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Published On: Wed, Feb 17th, 2016

Edmonton’s Dan White examines foreign investment in Alberta

Canada is well known for its diversity and inclusion, and recently the country has become known for its sinking Loonie. Despite the subpar dollar performing poorly in the international currency market, there is a silver lining for the Canadian real estate sector.

While the weak currency is keeping many Canadians from purchasing and investing in real estate, it is enticing and drawing in foreign investors who are buying real estate at phenomenal discounts, particularly in the Alberta province. “The bargains are especially attractive in Alberta’s resort country, where home prices in the energy heartland have fallen with the price of oil, adding to the 25 percent drop in the value of the Canadian dollar since 2013,” points out Reuters reporter Allison Lampert.

The new jump in foreign purchased property is not only stabilizing Alberta’s real estate sector, it is also renewing hope that the country wide economic pressures will be short lived. “Things dried up significantly until about six months ago, when the dollar started turning,” said Christian Dubois of Sotheby’s International Realty. “In fairly strong numbers, we’re starting to see inquiries coming again.”

photo/ Darren Kirby - Wikimedia Commons

photo/ Darren Kirby – Wikimedia Commons

Dubois also noted that recent interest from American and British investors was returning to levels unseen in the last decade. These savvy investors realize the Canadian dollar was trading on par with US currency a short while ago, and will undoubtedly regain some of its lost ground, and perhaps even be stronger than before.

“Canada is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m on more of a time schedule because the dollar is so bad,” said Dave Smith, who owns a New York information-technology business and is looking for an Alberta property. “It’s crazy not to invest in it now because it’s just a matter of time before it bounces back.”

Residential real estate isn’t the only real estate sector attracting foreign investors. As Edmonton real estate entrepreneur and businessman Dan White explained, commercial real estate development is helping to breathe life into newly built and underdeveloped areas in Alberta’s capital city.

Edmonton’s Dan White mentioned that the new hockey arena and surrounding Ice District is the largest and fastest growing commercial real estate development in North America and that the project is already creating a buzz and helping to revitalize the image of downtown Edmonton

As White indicated, the Ice District is a multi-phase project that will usher in a new era of entertainment in the prairie city. The massive project has been compared to similar builds in Los Angeles and Toronto; however, the Ice District is larger and moving much quicker through its development stages.

The entertainment complex construction has created a ripple effect of commercial and residential real estate growth throughout downtown Edmonton. “We’re providing the accelerant downtown by providing the anchor amenities for people to work, live and play there,” said Glen Scott, Senior VP Real Estate for Katz Group, the lead on securing all tier one tenants, assets and financing for the Ice District. “It is becoming obvious now that it will significantly reshape the downtown.”

The renowned international hotel brand, J.W. Marriott, recently announced they will turn the space above the Roger Place located in the Ice District into a Marriott hotel.

“We think of it as a luxury brand that has luxury and some approachability to it,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. “In a sense, that’s perfect for Edmonton.”

The Ice District Marriott will be one of three in Canada and reinforces Edmonton’s status as a bustling prairie city.

Author: Mike Luft

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