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Industrial Space for Lease in St. Catharines - 330 Vansickle Road #2

Industrial Space for Lease in St. Catharines - 330 Vansickle Road #2

Industrial space for lease in St. Catharines - 330 Vansickle Road #2. Unit consists of front showrooms, two washrooms, mezzanine, and warehouse with grade level door access and 18 ft. clear height.

Industrial Building for Lease in Beamsville - 4306 Bartlett Road

Welcome to building B at 4306 Bartlett Road in Beamsville, Ontario. The location is minutes from nearby highway access at QEW and Ontario Street, and, Beamsville is a great in between market for industrial or warehouse tenant’s that cater to both Niagara as well as Hamilton and GTA markets due to it’s proximity to both.

The building itself features a very wide grade level door, a common loading dock, and approximately 16 ft. clear height. The building is expected to be available for occupancy around October 1, 2019 after the current tenant vacates and the landlord can complete some work on the building.

Prior to occupancy the landlord plans to insulate the building, bring in a bathroom, and equip it with a 3 phase power supply. For tenant’s that don’t require some of those features or are willing to use common washrooms instead we can discuss some flexibility in the rental rate.

Industrial buildings for rent in Niagara this size with a loading dock really don’t last long on the open market, especially at these rental rates. It would be ideal to act quickly before someone else takes, space like this is in high demand. Contact me if you have questions or interest.

Commercial Space for Lease in St. Catharines - 225 St. Paul Street West

Welcome to 225 St. Paul West, St. Catharines, a building with a nice updated stucco exterior for your business to make a great first impression with. There is plenty of on-site common parking right out front, the lot was recently re-paved too. For retail or food service tenant’s there is ample exposure with expansive window display.

Inside the space feel well lit from the expansive window space. The unit is open concept and cater to a variety of professional uses such as office, retail, medical, service, and food service. The ceiling height is approximately 12’ but there is a drop ceiling at a lower level. The rental rate for the entire space is $12 per sq. ft. for the base rent and $4 per sq. ft. for the TMI. Depending on the tenant the landlord may consider splitting the unit into approximately 1500/2000 sq. ft. units but the asking base rent would be up at $17.95 per sq. ft. instead.

To discuss the opportunities to lease this commercial building please contact me.

Small Office or Institutional building for sale in St. Catharines

Behold 172 Eastchester Ave in St. Catharines with a recent price increase due to the amount of activity. A clean and well maintained small building used for office or institutional uses in the East end of the City. The building has been previously used as a private career college and a church but it can be converted to offices, medical, educational, or other uses.

What makes 172 Eastchester so special? Aside from being well priced at under $200 per sq. ft., this building features 17 on-site parking spaces plus additional free street parking, it has large bay windows that bring in amply natural light, it has a finished basement for more usable space, and it has an elevator which can be re-instated with the implementation of a regular maintenance contract. These are all rare to find features, especially at this price point.

If you are in the market to buy a small office building you will want to check out this listing. Looking for something else? Let me know what you need and I’ll see if I can find an option somewhere by contacting me

Are you an industrial tenant that can't find a building in Niagara?

If you’re an industrial tenant in St. Catharines or Niagara looking on commercial listing websites and noticing nothing with your criteria is coming up or if you’re calling real estate offices with similar results, that’s likely because there aren’t any… at the moment.

The best thing you can do is speak with a reputable commercial real estate broker and let them know what you are looking for and how long you can wait for it. I have conversations daily with tenant’s expressing this frustration, but, sometimes there is a solution if you talk to the right people. I have a database of properties that have leases coming due on the regular. Sometimes I have a creative solution. A conversation with the right commercial real estate broker can make a difference.

I had a conversation with an industrial tenant the other day discussing their timing and expansion options. I happened to make them aware of a building we can pursue in a few months with expansion options a year from now, an option he wouldn’t know about unless that conversation happened.

Right now I’m keeping tabs on the tenant’s looking and when availabilities come up I like to make them aware of it. If you want to be one of the tenant’s that benefits from opportunities that can be created by a commercial broker, please contact me. Don’t expect residential Realtor’s to be of the same level of assistance, their knowledge is usually limited to what is available right now, which isn’t much.

