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Edmonton downtown development increasing office vacancy rate: report

Click to play video: 'How does Edmonton plan to fill the tall towers that make up downtown?' How does Edmonton plan to fill the tall towers that make up downtown?
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton city council looks at efforts to fill downtown office space. Vinesh Pratap reports. – Jul 4, 2017

The City of Edmonton is attempting to reduce a growing office vacancy rate in downtown.

An Edmonton Economic Development Corporation report suggests the office vacancy rate in downtown sits at 18 per cent and could reach 30 per cent by 2020.

The increase in office vacancy is partly due to the towers being developed around Rogers Place, which have created far more space than downtown typically absorbs, according to the report.

READ MORE: Downtown Edmonton office vacancies see developer calling for action

The report highlights vacancies in the Bank of Montreal building at 101 Avenue and 101 Street and HSBC Bank Place a block away, which the report indicates is two-thirds.

“Edmonton’s industry structure is changing, where traditional energy service-based businesses will not be the growth engine of the economy,” the report read.

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READ MORE: As downtown booms, will Edmonton have too much office space?

The report stated that without action, reaching a “healthy” 10 per cent vacancy rate will take more than 15 years.

“Technology-based companies, and companies innovating with new technologies, will create much of the demand for office space in the coming years.”

WATCH: What will happen with vacant downtown Edmonton office space?

After a city council meeting last October, city administration, Edmonton Economic Development Corp. and Building Owners and Managers Association Edmonton held consultations with over 60 stakeholders on ways to stimulate office tower conversion in downtown.

The consultations resulted in four recommendations:

  • Building Owners and Managers Association Led Task Force
  • Matchmaking website
  • Tax deferral
  • Reduced parking requirement for mixed use and live work space

They’ll also consider the impact of directing future city office space to downtown if it isn’t required for a specific area.

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