A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Calgary as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in Calgary.
History & Geography
Located east of the Rockies amid the rolling prairie of central Canada, Calgary is the country’s third-largest city and one of its most intriguing. Both the Bow and Elbow Rivers flow through the city, which is located in the Grassland region of the province of Alberta. The area was originally inhabited by the Peigan people, who are closely related to the Blackfoot of North America. In the 1870s Europeans started settling in the area and hunted the Buffalo, on which the Peigan relied, almost to extinction. In 1875 the North-West Mounted Police established Fort Brisebois, which later had its name changed to Fort Calgary, named after the town on the Scottish Isle of Mull. In 1883 the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Calgary and the city quickly grew into a commercial and agricultural hub. Large ranches were established in the area and Calgary became the cattle and meatpacking centre of Canada. These industries grew rapidly from a massive influx of settlers between 1896 and 1914, responding to the offer of free land to cultivate. From these settlers agriculture also became an important industry in the area. In 1947 massive reserves of oil were found near the city and an oil boom ensued. The Arab Oil Embargo in 1973 ensured that the city’s economy continued to grow rapidly. During this time many of downtown Calgary’s skyscrapers and commercial buildings were constructed. When oil prices dropped in the 1980s the Calgary economy suffered badly, however rebounded when prices rose again. However the slump taught the city not to be so reliant on oil and gas, and consequently Calgary has recently concentrated on other industries such as tourism and financial services. The city grabbed the world’s attention in 1988 when it hosted the XV Winter Olympic Games. Since then Calgary has continued to grow in both prosperity and popularity.
Today Calgary has a widely diversified economy. Oil and gas is still the largest contributor to the city’s GDP and a major employer. A total of 87 percent of Canada’s oil and gas companies are headquartered in the city. Many financial services companies have grown up around this industry and Calgary has become an important financial centre. The city generally has high personal income rates and low unemployment compared to the rest of the country. It is also becoming an increasingly popular location for corporations to locate their headquarters. Currently the EnCana Corporation is building it headquarters, dubbed the Bow, which when complete will be the tallest building in Canada outside Toronto. Calgary’s tourism industry has also expanded of late, helped by the proximity of Banff National Park and Banff Springs Hotel, which attract visitors from all over the world. The Calgary-Edmonton Corridor is currently one of the fastest growing regions in Canada and a recent study found it was the only urbanised area of Canada to attain a US level of wealth while still retaining a Canadian level of quality of life.
While Calgary is a city as modern, dynamic and prosperous as any, it has managed to hang on to its rugged identity forged when it was a frontier cow-town, and this is one of the factors that continues to attract visitors to Calgary. One of the most famous events hosted by the city is the Calgary Stampede, a ten-day rodeo and festival held every July. The Calgary Stampede bills itself as ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ and regularly attracts over a million visitors, even giving Calgary its nickname of ‘The Stampede City’. Calgary is also a very popular destination for winter sports due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains. It has a large number of winter sporting facilities such as the famous Canada Olympic Park and is also popular with mountain bikers and fly-fishermen during the summer. Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest and most beautiful national park is also nearby and its pristine alpine and forest landscapes are some of the most beautiful in the world. The city itself has the Heritage Park Historical Village, depicting life in Calgary before 1914, which boasts an original steam train, paddleboat and electric streetcar. The Beltline area of the city is known for its lively pubs and clubs and restaurants.
Calgary is the transportation centre of most of north-western Canada and Calgary International Airport is the third largest in the country. The Trans-Canada Highway and Canadian Pacific Highway also run through Calgary. The city itself relies on a system of buses and light rail operated by Calgary Transit. Known as the C-Train, the city’s railway was one of the first in North America and is currently the third-busiest on the continent. Many in Calgary drive and the city’s streets are designed in an easily-navigable grid system.
Recent research from the real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield has found that demand for office space in Calgary is climbing and that in the last quarter the vacancy rate has dropped to 6.4 percent from 9.1 percent in the previous quarter. The report stated that today’s stronger oil prices were behind much of the growth. According to CBRE the average rental rate for Grade A office space in the city stands at CAD 7.86 per month per square foot. This year it is expected that only approximately 600,000 square feet of new office space will come on the market in Calgary and rental rates are expected to continue to rise. The downtown vacancy rate currently stands at 14.4 percent with the overall vacancy rate at 13.7 percent.