The difference between loading docks and grade level doors in industrial real estate.

I've heard tenant's and landlord's use grade level door and loading dock interchangeably as if they are the same thing. They are not.

Most industrial buildings, units, or space for lease contains a grade level door. It would be rare if a building wasn't equipped with one as they are a standard useful feature. A grade level door opens and closes down to the grade and if that sounds confusing just replace the word grade with ground. The door is level with both inside and outside ground so as you can easily move objects through in and out. Most times these doors are large enough for vehicles to drive through which is an important feature for many tenant's.

The loading dock is different in that the door is truck level and acts as a dock to safely move between building and truck trailer. A transport truck can back its trailer into a loading dock and when parked, it should be possible to enter the truck through the warehouse by flat surface. This makes it possible to load and unload goods quickly, especially with the use of a tow motor or fork lift. Unfortunately loading docks are in demand but have low supply, especially for industrial units under 10,000 sq ft. Compared to grade level doors a loading dock is not cheap or easy to install which is why they are more rare. A property needs to be able to handle truck access to back into a dock as well.

In St. Catharines and the Niagara region it is unfortunately difficult to find loading docks in our current supply of industrial buildings. While there are currently and abundance of grade level doors, it would be good if developers and building owners started recognizing the shortage of loading docks to ensure they are a more common feature for warehouse and distribution tenants needing to rent warehouse space with that feature.

10 things to consider if you're a tenant wanting to buy a commercial or industrial building

I work with a lot of tenant’s and something I commonly hear from them is that their goal is to buy a building. Owning commercial or industrial real estate can be an excellent investment and a worthwhile pursuit, however, I have discovered that most tenant’s with this goal aren’t aware of what is required to buy a building when they make this statement. Not only do I do commercial and industrial leasing, I also do sales, and I want tenant’s to know what the process is like not because I want to discourage them, but because it’s a process that is approached best with eyes open and expectations realistic. I would say most tenant’s abandon this pursuit after learning about the requirements and the process.

To start, the biggest thing you need to know is that getting a commercial real estate mortgage is way different than getting a mortgage for your home for many reasons. It’s common to encounter large downpayment requirements, fees, appraisals, an environmental site assessment etc. which adds time to the approval process. Many residential mortgages achieve approval within a couple weeks, but on the commercial side it could take months. Below is a list of things to consider before you even start looking at properties for sale.

1) High Downpayment Requirements - Probably the most notable obstacle for buying any real estate is ensuring you have enough for a downpayment. In comparison to residential mortgages that can offer a great deal of flexibility on the down payment requirements, it’s common to see a demand of 25% - 40% downpayment. I’ve met many business owners that have assumed this requirement can be much lower and have come to realize they just don’t have the ability to put together that much cash. There may be some flexible exceptions out there through private lending options or through the BDC that can present better options for buyer/users but this is dependent on the business.

2) Bigger Deposits - With bigger downpayment requirements comes the need for bigger deposits (and for other reasons). It’s common for knowledgeable commercial real estate brokers to try and achieve a deposit around 10%. Why? Commercial sales can take a long time to come together and if you’re expecting to tie up someones property with lengthy conditions you need to prove that you’re worth the wait, and, show that you obviously have a good chunk of cash ready for a downpayment. If you’re expecting to tie up a property with a few grand, you may be perceived as unrealistic.

3) Longer Closings - In comparison to home sales which can go firm within a couple weeks, it’s common for commercial sales to take a couple months, sometimes even longer depending on the structure of the deal. The main culprit for longer deals is usually the financing where lenders request environmental site assessments that can take anywhere from weeks to months to complete. It would be wise to expect occupancy of the building to be months into the future, don’t expect to be moving your business in within the span of a month. It’s not impossible, just very unlikely.

4) Different Mortgage Requirements - In addition to high down payment requirements, commercial mortgages are typically structured differently. The interest rates are different from residential and it’s not common to get an amortization period as long as you could achieve in a residential mortgage. Not only are the down payments higher, your mortgage payments will be higher with having to pay the building off sooner. It’s also common to come across fees in the process of commercial lending which is not something you typically encounter when buying a house.

