Uptown optimistic it can fill Best Buy space

Less than one week after Best Buy abruptly shut its doors at Uptown, discussions are well underway to fill the 38,000-square-foot void.

Less than one week after Best Buy abruptly shut its doors at Uptown, discussions are already well underway to fill the 38,000-square-foot void.

“Certainly you never want to see a store closure … but this (particular vacancy) is great news from our perspective because it has excellent loading, high exposure, great location, ample parking – and that makes it an in-demand unit,” said Geoff Nagle, Morguard Investment’s director of development for Western Canada.

Nagle remains optimistic that ongoing talks will result in a new tenant taking over that space in the near future, but a retailer packing up shop and increasing Uptown’s vacancy rate is not something he wanted to see. With about 800,000 square feet overall at Uptown, Best Buy occupied about four per cent of the shopping centre’s floorspace.

Uptown has seen large retailers such as H&M and Forever 21 recently open up shop, and Rebalance MD health care clinic has taken up 10,000 square feet of space, but the centre is still struggling to find enough commercial tenants.

Nagle says 82 per cent of the site’s overall retail space is called for, while 40 per cent of the office space is leased.

“The story since 2009 and 2010 has been one of uncertainty and long, slower decision-making. Every deal is a long discussion, and a lot of pre-leasing that would’ve occurred prior to construction completion isn’t happening anymore – globally,” he said. “Everybody’s being very careful with their capital investments.”

The real estate market has changed in the last decade, Nagle says, referring to his predictions 10 years ago around what Uptown would be when it was just a seed of an idea.

“Probably the biggest difference between a decade ago and now is we won’t build on spec – just build and they will come. Now you’ve got to be very conservative, make sure you’ve got your deals before you execute,” he says.

Nagle says Uptown’s leasing rates are competitive, and what they can offer to businesses – LEED gold buildings in a prime location – is desirable. But the demand isn’t there.

“We can’t force a market,” he said.

The same can be said for the still-planned third phase of Uptown: two 36-storey residential towers. Those plans will stay on hold until there’s a demand for it and there’s sufficient financial backing.

But Nagle sees trends moving in a positive direction for the future of Uptown, albeit slowly right now.

“It’s a testament to the site. This is the bull’s eye of the region,” he said. “Until it’s 110 per cent leased with people waiting, I’m never happy.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Drug Use: High school students comfortable talking about marijuana but not other drugs

Teens not always willing to make the first move to get help

Sooke Road bus pullouts now operational, says province

Pullouts are located at the West Shore Parkway, Laidlaw Road and Harbourview Road

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged Victoria fentanyl dealer

Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to the investigation

B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all) revels in return to Esquimalt

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of the Maritime Forces Pacific

Victoria Ska and Reggae Fest fills harbour with music

Music festival wraps with free party Sunday at Ship Point

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

Man brandishes axe during robbery

Mounties were able to locate the suspect within two hours of the incident

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Most Read