While many companies have been abandoning office space in downtown Calgary as they downsize or shut down, others are seeing bargains in what's been left behind.
H&R Block, for example, just moved its Canadian headquarters from the city's southeast to the downtown core, firing up operations in its new location on Tuesday.
- Downtown office vacancy rates top 21%, Cresa says
- Calgary office vacancy rate nears 25%, Re/Max says
President Rick Brown said the new head office at Seventh Avenue and Second Street S.W. was attractive because it's centrally located, close to the C-Train and came with a great lease.
"It was a good one from a long-term perspective," he said of the deal. "Obviously the economic viability of being downtown today is much different than three years ago, when I first came here."
Office vacancy rates have been hovering between 20 and 25 per cent, according to various, recent reports.
Scott Crockatt with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce hopes more companies will see the opportunity in bringing their operations to the city, now that so much space is available — much of it at prices that would have been hard to imagine not too long ago.
"This is a time where you can find office space in many locations, especially the downtown core, which currently has the most availability for people to come and take advantage of the space and to position themselves as Calgary being their Canadian headquarters or their Western Canadian headquarters," he said.
Deana Haley with Calgary Economic Development said the group is actively promoting the advantages of the city's downtown core as a head-office location to companies looking for cost savings now and in the future.
"This is a great time to position yourself for future growth and opportunity in Calgary," she said.
"I hope it's going to be a trend, because we're definitely going out there and trying to get more companies to take advantage of fantastic, well built space in our downtown."