves building more mixed-use projects and fewer toys.) But all eyes are on Downtown South.
If you have a good asset, why sell it? Discussing his company's RE/MAX Commercial Investor Report, owner/managing director of RE/MAX Commercial Advantage Moojan Azizi tells us there's little product in the 11 major centres across Canada that were the subject of the study, including Vancouver. Unprecedented levels of demand in Vancouver remain, he says, but owners especially in the multi-unit residential, industrial and retail sectors are not selling. Close to 600 sales occurred in the first half of 2013, a decrease of 15% compared to the same period in 2012.
Another factor is that REITs and other institutional investors are not buying, Moojan adds. Most purchasers are local owner-users. Where activity is going on, though, is areas like Downtown South. Moojan calls it "the next area to gentrify." He points to the Reliance/Pattison $500M Burrard Gateway mixed-use project at Burrard and Hornby (along Hornby, a 54-storey and 36-storey residential towers, with a seven-storey podium providing retail, office and residential use; and along Burrard, a 14-storey office tower, including a three-storey automotive dealership) as a game-changer and a project that will further spur sales activity.
What Forrest Gump Thinks of the Airport
When talking about economic development, MXD Development Strategists CEO Chris LeTourneur borrows a line from Forrest Gump, saying it's like a box of chocolates. Bisnow got the skinny on the cinematic philosophy of Chris at the Aerotropolis Airport conference at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where we had our local reporter taking notes. Chris says the inside as well as the outside of each chocolate works in harmony together while some may have a nutty cluster of activity while others have a creamy goodness; just like the commercial projects around an airport--creating that Aerotropolis. (One Gumpian philosophy that airports don't like: Run, Forrest, Run. They'd much prefer if he flew.)
Chris has worked with many airports around the globe, including Winnipeg International. He says it's a shining example of the airport, government, transportation, and business all working in harmony. The entities form an economic development initiative to promote jobs and investment. With rail, air, and road connectivity, industries depend on Winnipeg's airport, especially those sunrise industries that rely on just-in-time delivery. Chris was among the speakers at the Aerotropolis conference to address why investors, developers, and tenants choose airport locations.
Rumoured Amazon Moves Put Pressure on GVA Retailers
With all the talk around a rumoured major Amazon office move into Vancouver downtown core (taking at least 91k SF of office space at Telus Garden, the $750M residential and commercial development near Pacific Centre under construction) we reached out to DIG360 Consulting's David Ian Gray, a recognized expert on shopping experience and retail trends.
Amazon has of course been active in the GVA market for some time. However Canadian consumers feel its offer here underwhelms in terms of price, shipping and choice compared with the US, David tells us. The challenge is there isn't efficient third-party shipping here. It's tough serving a population equivalent to California in the vast geography that is Canada, he adds. (That's why our birthday gift hasn't reached you guys yet, we swear.) Still, a more aggressive Amazon is putting fear in incumbent traditional retailers like Walmart, Target (image, Target's Coquitlam store), and Loblaws. "The CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op has publicly shared his concern with the potential of Amazon impacting his business," David says.
Surrey Gears Up For City Hall Grand Opening
Surrey is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary of becoming an independent city (somebody light the candles). With that comes the opening of the new 180k SF city hall, joining the new 77k SF library, all part of the Build Surrey City Centre (pictured) strategy. City Hall Plaza, an outdoor civic square, will connect city hall, the library, and the future 1,600-seat Performing Arts Centre to the residential and hotel 3 Civic Plaza complex. People will start moving into the new building in stages, starting soon. The first meeting of council in the new digs won't happen until the new year, though.
Still basking in the glory of that beat-down of the Leafs on Saturday night? Who's the best Canadian team now? firstname.lastname@example.org