3Q20 industrial vacancy rate improves over last quarter

Although Saskatchewan’s GDP is projected to decrease by 5.5 per cent in 2020, our latest quarterly industrial market survey shows the industrial vacancy rate in Saskatoon has dropped.

A remarkable fact when you consider the financial hit that our economy has just endured due to the pandemic.

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The line is drawn between easements & encroachments

I have a pretty wide range of expertise as a commercial real estate professional.

I’m not an engineer, electrician, or city planner, but I need to understand some working knowledge in all these areas (and others) to properly advise my clients.

An issue that comes up pretty regularly in our world is dealing with easements and encroachments on properties.

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My digital detox in a wired world

What’s my definition of a digital detox? To me it means no screen time.

Screens include my computers, laptop, smart phone and televisions. I happened to grow up before the video game craze so that one’s not on my list.

Studies show that much of society today is addicted to digital. I could very well be included in that group!

I’ve experimented with withdrawing from use of electronics for a day in the past; I decided to make it a once a week, permanent habit early this year.

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The mall needs to be okay

I’ve not been shy about my love affair with the traditional interior mall as a retail institution.

While skeptics have been predicting their inevitable death, the interior mall seems to innovate and survive in spite of its critics.

But could the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic finally have done them in?

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Options for Lighthouse need to be explored

The Lighthouse, which provides support to Saskatoon’s homeless and mentally ill, is vital to our community but it can’t come at the expense of our vibrant Downtown as a whole.

Prior to the global pandemic, Saskatoon’s Downtown businesses were already feeling the impact of reduced foot traffic due to safety concerns of the Lighthouse.

Now, the reported national statistics for tenant relief requests from the retail sector mirror close to what we’ve seen in Saskatoon.

As a result of economy shutting down to Covid-19, on average, 70 per cent of requests have come from retail tenants; only 30 per cent have come from the office and industrial sectors.

A game plan to invigorate our downtown retail business before it’s too late is urgent.

It’s time for the City, local businesses, and the Lighthouse to examine a Plan B if we hope to save this core neighbourhood.

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The oxymoron of office culture for remote workers

The dialogue is starting around this latest experiment in the office sector.

We’ve seen other experiments in recent years such as the open office concept and co-working concept. COVID-19 has accelerated a work-from-home (WFH) trial that might otherwise have taken years to duplicate.

Will WFH emerge as the disruptor that some are suggesting?  

Will organizations be able to maintain culture within, while the experiment is underway?

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Fair is fair

Fair is a pretty relative term in the commercial real estate universe.

It depends entirely on which side of the transaction you are as to what your perception of fair may be.

In regard to commercial leasing, does fair apply to the landlord or tenant?

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Don’t miss this critical element in CRE investment purchase

If you’ve purchased a commercial or residential condo, you would have encountered an estoppel certificate. 

There are many reasons for obtaining a condominium estoppel. They provide insight into the project reserve fund, illustrate if there are any unpaid contributions or arrears and determine if its bylaws and policies are in good standing.

Estoppels are just one of many due diligence items I encourage buyers to ask for.

The information I’m discussing here is applicable only to single and multi-tenant investments (excluding multi-family rentals).

Let’s look at the importance of obtaining estoppel certificate(s) during your investigation of an investment property.

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New challenges await social distancing office users

Despite patting ourselves on the back for flattening the curve in Saskatchewan, we flatlanders are not out of the woods yet.

In the anticipated build up to employees returning to their traditional workspaces, stringent protocols will be in place for office users in particular.

A return to our previous normal practice seems a long time away and some speculators predict the Covid-19 pandemic will change office interaction permanently.

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