News Item - Calgary
The void in CalgaryNovember 15, 2021
Thanks to the heft of Alberta's oil and gas industry, Calgary has always had an outsized downtown core for a city of 1.3 million, with double the amount of office space per capita of Toronto's city centre. The number of workers in those towers has become a barometer for the state of the economy. When the price of oil falls, companies lay off staff or go out of business, leaving empty desks behind.
The city has struggled through recessions and busts in the oil patch before, but never like this. And COVID-19 has only compounded the problem. Almost 13.5 million square feet of downtown office space now sits unoccupied, roughly enough capacity for 90,000 workers. Calgary's vacancy rate is almost three times that of Montreal and four times as high as Toronto, and it's only expected to get worse in the coming years.