After eighteen months out of the office, many Canadians don’t want to go back — and they may not have to.
The pandemic has left empty office towers across the country but perhaps no downtown core is quieter than Calgary’s. No fewer than 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 could eventually 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 with the exodus only increasing after Covid-19 hit.
“People are trying to find where equilibrium is as far as work from home and work at the office,” Greg Kwong, a commercial real estate analyst in Calgary, told CEO Magazine.
At least 10 buildings were more than 75 per cent vacant 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.