Edmonton’s Commercial Real Estate Development Potential

Katie Thompson
Last Updated: November 20, 2023

Edmonton, the vibrant capital city of Alberta, is a hub of economic activity and a prime destination for commercial real estate development. Edmonton boasts a diverse economy, a growing population, and a favorable business climate.  Our city offers tremendous opportunities for investors and developers alike. Here we will explore the key factors driving commercial real estate development in Edmonton and highlight some proposed projects shaping the city's skyline.

Strong Economic Fundamentals

Edmonton benefits from a robust and diversified economy, anchored by sectors such as oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and education. The city's strategic transportation and logistics hub location further enhances its appeal. A stable economy and consistent job growth create a strong demand for commercial real estate, making Edmonton an attractive destination for developers seeking long-term investments.

Growing Population and Urbanization

As one of Canada's fastest-growing cities, Edmonton's population growth fuels the need for commercial spaces to support a variety of businesses. With an expected average annual population growth rate of 1.5%, there has been a shift towards mixed-use developments, combining residential, retail, and office spaces. Developers are capitalizing on this demand by creating innovative projects that cater to residents’ needs while enhancing the city's overall livability.

Favorable Business Environment

Edmonton has a favorable business climate, with lower taxes, business-friendly policies, and a supportive government that encourages investment and development. The city's commitment to streamlining regulatory processes and reducing red tape ensures that developers can navigate the approval and permitting procedures efficiently. This business-friendly environment fosters a sense of confidence among investors and stimulates commercial real estate development.

The City of Edmonton has already committed 6.5 million dollars into individual grants for entrepreneurs who are willing to relocate their business to Edmonton’s downtown core. In the third quarter of 2023, Edmonton’s downtown core had a 20.4% office vacancy rate. There are plenty of opportunities for these vacant offices to be repurposed into mixed-use developments.

Other city funding to revitalize the downtown core includes the “Downtown Patio Grant”. The
Downtown Patio Grant provides funding assistance for the construction or upgrade of street-front patios located in the downtown core. Downtown restaurants, bars, and cafes are invited to apply for the Downtown Patio Grant to receive up to $5,000 per Downtown business location.

Infrastructure Development

Edmonton has made significant investments in infrastructure projects that enhance connectivity and support commercial development. The city's expanding transit network, including the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, improves accessibility to different areas and encourages businesses to thrive. Additionally, proposed developments such as The Hat at Old Strathcona will transform a surface-level parking lot into a mixed-use development that will consist of multiple residential towers, and ground-level retail space. Other developments include the proposed Hangar 11 mixed-use development will see the hangar repurposed as student housing, with food, retail, and art space. The Hangar was originally built in 1942 during the second world war. These proposed mixed-use developments display the city's commitment to creating dynamic mixed-use spaces that attract businesses, residents, and visitors.

Focus On Sustainable Development

Edmonton is increasingly prioritizing sustainable development practices. Developers are incorporating energy-efficient designs, renewable energy sources, and green building materials to reduce the environmental impact of their projects. Initiatives like the Net Zero Energy Ready guidelines for new buildings and the integration of sustainable transportation options further position Edmonton as a leader in eco-friendly commercial real estate development. Initiatives such as the Brownfield Redevelopment Program offer funding for businesses that want to redevelop underutilized commercial or industrial properties that have environmental contamination. The funding will help pay for the testing and remediation of qualified Edmonton properties which would otherwise sit vacant. Other green initiatives include Edmonton’s commitment to expand and enhance 678 kilometers of multi-use/bike city trails over the next ten years.

Looking Ahead

With its strong economic fundamentals, growing population, business-friendly environment, and commitment to sustainable development, Edmonton offers a wealth of opportunities for commercial real estate developers. As the city continues to evolve and thrive, innovative projects shape its skyline and contribute to its status as a major economic center. By staying attuned to the needs of businesses and residents, developers can unlock the full potential of Edmonton's commercial real estate market and contribute to the city's ongoing growth and prosperity.

Bolson Engineering and Environmental Services is passionate about development. Civil design plays a significant role in the development of mixed-use spaces, offering numerous benefits that enhance their functionality, aesthetics, and overall success. We have partnered with developers across Edmonton to streamline their residential and commercial developments. Have a vision? Let us engineer your ideas. Contact us.

About the author

With more than 12 years in human resources, Katie brings important process management skills to the table. Her direct experience with senior management in the construction industry helps her understand your engineering project goals. Her creative forward-thinking propels Bolson toward exciting new business opportunities.

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