5) Environmental Site Assessments - In Canada (and probably most of the United States) it is standard for commercial mortgage lenders to request an ESA for commercial and industrial properties to prove it is within ministry of environment standards. Most times it is standard for the seller to prove the property is within MOE standards so the cost of the report usually falls on them, but, this condition can take anywhere from weeks to months to complete which can create a lengthy conditional period and a potentially drawn out closing. Things usually get drawn out and costly if contamination is discovered.

6) Lender Selection - You would think that most of Canada’s big banks are a great source for a commercial mortgage but few actually specialize or excel in offering this service. If you’re not exactly happy with your preferred bank for commercial mortgages you may want to explore lenders that specifically market themselves for that service.

7) Borrowing Potential - If you think that owning a building might be the best thing for your business, it actually may not be for everyone. Each business only has the potential to borrow so much money and if it’s perceived that most or all of your borrowing potential is tied up in bricks and mortar, it may be difficult or impossible to borrow money for other business purposes, like if you wanted to borrow to upgrade some expensive equipment or make alterations to the property. Unfortunately I have met some tenant’s who have felt that buying a building paralyzed their business growth and regretted their decision. The positive idea of building ownership can make you blind to this potentiality.

8) Lease Payments are Tax Deductible - Mortgage payments… not as much.

9) Cost of Alterations - Unless you’re building new to spec, you will likely find it impossible to find a building that is perfect for your business needs in its current state. Alterations to make sure the building is a good fit for your business are almost always necessary because the previous business was different and had different layout needs than your business. The cost may not necessarily be high in some situations but you will want to make sure you have a proper budget allocated for this after closing.

10) Maintenance and Repairs - As a tenant the building is likely repaired and maintained by arrangements through the landlord or a property management. This is handy because it allows tenant’s to focus on their business and not maintaining a property. Once you buy a building you become the landlord and are now responsible for arranging repairs and maintenance, just something to keep in mind.

If after reading this you feel that buying a building is the right thing for your business then please reach out and lets see if there are some options available for you in the Niagara Market. It would be wise to ensure the agent you’re working with has experience with commercial or industrial real estate sales.

2019 Industrial Lease Rates for St. Catharines

In the last year industrial lease rates have once again soared past expectations. This is what happens when business is good and there aren’t enough buildings to house everyone.

For those curious, this is a very general approach to industrial building lease rates in St. Catharines. In the East end of the city, quality B class buildings will start around $6.50 per sq. ft. for base rent, $7+ per sq. ft. or higher can be justified for A class. For the West end of the city B class would start around $7 base rent and A class industrial buildings are now achieving over $8 per sq. ft. and might creep closer towards $10 if things continue at the rate they do.

To ensure that you are paying market rental rates it would be wise to enlist the services of a commercial real estate broker that not only possesses that knowledge, but also knows when and where to find the building or space you need for your business.

Niagara Spring 2019 Industrial Market Update - There is no small space

Industrial Warehouse

Industrial Warehouse

As vacancy shrinks and rental rates rise in this crazy industrial market, it’s important to keep these conditions in mind as you search for industrial buildings or space for lease for your business. This blog applies to all of Niagara, especially St. Catharines.

If you’re looking for something under 10,000 sq. ft. start looking very early and be patient. Speak with knowledgable industrial brokers with their ear to the ground and may be able to make you aware of a coming vacancy months in advance.

If you’re looking for a space under 5000 sq. ft… good luck. At the moment there is either none or very few viable options available. You will need to be patient, and, if a vacancy comes on the market be sure to jump on it as soon as possible assuming you will have competition. Don’t assume there’s desperation from the landlord, there isn’t. It’s a landlord’s market so be sure to approach the situation in that way.

For tenant’s looking to get on a wait list for listings as they come available, please contact me to see what your options are.

The industrial Real Estate Business Parks in Fort Erie

Fort Erie is in the bottom right corner of the Niagara Region and last stop in Canada before the USA by the Peace Bridge border crossing. This border crossing gives Fort Erie unique opportunities for industrial businesses regularly importing or exporting from the United States.

Businesses that are keen on having close proximity to the border take note; there is an industrial park Located just off of the Gilmore Road exit of the QEW highway. That’s less than 10 minutes from the United States (granted you have a quick and smooth border crossing). The industrial park is visible from the highway. Most buildings are located on Pettit Road, just off of Gilmore Road.

