Why now is the perfect time to invest in your business

Are you leasing an office or warehouse space in Calgary? With interest rates at all-time lows, now might be a good time to think about buying into your own commercial condo. Commercial condos are an increasingly popular choice for businesses that understand the value of building equity in their own company. In Calgary, there are an increasing number of spaces available within new, high quality, Class A commercial buildings.

Take advantage of continued record low interest rates and check out some of the options. In Calgary’s Meridian/Franklin area, for example, Hungerford Properties’ Nexus Business Centre is attracting companies like True Directional Services, which just purchased 4,100 square feet of office and warehouse space. After five years of renting, the directional drilling technology company decided buying was the only option that made economic sense.

“With such low vacancy rates, rent in the Calgary market can be expensive,” says CEO Sean Senos. “Owning for my company means we can have more capital to invest in tools and growing the business, rather than throwing the money away on rent. It costs us 25% more to rent than to own.”

Nexus Business Centre is the top selling commercial condo in the Calgary market, but there are other popular options. Hungerford’s Fairmore Business Park is a new seven-acre development located near Chinook Centre, where your business can grow in a brand new building. There’s also NorthWing Business Park, another top selling commercial condo in the burgeoning northeast area by the Calgary airport, located on a high-visibility site fronting McKnight Boulevard and Metis Trail.

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The business world in Sherwood Park will soon be stepping it up a notch.

Part of the executive team and partner of Hungerford Properties, Michael Hungerford said the company is planning a new commercial area in the northwest portion of the Park.

The Paragon Business Park will be building on 11 acres on the inside corner of Broadview Road, Bethel Drive and Bethel Way.

“In the first phase, we’re building an office building and a warehouse building,” Hungerford said.

“There’s future phases, but it’s going to be a large business park to accommodate different types of commercial uses. We’re anticipating that there will be some retail on the ground level. We’re building a nice courtyard amenity area. There will be some offices above and some warehouse — smaller bay warehouse units — as part of the park. We’re also interested in working with businesses — we’ve got some extra land as well for future phases, and we’ll be looking to develop that land with businesses that might want to have their own standalone sites.”

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Hungerford Properties showed its confidence in Calgary's economy when the company expanded its local real estate holdings with the November 2013 purchase of the Haworth building on 52nd Street S.E.

Built by Calgary visionary Mogens Smed in 1999, the 761,000 square-foot building on 18 hectares of land was the largest manufacturing facility west of Ontario at the time. Described as an "iconic" asset to Calgary, it has since been renamed Icon Business Park. The plan was to transform the building from a single to a multitenant facility and although Haworth still has a presence in the building, its first new tenant was Hagen - a worldwide distributor of pet supplies that leased 195,000 square feet.

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Leasing activity in Calgary’s industrial real estate market in 2014 was the highest it’s been in eight years.

A report by Colliers International in Calgary says there was just over five million square feet of positive absorption – the change in occupied space – last year – the highest yearly absorption since 2006.

Despite the high rate of absorption, only 500,000 square feet of new construction was added to the industrial inventory in the fourth quarter of last year, added the report.

Colliers said the leasing velocity and lower-than-average new construction contributed to produce a lower vacancy rate of 3.82 per cent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter’s 4.43 per cent.

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Hungerford Properties, a Vancouver-based development and management company, has just launched its third major commercial project in Calgary. With a 35-year track record of success in investing and building residential, office, retail and industrial properties, Hungerford has several projects on the go with more to be announced in the near future.

“We strongly believe in the business opportunity that is supported by the people and businesses in Alberta. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in the future economy,” says Michael Hungerford, partner, Hungerford Properties. “We are very excited and optimistic about the future.” 

Calgary has many similarities to Vancouver in terms of population and employment growth – making it a strong real estate market – although it is more heavily weighted towards the resource sector. 

“We are looking to invest in a wide variety of asset classes including office, retail, residential and industrial,” explains Hungerford. “The key thread and commonality between our investments is that there is a lot of creativity and value-added elements. What that means is we are bringing in capital to either reposition or revitalize existing assets or develop from scratch.”

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