Why You Should Worry About Office Supply Overhangs
Last year saw delivery of two high-profile downtown office projects, RBC Waterpark Place III and Bremner Tower, and Avison Young research practice leader Bill Argeropoulos notes the buildings were "well-received and well-leased,” including GWL Realty Advisors signing Amazon to 128k SF at Bremner Tower. Expect another downtown office tower to be unveiled this year, "perhaps anchored by a financial institution.” But Bill's concerned about the “massive” build-up of backfill space as tenants relocate to new towers. There’s 5M SF of known pending vacancy between 2015 and end of 2017, excluding space leased in new buildings.
“That’s a much larger supply overhang here today than there was in the Great Depression,” Bill says. A significant portion of space coming available will be at the AAA downtown office buildings, including 161 Bay St., 181 Bay St., 222 Bay St., Scotia Plaza and First Canadian Place (seen above), where there’s expected to be a total of 1.2M SF left behind as tenants head for newer office pastures. The older AAA office buildings have a vacancy rate of 5.3%, he says, but an availability rate (the space that’s set to come available) that's close to 13%. “That would be a record high for those towers.”