For industrial businesses looking for buildings with a convenient border crossing, you will want to check out Fort Erie. Lease rates in this area can also be a little lower when compared to larger municipalities in Niagara, such as St. Catharines, Niagara on the Lake, and Niagara Falls.

12 important things to consider when you search for industrial real estate for lease

Industrial Warehouse

Industrial Warehouse

Searching for the ideal industrial building for your business goes beyond finding something that is the ideal size and budget. There are a number of features to consider in your search for industrial space for lease to ensure your term in the building is a comfortable one. Below are important criteria to keep and mind and consider in your search for industrial property, none of these are in any particular order.

1) Clear Height - Having a space that is an adequate size in footprint is useless if it doesn’t have an adequate clear height to rack your inventory high enough that you won’t run out of space. Generally speaking, if you’re a warehouse and distribution tenant, having more height allows you to rack higher and save on the number of square feet you occupy. Higher clear height often creates an opportunity to use your space more efficiently by racking up rather than expanding outward.

2) Power Supply - If you manufacture or use a lot of computers and equipment to run your operation you will want to ensure the space you are planning to lease has an adequate power supply. If your business has a requirement for 3 phase power you will want to make sure the unit is equipped with it.

3) Loading Docks - Another popular feature among warehouse and distribution tenant’s is loading docks. Loading docks are truck trailer height and allow for easy movement of inventory on and off of trucks. Unfortunately not all industrial buildings in Niagara have loading docks, in fact we likely have a shortage in comparison to other areas of the province and country. It can take a bit longer to source a building with loading docks, especially if you’re looking for something under 10,000 sq. ft. in St. Catharines or the Niagara Region. If you’re looking to relocate soon and loading docks are a priority, you may want to start your search earlier just in case.

4) Grade Level Doors - Unlike loading docks, grade level doors open at ground level, not truck trailer level. These doors are more common than loading docks and most industrial buildings have them. These doors are used by most industrial businesses however shipping and receiving inventory through them isn’t nearly as easy as using a loading dock. It’s important to make note of the sizes of grade level doors if you have larger items coming and going.

5) Location - Most industrial operations ship and receive goods by transport trucks so a location with close proximity to the highway is usually preferred. Ensuring the location is easy to get to for trucks is important. If you have a lot of employees you may want to locate somewhere with access to public transit. Some operations may prefer to have a rail spur or access to a waterway for shipping. Some industrial businesses are noisy or produce a strong odour which would be a good reason to locate somewhere a little isolated away from housing and other businesses. These are items to consider based on the demands of your business and a good industrial agent can help you find what’s best.

6) Truck Access - Further to the point above you need to ensure the property itself can allow for the proper flow of trucks to ensure shipments and deliveries come and go as you expect them to. There are some poorly designed properties that make it very difficult for trucks to come and go as they should and those properties should be avoided.

7) Type of Heating - The two most common forms of heating in industrial buildings is either forced air gas or radiant tube. Usually it’s a matter of preference but there are some businesses that can’t work with one or the other for various reasons. In terms of efficiency, in a warehouse setting many operations tend to have a preference for radiant heat as it heats the surfaces and not the air, that way when someone opens a grade level door you don’t lose all your heat.

8) Parking - If you have a lot of employees and a good portion of them own vehicles, you need to ensure the building you have selected has enough parking capacity, otherwise you can run into an issue.

9) Office Space - Most industrial businesses have some requirement for office but not all. For those that do, the space space is rarely more than 10-20% of the total size of the unit. You won’t find exactly what you’re looking for so it’s best to keep the big picture in mind and ensure the industrial/warehouse portion of the space meets your needs more than the office. The office is an after thought that can be modified if necessary.

10) Column Spacing - Depending on your equipment, the flow of your manufacturing, the type of racking you have etc., you may need to keep the distance between columns in mind. For example, if you need to fit a 25 foot machine in between columns that are only 20 feet apart, you have a problem. It’s important to share minimum column spacing requirements with you Realtor to keep note of in the hunt for space.

