Given the current economy and the rapid changes in the commercial real estate Victoria BC landscape, location can mean everything for a business. Factors like the increased popularity of suburban shopping power centres like Langford and Uptown and the decrease in retail activities in downtown Victoria can influence the success of a retail venture.
Suburban centres vs. downtown Victoria
According to a recent report by Colliers International, the Victoria retail real estate market was still performing well at the end of 2012. The suburban market was especially strong, with Uptown attracting major tenants. The downtown core remained stable, however, with little increase in activity and a potential decrease in tourist spending. The vacancy rate remained about the same, from 7.4% in 2011 to 7.1% in 2012.
The shopping centres around Uptown have to significantly up the ante to remain competitive: centres like Broadmead Village, Hillside Mall and Tillicum Centre have all begun renovations to improve the shopping experience. There has been no new major tenancy in the downtown core, and the stores tend to remain small, local and specialized, with a strong focus on tourist spending.
Colliers considers that rent costs downtown will remain more or less the same, with a slight downward pressure compensated by higher taxes and operating costs.
How this affects our tenants
Because major retailers decide to open their stores in suburban centres rather than downtown, it brings potential interest to our own suburban spaces. We notably have space near Uptown. Our retailers can thus take advantage of their proximity to Uptown to attract new customers by offering an “all-in-one” shopping experience.
These trends also show that there is a current revitalization of suburban shopping. People are less willing to go downtown to buy what they need, and would rather stay closer to home. This is advantageous because our tenants can also bring attention to their proximity and their part in the local community.
As a company, we strive to be part of Greater Victoria’s local shopping landscape, and the opportunities for suburban retail spaces are growing. A strong focus on local business will differentiate our retail spaces from the bigger centres and will provide a friendly neighourhood service that serves focused, local needs.