Commercial vacancies loosen, remain stable

Red Deer’s commercial market has loosened slightly since last year but remains stable, says a local appraisal company.

Red Deer’s commercial market has loosened slightly since last year but remains stable, says a local appraisal company.

Soderquist Appraisals Ltd. has calculated the city’s commercial vacancy rate at 5.06 per cent, up from 4.08 per cent in 2013 and 3.73 per cent in 2012.

“The commercial vacancy levels have been reasonably stable during the 2012 to 2014 period,” said Soderquist CEO Mike Garcelon in a release.

“This suggests that this market is in balance and that at present there is strong demand for commercial space in Red Deer.”

The Soderquist release said the increase in the commercial vacancy rate this year is due mostly to the recent departure of Coast Wholesale Appliances from Gaetz Avenue Crossing and Sport Mart from Village Mall.

The survey, which Soderquist performs annually, determined this year that there is nearly 4.3 million square feet of commercial space in the city. Strip malls account for about 2.3 million square feet of this total, with enclosed malls adding 1.1 million square feet and power centres just over 900,000 square feet.

The appraisal company also looked at Red Deer’s office vacancy rate, which it found to be 10.22 per cent.

That was down from 12.04 per cent in 2013, the only previous year that Soderquist collected data for this category.

“Office markets are typically the slowest to recover from a recession,” said Garcelon. “Our study shows that the office vacancy rate continued to improve in 2013 and into 2014, which suggests that demand for office space in the Red Deer marketplace is growing.”

Soderquist attributed the year-over-year decrease in the office vacancy rate mainly to increased occupancy levels in Class 1 buildings, most notably Stantec Executive Place and Elements @ Rivers Edge downtown.

Soderquist, which is a full-service real estate appraisal and consulting firm, also conducts an industrial market survey each year. The results of that study are expected to be issued in September.

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