11) Plumbing and Drainage - Aside from needing a washroom and a kitchen, some industrial operations require additional plumbing and drains throughout their unit. Make sure the buildings you have focused on can have plumbing and drains where needed for your business to function as it should.

12) Work with a Commercial Real Estate Agent - I’ve complained about this in other blogs and I can’t state it enough, now is not the time to hire the agent that sold your house. If you expect knowledge and competence when making a major commitment to a long term lease, you want to ensure your requirements are fulfilled and you want your interests protected. The best way to do this is to hire a commercial real estate agent who has the knowledge, skills, and experience in industrial real estate leasing to help you pull that off. Using an agent that sells houses and doesn’t possess those qualities can create a lot of headaches and unwanted problems during the process and well after the move.

If you want to know more about finding the ideal industrial building please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions.

The Prime Commercial Real Estate Areas of St. Catharines

Most main artery roads in St. Catharines have commercial retail plazas but if you’re looking for the most prime, high traffic areas you will want to consider one of the areas below or close proximity.

1) Fourth Avenue - Located just off of Highway 406 where Welland Avenue from central St. Catharines turns into 4th Ave. and continues into the West end of the city with new plazas and the hospital. This stretch is arguably one of the highest traffic areas of the city, it’s also an area of the city that is still growing (to an extent). You can find most retail amenities in this area of the city with big box stores in the Smart Centres developments, medical buildings around the hospital, and other retail buildings that house a mix of local and franchise tenant’s. A great deal of benefit can be had to locating in this area but it comes at a price with base rental rates usually starting around $18 per sq. ft.

2) Glendale Avenue (Penn Centre area) - The stretch of Glendale that runs from Merritt Street , under Highway 406 and ends after the Penn Centre is another commercial district that is incredibly high traffic. There is a mix of new buildings, old buildings, and even some nice redeveloped buildings such as where The Keg and Johnny Rocco’s, as well as the city’s largest shopping mall the Penn Centre. With a diverse mix of retailers, food options, and even government services such as the passport office, it’s no wonder Glendale Avenue is packed with traffic during business hours. You might be able to find base rents as low as $16 per sq. ft. in older buildings but you will likely be paying over $20 in most areas.

3) YMCA Drive / Fairview Mall - This is actually a large block of big box retailers and a shopping mall located next to the QEW highway. It is bordered by Lake Street to the West, the QEW to the South and Geneva Street to the East. The Fairview Mall is actually quite small but has some notable tenant’s such as Chapters, Ikea, LCBO and grocery stores such as Zerhs and Food Basics. One of the largest traffic draws in this block is Costco which is connected off YMCA Drive along with Home Depot, Pet’s Mart, and a YMCA. This is retail area may be the most central in the city and there is quite a bit of plaza development and traffic in the surrounding neighbourhoods as a result.

Other notable high traffic commercial retail areas would be Ontario Street from Calrton to the QEW, Lake Street from the QEW to Lakeport, Lakeshore Road from Lakeport to Geneva, Scott Street from Vine to Niagara, Welland Ave from Grantham to Bunting, Hartzel Road from Queenston to Merritt, Port Dalhousie, and downtown.

The Industrial Business Parks of St. Catharines

Searching for industrial buildings for lease or sale in Niagara won’t provide you with many options in our current market, especially if you are looking in St. Catharines. It’s a market where you will need to act quick if you do happen to find industrial space for lease, but where should you focus your efforts in searching?

St. Catharines has five main industrial parks to look into, each with its own advantages. I separate each with the labels of the East End, West End, Port Weller, Hiscott, and Secord/Nihan. There are some pockets of industrial buildings that can be found throughout the city, however, the majority of industrial buildings and businesses can be found in these areas.

Arguably the largest industrial park in St. Catharines is the East End which is bordered by the canal to the East, Welland Avenue to the North, The service roads (Dieppe and Dunkirk) to the South, and it sort of sprawls West past Bunting along the highway and service roads and even a little past the other side of the highway on Welland Ave and and Berryman. The closest highway access point for this industrial business park is Niagara Street at QEW. The types of businesses in this area are a diverse mix and the street often has a reputation for catering to specific industries. Take Bunting Road for example, you will find a lot of showroom uses often catering to the home/building improvements, home and building decor, and furniture. The service roads, and Welland Avenue will offer some service based industries as well as warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing. Cushman Road and Seapark Drive attracts mostly warehouse and distribution with some heavier manufacturing uses mixed in. There seems to be quite a few cabinet makers in the area along with some automotive uses if the building allows for it. The advantage locating an industrial business in this area is that the rent is usually reasonable, and with being the largest industrial park there are often other businesses in close proximity you can create a working relationship with.

