“Frankly, we’ve outgrown it already, so we actually need to find more space ΓÇª but we are looking at the right time,” said Beverley Hammond, a partner and chief business officer at the agency, which is hiring so much that it’s run out of room. A number of growing companies are searching for new offices even as the pandemic has forced closures and downsizing elsewhere.
Some businesses are shifting to larger offices months or years before they anticipate outgrowing their current locations. simply because market conditions are so favourable. With more commercial space available, prospective tenants have gained negotiating power. That grew to 14.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2021, up from 10.3 per cent at the same time last year, which covers the period before the worst of pandemic’s economic effects hit.
The national office vacancy rate climbed to 13.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, CBRE reported. That’s the country’s highest available amount office space since 2004. Some cities appear to be coping: vacancy rates in Vancouver, Waterloo and Ottawa rates were as low as 6.3, 9.3 and 9.6 per cent respectively for the first quarter. But in Alberta, where the devastated oil industry combined with the broader downturn, more than one in four Calgary offices and one in five Edmonton properties remain vacant.
Vacancy rate hits 13% “There are a lot of companies right now that are accelerating through this challenge,” said Jon Ramscar, Toronto downtown managing director for commercial real estate company CBRE.
While continuous shifts in COVID-19-related public health measures make it difficult to offer an outlook for the sector, Ramscar says the gradual reopening of the country will lead to decreased rates in areas like Toronto. Toronto’s 12.4 vacancy rate is double what it was a year ago — and up from 10.9 per cent last quarter.
Dabrowski reached out to the landlord, who agreed to make a deal. It’s not clear how long remote work practices will continue and much of the vacant property is available through subleases. It “could cool off the market very quickly if companies decide they want their space back as they explore cost mitigation strategies,” Ramscar warned. Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner at Provident Communications Inc., was quick to act early in the pandemic when there was a shift to people working from home and he learned of an available space twice the size of the firm’s current office in the same building.
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