Further 500ok sq. ft of workplace area ‘transformative’ for Saskatoon downtown: Colliers

Dave Denny compares office space to a coral reef.

“When you have all of the coral, the fish will come,” said Denny, owner of a Saskatoon home with offices and retail space.

For the first time in 30 years, new high-rise office buildings are being built in downtown Saskatoon. The East Tower at River Landing is scheduled for completion this fall, while the Nutrien Tower is expected to be completed in 2022.

A report from Colliers International says that around 500,000 square feet of office space will be created in the city’s downtown area by 2022.

Denny said he wasn’t worried about the influx of office space in the market.

The Drinkle Building is located on 2nd Avenue South in downtown Saskatoon. (Ashleigh Mattern / CBC)

He expects vacancies to rise and rents to fall, but that’s a good thing.

“Promoting offices is as important as getting a grocery store or as important as getting residential property,” he said. “People don’t realize that it’s one of the essential components of this downtown ecosystem.”

Denny expects lower rents to attract more small businesses, which will bolster downtown culture.

“There could be short-term implications for people who are already in the market, but that’s kind of built into the real estate game,” he said. “All of the people who live in it for the long term will ultimately benefit from having new life downtown.”

New buildings will be “transformative”

Richard Jankowski of Colliers International said the scale and scope of the changes to the Saskatoon office space were “transformative”.

“The great thing about Saskatoon is that it has established itself as a emerging destination for investment and growth in western Canada,” said Jankowski.

The new Nutrien building is set to be the tallest office building in Saskatoon. (Submitted photo / Nutrien Ltd.)

According to a report by Colliers, the vacancy rate for offices in the city center is currently around 13 percent, comparable to the national average of 12 percent.

Jankowski said the new building will drive vacancies up and landlords may need to get creative with converting or renovating their buildings.

“This will be as great an opportunity as it will be a challenge for landlords, and I think the message we have passed on to everyone is to start planning now.”

With files from Saskatoon Morning

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