The city of Red Deer sits at the midway point between Edmonton and Calgary in Central Alberta, in the growth corridor.
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Red Deer enjoys an immediate trade area of over 270,000 people, while having Edmonton and Calgary within a 150km radius gives the city a wider market of two million people and two international airports, and access to over 15 million people in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest further afield.
The whole region has been flourishing for years, and with a diverse and thriving economy that counts oil, gas, transportation, farming, retail and wholesale, a growing manufacturing sector, and a flourishing tourism trade as its major industries, Red Deer is all set to continue its recent boom, as evidenced below.
625 new Red Deer jobs were created in 2014/2015, and the city’s unemployment rate typically hovers around the 4-6% mark, well below the national average. Such figures are positive indicators for the continued success of commercial real estate investments in a city.
The population of Red Deer increased from around 66,000 in 2000 to 98,000 in 2014, and is expected to continue to grow for decades to come as families migrate to the area to enjoy the first class amenities, health and education, scenery and employment opportunities. In the city’s own economic study, a medium annual growth rate will see the population reach 128,000 in ten years, and hit 175,000 by 2041.
The city’s working age population alone is expected to almost double over the next 30 years, from 65,000 to 112,000, giving businesses both big and small the confidence to commence commercial real estate investment in Red Deer, where the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.
Red Deer also offers a financially favourable environment for enterprise to prosper. A recent study by KPMG found the city to be 4.8% more cost-effective for a business to operate in than Calgary, and 2.7% more than Edmonton.
A part of these lower operational costs can be attributed to the competitive advantages found in Red Deer. Permit-ready commercial and industrial lots are available, along with the following perks:
Perhaps due in part to these conditions, the industrial vacancy rate in Red Deer is under 5%, with competition for commercial and industrial real estate meaning it is becoming more and more a landlord’s market. As an example, the first 12,000 square foot construction in Red Deer was already 75% leased before it had been built, further evidence that Red Deer is ripe for commercial real estate investment.
Permits are required for new builds in Red Deer, and 1612 of these were issued in 2014, compared to 1522 in the previous year. For the past three years running, new construction investment in Red Deer has topped $200 million, and this trend shows no signs of slowing; indeed, the city is demonstrating its confidence in itself with a number of development projects of its own.
The $30 million dollar revitalization of the G.H. Dawe Community Centre, the $23 million dollar RCMP building, a $27 million dollar, 12-storey executive office building and a $21.3 million dollar multi-level parking structure will all positively affect the commercial opportunities of the city and its population, and should provide confidence to those thinking of commercial real estate investment in Red Deer.
Further investment in revitalizing the downtown core is also in the pipeline, as are plans to continue to transform and enhance the historical downtown, improve cultural spaces along the Riverlands area, and redevelop the Railyard district into an effective urban residential space.
As the third most populous city in Alberta, with a thriving and diverse economy, low operating costs and a young and educated workforce, now is the time for commercial real estate investment in Red Deer.
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