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What does the future hold for Calgary’s empty office towers?


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What does the future hold for Calgary’s empty office towers?

When some workers return to the city's core, they might notice a transformation

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RCI

Posted: October 15, 2021 4:20 PM

After a year-and-a-half out of the office, many Canadians aren't ready to go back — and they might not ever be ready.

The pandemic has left empty office towers across the country but perhaps no downtown core is quieter than Calgary's. 

Roughly one-third of offices in the city's core have emptied out since the price of oil crashed in 2015.

A downtown vacancy rate above that number would be unprecedented in Canada, and one report has suggested it could climb as high as 34 per cent — which could be a North American record for a major city. 

Nearly a decade ago, oil companies occupied nearly two-thirds of the city's downtown. Now they occupy half that number.

Calgary's downtown office vacancy rate hit record high and may soon reach Depression-era levels (new window)

That exodus was only made worse as COVID-19 sent office workers home, fleeing tiny elevators and crowded conference room tables. 

People are trying to find where equilibrium is as far as work from home and work at the office, says Greg Kwong, a commercial real estate analyst in Canada's energy capital.

At least 10 buildings were more than 75 per cent vacant (new window) earlier this year, three of which were entirely empty. 

Kwong said the downtown vacancy situation won't be fixed when the pandemic ends. 

We have got an oil business or an energy business that is severely depressed by lower oil prices, he said. 

At least 10 buildings were more than 75 per cent vacant (new window) earlier this year, three of which were entirely empty. 

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https://ici.radio-canada.ca/rci/en/news/1832035/what-does-the-future-hold-for-calgarys-empty-office-towers-

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