On October 21, the RAE hosted the Commercial Real Estate Panel Discussion featuring five local Edmonton developers and landowners to discuss the current state of commercial real estate leasing in our city.

Adel Hanafi, Senior Associate with RE/MAX Excellence Commercial Division, moderated the event with questions surrounding city collaboration, COVID reactivity and impact on Edmonton’s various regions, balancing design and developments costs, and mitigating risk with new tenants.

Associate Broker/ Owner at RE/MAX Excellence, Sam Narayan, joined the panel, speaking on Edmonton’s market with a unique perspective as a leader at the helm of both a real estate brokerage and commercial development firm (EVER Real Estate Developments).

The RAE Commercial Panel included:

  • Cam Naqvi, Cameron Development
  • Sam Narayan, EVER RED
  • Kelly Pawlik, One Properties
  • Greg Stamler, Qualico Commercial
  • Rohit Gupta, Rohit Commercial

Overview of Discussion

The Municipal Election and Red Tape Reductions

“You need short-term thinkers, and long-term thinkers. The city is the long-term thinkers, we’re the short-term thinkers. We are trying to help to bridge, and then find a happy medium to help them bring their vision to life,” said Rohit Gupta, Rohit Commercial.

 

“The city needs to be open-minded and needs to continue to work with the development community to move forward,” said Kelly Pawlik, One Properties. “The city of Edmonton’s tax base is a competitive disadvantage, it just is what it is, they are aware of it. They are trying to find ways to get in front of this, and they have a challenge in front of themselves.”

Edmonton Downtown and Impacts of COVID 19

“It’s going to take 10 years to get office markets back to where they were pre-covid,” said Rohit Gupta. “It’s a massive, massive shift that we’re talking about. I think it will become a creative centre.”

 

“From the residential brokerage perspective, over the past 10 months we have seen the most transactions that I’ve seen in the past 15 years in residential, and a lot has to do with the movement. Getting away from cramped apartment buildings to houses where you can have some space to breathe,” said Sam Narayan, EVER RED.

Balancing Sustainability, Cost, and Design

“We’re looking to be really interactive with the community with respect to bike lanes, walkability easy access to the community. And we use some of the elements within the community as a part of the design. We need to make it easy for people to get in and out of it. We look at the entire community when we design it,” Greg Stamler, Qualico Commercial.

 

“We made a conscious decision 15 plus years ago that we were going to put more money into our buildings, landscaping, and aesthetic of our shopping centres. Because the prettier we make them, the more people are going to want to shop there, and the more we’re going to attract the right tenants. Does it cost us more? Absolutely but we’re getting that return on our investment,” said Cameron Naqvi, Cameron Developments.

Relationships with New Tenants and Mitigating Risk from a Landlords Perspective

I think understanding what we as landlords and developers, what we are going to expect, and need from you (as an entrepreneur). Have your financials in arow, have your business plan solid and make sure that it is defendable. Anybody can write a business plan that is roses and sunshine but a realistic approach that is defendable is going to be important,” said Kelly Pawlik.

 

We want to set our tenants up for success, and to do that we want to make sure that we do all the legwork up front before getting into a deal. It should not be about landlord and tenant, it should really be working together. A lot of times what we’re seeing is that we are the landlords we have the upper hand, and I think that needs to change, especially for local tenants. And if collectively we work together, we’ve seen those tenants do well,” said Sam Narayan.