Commercial property in downtown cores have lost value in recent years.
Demand for downtown office space is diminished because many companies remain operating on hybrid or remote models initiated during the thick of the Pandemic and thus require fewer desks at headquarters than they did three years prior.
“As remote and hybrid work arrangements become not just accepted but expected, companies are consolidating the amount of office space they lease,” a May report from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy reads. According to the report, downtown offices are experiencing higher vacancy levels than suburban ones, “Flipping the historical trend.”
Another reason is that the hiring market has cooled notably, with many tech firms across Canada downsizing.
But developers in Alberta, alongside a feisty fintech from BC, are pushing for change. They’re using technology to enable Canadians to invest in converting unused commercial space into residential units.
In a boost to ongoing revitalization efforts in downtown Calgary, Peoplefirst Developments has announced the listing of their newest project, The Cornerstone, on addy, a real estate crowdsourcing platform hailing from Vancouver.
The Cornerstone offers an opportunity for anyone to participate in the rejuvenation of downtown Calgary. This democratized approach to property investment aligns with Peoplefirst’s mission of fostering transformed communities. The Cornerstone marks their second building launch on addy.
Founded in 2021, Peoplefirst aims to “return people and vitality to Calgary’s Downtown Core.”
“Revitalizing the Core is as simple as providing people a place to live,” the developer explains. “By transforming empty office towers into vibrant, modern, and attainable residential spaces, we’re putting people where they matter most.”
The Cornerstone is a 10-story, 129,000-square-foot office building. It is set to undergo conversion into 112 two- and three-bedroom residential units. The completed project will also include a second-floor co-working space and main-floor retail space.
“Through our partnership with addy, we are excited to give everyone the chance to own a piece of Calgary and invest in the future growth and development of this great city,” Maxim Olshevsky, Managing Director of Peoplefirst Developments stated.
The transformation is expected to be completed by year’s end.
Addy cofounder Stephen Jagger expressed enthusiasm about the partnership.
“We believe in creating a future where real estate ownership is inclusive and abundant, and addy is proud to be at the forefront of this movement,” he said.
Driven by an ambition to democratize real estate investment, addy provides a unique opportunity to the general public. The platform offers members the chance to invest in institutional-grade commercial real estate across Canada, starting with as little as $1.
Last year the fintech released the “addyverse” and a mobile app.
“From your palm, you can now invest in a commercial complex, business park, or apartment building alongside thousands of other community members,” Jagger stated in 2022.
Earlier this year almost 800 Canadians invested more than $500,000 into a conversion of the 11-story Petro Fina building in Calgary from office space to more than 100 homes.