The Race for Space: Office Boom, Retail Explosion on the Horizon

Traditional office parks and strip malls may be going the way of the dodo, but the rise of retail therapy and top of the line office spaces will be the trend to watch in 2014.

With so much condo construction rounding up this year and the next, it’s no surprise that retail is following right behind. All those new homeowners are going to need places to eat, drink and shop – and with that comes new jobs and more prosperity.

“Retail Follows Rooftops”

But with more condos being built and sold than detached homes, it’s more like retail following elevators instead. All of those condo buyers have to have somewhere to eat, somewhere to shop. Even major retailers are starting to build multilevel stores in tight, urban environments that follow suit of multi-level dwellings.

Even with the explosive growth in online shopping, Canadians still prefer big box (and small box!) shops on a day to day basis. Think about it, how often do you trek to Ikea or Costco when you could get that online? There are few things in life worse than paying shipping both ways for something that you could have got on a 15 minute drive to a local shop, instead.

Two Storey Urban Stores the New Normal

Walmart, Home Depot and other big box shops are moving towards building storefronts that are multi-level. Gone are the days with stores that sprawled for miles end to end and here come the two and three storey Walmarts that follow the elevators in the race to the top.

How high will they go? No one knows.

But there are only so many square feet in our cities, it’s only logical that even retail should begin its spire skyward. With the way we work, live and play constantly changing, retail has to follow suit.

Office Workers Need Less Space, More Retail

With more workers telecommuting from home, the needs of office space are changing. Many of those old office parks just don’t cut it anymore; too far from transit lines and out in the suburbs, they just don’t attract the young, innovative minds that want to live and work in the city.

A few recent studies have shown that you only need 150 sq. ft. per worker, and with many offices using collaborative huddles and “hot desking” (multiple shifts use the same desk and just trade off when the next shift begins), the need for those vast open spaces meant to be packed with cubicles just don’t cut it anymore.

Better yet, most companies have seriously reduced the amount of in-house personnel; it’s been suggested that older office spaces be transformed into condos and multi-family dwellings for rent to put all that real estate to use.

Either way, 2014 promises to be a year of great change, especially for Canada’s urban centres. While a 5 storey Walmart may be a long way off, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. Strange days are ahead, indeed.

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. For a listing of luxury homes for sale in the Oakville area visit their homes for sale page here:

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