JLL Industrial enjoys advantages of hot commercial real estate market in Calgary region

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Calgary has many advantages that continue to attract companies. They include the lowest corporate income tax rate in Canada, a highly educated workforce, diversified economy, affordable residential real estate and low commute times.

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An industry that has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past few years is distribution and logistics, and forecasts show it will keep expanding. Besides the many reasons that make this city one of the best in the world for places to live, distribution companies benefit from our location that can reach the greatest number of people in Western Canada within 24 hours by truck. Rail intermodals are also a huge asset, as well as freight increases at our international airport.

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Figures supplied by JLL show that from Calgary, the 13-hour limit on a driver within a 24-hour period will allow for single-day delivery to Vancouver or Winnipeg.

And for investors and corporations, service land is reasonably priced and we have the lowest A-class rents compared with the other five major Canadian cities.

A-class big box net rents in Vancouver range from $21 to $23; in Winnipeg they are from $13 to $15 — in the Calgary region they are around $9 to $10.

Industrial real estate activity in the Calgary Greater Area (CGA) continues at a fast and steady pace — too bad for this city that most of the big transactions are in the Balzac region, greater Calgary’s fastest growing industrial area.

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Rocky View County continues to promote its availability of land that has supplied more than 11 million square feet of product to companies such as Amazon, Lowes, Walmart, Sobeys, Home Depot and Sysco. And JLL’s three-year forecast for the Balzac area indicates it will be responsible for 58 per cent of all new industrial construction in the CGA in the coming years.

The location is perfect for haulers, with immediate access to Highway 2 and the Stoney Trail bypass. And besides property taxes that are lower than in the city and zero business tax, there is land available.

Unfortunately, the City of Calgary seems reluctant to put its industrial lands on the market — land that would provide employment to construction workers and produce taxes.

According to JLL executive vice-president Chris Saunders, there will be not be enough land to meet occupier demand in the mid- to long term unless more is released.

JLL’s Calgary brokerage team is experiencing lots of activity in land sales, as well as in sale and leasing of available buildings. A new project coming to market is Cross Roads Corner, the first industrial land development in the Calgary region by Dream Industrial REIT.

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Dream owns, manages and operates a portfolio of 258 industrial assets totalling approximately 46.5 million square feet of gross leasable area in key markets across Canada, Europe and the U.S.

The new development is at the corner of Dwight McLennan Trail and Highway 566, two buildings that will offer a total of more than 342,000 square feet, with unit sizes available for lease from 26,000 to 210,000 square feet.

Also, along Wagon Wheel Boulevard, the JLL team is representing Beedie, the developer of Five66, an opportunity to purchase A-class industrial condos in the Balzac region. The first two of the four-building project will be available in the second quarter of 2024, and 25 per cent has already been subscribed.

The Calgary office of JLL recently launched a new industrial investment capital markets division, headed by senior vice-president Casey Stuart, who has two prime projects underway.

In Deerfoot Business Park, three fully leased buildings built by Remington Developments in 2001 totalling 181,000 square feet are for sale by an institutional owner.

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And a two-building portfolio that includes the Martin Bower distribution building for McDonald’s in North Airways will close at the end of this month.


Since PJ L’Heureux opened CRAFT Beer Market in Calgary in 2011, he has expanded to Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Kelowna. Later this month he will open his first brewery. Swift Brewery and tasting room will overlook the harbour on Swift Street in Victoria — a great place for a pint when visiting the island.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]


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