Depending on the type of business you operate, the West End industrial parks of St. Catharines have been growing rapidly and may be the most sought after location for cleaner industrial uses. This area is comprised of Vansickle Road to the West, Louth to the East, St. Paul West to the South, and Benfield to the North… and even though it’s a few minutes up Martindale, I classify the business park on Hannover Drive to be part of the West End industrial park because the types of buildings and businesses they attract are quite similar. As far as industrial real estate rents go, the West End tends to have the highest in the city, and because most of the buildings are newer and offer some different zoning options, the additional rents are often higher due to higher property tax. The advantage comes to those who want a building and location with a more prestigious look which mostly caters to the showroom, service, and distribution based businesses. While you can certainly find manufacturing in this area you definitely won’t notice dirty operations. The West End industrial business park of St. Catharines enjoys highway access from QEW at Martindale Road as well as Highway 406 at Fourth Ave.

Port Weller, in my opinion, is an unusual location for an industrial park. Back in the day some businesses may have set up shop here due to proximity to the canal and lake access, but it has grown and expanded beyond that. The area is setup with Lakeshore Road to the South, the canal to the West, Read Road to the East, Northrup to the North, and Keefer Road running down the middle. The advantage to being in this industrial park is that it usually has the lowest rents and sale prices in the city, but that comes at a cost. For an industrial park, Port Weller can be a bit isolating for multiple reasons, mostly to do with location. Industrial businesses tend to enjoy close highway access but in this park, it can often take 10 minutes or longer to get and from the highway, or much longer if the bridge is up. The other location disadvantage is that this area is on the other side of the canal from the rest of the city so in terms of access and amenities most things are on the other side of the canal bridge which goes up and down for ships most of the year. Not only is this area a considerable distance from the highway, employees and deliveries can be frequently delayed by the canal bridge. Speaking of employees they will need to have a car to reach this area of the city because the bus service ends on the other side of the canal. Businesses that are attracted to Port Weller due to the cost difference should definitely keep the location disadvantages in mind before committing your business to being there long term.

I consider both Hiscott and Secord/Nihan industrial parts to be small but centrally located with very quick highway access through QEW at Ontario Street or Lake Street interchanges. The buildings in these neighbourhoods often cater to smaller uses that are service, showroom, or distribution based. Rents in this area are fairly average but can easily be as high as the West End depending on the quality of building and location and vacancies are usually rare.

So there you have it, a simplified breakdown of the industrial neighbourhoods of St. Catharines. If you are having difficulty determining where is right for your business, don’t hesitate to contact me for more detailed insight.

Industrial Market Update: Where can you find industrial space for lease?

If you are an industrial tenant in St. Catharines or the Niagara Region looking for space under 10,000 sq. ft., you have probably noticed there is little or nothing to pick from. We have reached a point in our market where if something comes available, tenant’s need to act quickly. This is especially true for quality industrial space which there is indeed a shortage of. I’m now in the habit of listing leasing opportunities well in advance of their occupancy date.

At the moment I have two great industrial spaces coming available in 2019 at 101 Hannover Drive in St. Catharines. The building is located in a professional business park very close to the QEW highway and Martindale Road, surrounded by plenty of amenities.

The first unit is 5600 sq. ft. and will be available in April or May. The unit features 18 ft. clear height and a grade level door. The space is still tenanted so interior photos will follow.

The second unit is 9300 sq. ft will be available at the end of 2019. and is equipped with a loading dock, grade level door, and 1-2 tonne cranes which is an incredibly rare find in this market. Interior photos will be posted shortly.

If you’re an industrial tenant in need of quality space in St. Catharines I would love to hear from you to see if this property or any others might be of interest.

What is Vegan Real Estate?

