Retail is king for 2018

There were substantial changes to the commercial real estate landscape in Saskatoon as we close out 2018.

I think it’s is a story of renewal and growth, would you agree?

Lows become highs

Sears Canada officially called it quits and closed the doors on its Saskatoon anchor space at Midtown Plaza in January 2018.

Having been a Canadian retailer for 65 years, the estimated 160,000 SF vacancy was a blow to the downtown mall.

However late in 2018 the Midtown announced they’d secured Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) and that plans to renovate the Sears vacancy were underway.

Large anchor tenants are not easily secured in mid-sized markets.

The Midtown recognized they needed a massive overhaul to make the best use of the hole left by Sears.

A new food court will be moved to the second floor, with diversified tenancies to fill the remainder of space.

Suburban sprawl

Sprawl has become a dirty term in regards to urban planning but Saskatoon’s suburban neighbourhoods continue to thrive.

The vacancy rate in Stonebridge, for example, closed out the year at 0.9 per cent.

Pre-leasing in Dream’s development at Brighton has been brisk, with Wilson’s Lifestyle Centre and Landmark Cinema already open for business.

The total development will bring on some 235,000 square feet of inventory once it’s fully built out.

Meadows Market, forming part of the Rosewood suburban area, will be home to 400,000 square feet of retailers when it completely leases up.

Costco anchors the project, and has attracted Dollar Tree, PetSmart, Marshalls, Visions, Scotiabank, Co-op Liquor and Tim Hortons already.

Office uncertainty

With the announcement of Nutrien’s commitment to a new home at River Landing, there is some uncertainty in the office market.

It’s certainly exciting to see new construction, and renewal projects like River Quarry on 4th, however there will be substantial existing vacancy coming on to the market as these projects fill.

The Saskatoon Square has been the largest victim so far, losing SaskTel to the north end in addition to multiple other tenancies committing to new space at River Landing.

The upside is there is good opportunity for office tenants looking to expand or secure space in the core.

Landlords are eager to backfill and are offering great incentives to make the move downtown.

Time will tell if this will be enough to help recover the 16.7 per cent vacancy rate for competitive downtown office at the end of 2018.

Predictions?

As we head into the New Year I’m optimistically cautious for all sectors of our Saskatoon commercial inventory.

I think deals can be hatched in this market given the right creativity on both sides of the negotiating table.

And with a little help from our potentially recovering resource sector I am optimistic that we will see continued recovery in the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan economy as a whole.

Posted by Kelly Macsymic


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