Should investors buy into new downtown report?

An increasing number of locals are feeling more optimistic about Edmonton’s downtown core and its long-term potential. So, should investors take the lead from this report?

People should dismiss the negative perceptions about downtown living, and especially in Edmonton, and start listening to the small number of locals that live there.

That is the message from a new report that looks at the revitalization of the downtown core and its potential to attract more people to reside there. The report was compiled by an MBA student for the Downtown Business Association of Edmonton.

Around 70,000 people work in the downtown area but only 13,000 live there, a majority of which are under-35 years of age.

“Some of the biggest myth perceptions around downtown Edmonton is that it is dead after five,” said Luca Petryshyn, author of the report. He says there has been a 67 per cent increase in late night premises in the vicinity, marking it as one of the most vibrant nightlife economies in Edmonton.

He believes the new downtown arena, Rogers Place, will prove a big pull-factor for people to relocate there. The indoor arena is expected to open before the 2016-17 NHL season.

“In 10 years, I think downtown is really going to be an amazing place. I think you’re going to see vibrant streets, you're going to see a lot of business activity, starts ups, entrepreneurs, settling in and choosing downtown as the place to be,” he says.

The report says that much of the negativity surrounding the downtown is old perceptions still holding. In response, local city officials say now is the challenge to get more people in the vicinity to experience the “new” life in the city.

All of this activity could spur a new wave of investment opportunities for investors, with an increasing number of multi-use projects coming onto the market, including the newly announced 62-storey Stantec Tower.


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