This may seem like an odd blog to appear on a website about commercial leasing, but trust me it's not irrelevant. I have been a vegan for over 8 years now and it is a particularly interesting time in history to be a vegan. Veganism or plant based living have been lifestyle concepts for much longer than people think but the number of people who now identify themselves as vegan has exploded in the last few years. We believe veganism has passed its tipping point and is now spreading like wildfire.

So what does veganism have to do with commercial real estate?

To start, veganism goes beyond food choices although that is usually the starting point for someone adopting a vegan lifestyle. A vegan is a person that abstains from consuming or using animal products so it goes beyond avoiding meat, dairy and eggs in your diet. Most vegans will go to great lengths to eliminate animal products in their clothing, accessories, furniture, decor, and vehicles where it may be common to come across ivory, leather, bone, pearls, feathers, and so on. To go even further vegan's will avoid any activity that puts animals in captivity or exploits them which include zoos, aquariums, and animal based theme parks. The decision to go vegan is usually motivated by a mix of health, compassion, and environmental concerns. While veganism is a personal choice, plant based living is a very community based lifestyle which has evolved into a trend towards vegan real estate for such communities to thrive.

So what is vegan real estate? In the most basic sense we can make the assumption that vegan real estate is a property that is free of animal products but it can go way beyond that. Most vegans are concerned about the environment so they desire a structure that was built with sustainable materials (if possible or available) and incorporates green energy sources (if possible or available). But nothing much about that goes beyond the scope of what people would already describe as being environmentally friendly, so what more does it need to be classified as vegan?

Going back to the community aspect of plant based living, vegans don't necessarily limit their social circles to other vegans only, but they do enjoy being surrounded by like minded people on the regular. For that reason vegan establishments and neighbourhoods have started to pop up such as Vegandale in Toronto. Other examples do exist throughout North America mostly along the West Coast in the United States and in areas of Hawaii. Even taking a local Niagara example, Downtown St. Catharines has a very noticeable vegan population with many businesses in the area catering to the lifestyle.

The way this impacts real estate is that vegan businesses will want to work with like minded vegan commercial real estate brokers. Vegan businesses will also want to be located among like minded businesses and community members so that they can easily attract their ideal customer demographic. From a leasing perspective they may be focused on creating restrictions on surrounding uses being contrary to the lifestyle and customer base (if possible). For tenant's in the food service business there will likely be emphasis on pest prevention rather than pest control. These are just some of many examples of how a commercial real estate lease can cater to vegan businesses or landlord's.

The conclusion? It is clear that vegans act just like many cultural groups in that they like to locate close to each other for community aspect and sometimes have an obvious presence in certain neighbourhoods as both residents and businesses. As the number of people who identify as vegans increases we will see its influence and impact on commercial and residential real estate developments, neighbourhoods, and communities in years to come. While the concept of vegan real estate may seem vague and obscure to most, the influence in real estate is still fresh and will evolve into something bigger and better over time as more of the population transitions to this lifestyle.

As Canada's only vegan commercial real estate broker I love hearing from plant based business owners and answering questions on this subject so feel free to reach out.

 

 

Niagara's Industrial Real Estate Market Heats Up

If you're an industrial tenant on the move in the Niagara Region you have probably noticed by now that there isn't much out there to select from, especially if your business is under 5000 sq. ft. Even for larger tenant's it's still slim picking.

What we are experiencing is simply a supply and demand issue. There are an abundance of tenant's looking but simply not enough property available. In St. Catharines for example, this has caused average base rents to escalate quickly over the last few years from an average around $5 to $6 per sq. ft. towards $7 per sq. ft. in 2018. (keep in mind these rental rates are for quality spaces)

There appears to be no end in sight for the supply and demand issue in the industrial market. While the Niagara Region is expanding and bustling with residential development, there has been very little development in the industrial sector to create more supply and cool the lease rates for available space. With landlord's enjoying low vacancy rates combined with higher rental rates there is a lack of desperation to be flexible and negotiable for new and existing tenant's.

It's important for industrial tenant's to make sure they are working with a knowledgable commercial / industrial realtor for access to the most up to date opportunities, and to ensure they are being competitive enough when they find the building they want to pursue. Submitting a well written competitive offer will increase your chances of success so it's important to make sure you're working with a knowledgable commercial agent for the best approach.