Business association gathers downtown developments in one place

Business association gathers downtown developments in one place

· The Pulse

The Edmonton Downtown Business Association is now tracking major downtown developments on its website, with a current list of 29 projects valued at more than $4 billion.

"A lot of the times we feel like we need to show what we're talking about instead of just saying the same things," executive director Puneeta McBryan said at a June 27 event. "So this was a really tangible way of doing that."

McBryan was one of a handful of panelists who spoke about downtown investment, development, safety, and vibrancy at the event, which was put on by NAIOP Edmonton, the commercial real estate development association.

"We have a city that is being built," McBryan said. "It is local money, local builders, and big idea people that are actually going to change the face of our downtown over the next decade, and that's an opportunity that nobody should take for granted."

The beta version of the downtown developments page showcases projects with a variety of funding sources and allocations, including office modernizations and residential developments, as well as projects that governments, post-secondary institutions, and non-profit groups are working on.

More than $250 million in private investment is going into offices downtown, with notable completed projects including the 103 Street Centre and HSBC Place. The latter was recognized recently at the 2023 Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International TOBY Awards.

The $70 million conversion of the former Enbridge Tower from offices to residential is underway, as is the first phase of Langham Developments' $53 million Falcon Tower. According to the page, there are 1,304 residential units under development.

Government, post-secondary, and non-profit investments into downtown include projects like the Valley Line LRT, Warehouse Park, the renovation of the Citadel Theatre, and the Winspear Centre expansion.

Downtown has struggled with ongoing vacancy following the pandemic. According to a recent CBRE report, downtown Edmonton's office vacancy rate has increased to 24.1%, compared to the national average of 18.1%.

"We'll get on the other side of our vacancy challenges and the other things that are going on," McBryan said.

"The number of renovations that are happening, the number of buildings that are getting a whole new life downtown, makes it all feel very manageable and doable."

Photo: The Edmonton Downtown Business Association's developments page listed 29 projects valued at more than $4 billion when it launched in June 2023.