October 7, 2014 8:04 pm
Updated: October 7, 2014 10:04 pm

Vacant office space in abundance downtown

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REGINA – Signs advertizing “office space for lease” can be seen on nearly every street downtown.

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The hike in available downtown office space in Regina means some buildings are struggling to find tenants.

“It looks like we may be losing business, but actually we’re not. It’s just that there’s a lot more supply out there and it’s a healthy thing,” said John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce.

A survey done by Colliers International puts the downtown office vacancy rate at 10.5 per cent, compared to about 1.5 per cent three years ago.

“The reality is, rather than expanding, a lot of them (businesses) are becoming more efficient and they’re using less space,” said Paul Mehlsen, managing partner at Colliers International. “Instead of everyone having their own private office, what they’ll end up doing is having more open office space and becoming more efficient.”

The increase in available office space downtown is putting proposed buildings into question.

“Regina has historically been driven by the provincial government and if they’re not looking at a lot of space right now, then I just don’t see any need for office towers at this point in time,” said Mehlsen.

When it was announced a few years ago, a proposed 16-storey tower at 12th Avenue and Rose Street was going to be the largest office building in Saskatchewan.

“My understanding from what he (the developer, Anthony Marquart) has said is that he’s still assembling tenants to go into the building and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t at some point go forward with that,” said Mayor Michael Fougere.

Another downtown site, a parking lot on the 1700 block of Hamilton Street, remains undeveloped since a housing complex was torn down in 2012.

However, the inactivity is not a concern for the mayor: “I’m fully supportive and hopefully that those will be developed when the market is ready.”

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