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Diversified housing a key to unlocking Downtown Edmonton’s inertia, experts say – Edmonton Examiner

Nov 06, 2023

Edmonton’s Downtown needs some outside-the-box thinking if the city hopes to attract more residents to the core, according to a panelists at a recent housing summit.

“Edmonton has the second highest office vacancy rate in the country,” Cory Wosnack, principal and managing director of Avison Young, told the Housing For All symposium Thursday at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

He said current numbers are mirroring those of 1997, when a Downtown office report highlighted an 18 per cent office vacancy rate.

Wosnack said city council back then provided contractors incentives for each new residence, and 16 office buildings were converted to residential occupancy. By 2007, the Downtown population had burgeoned by almost 10,000 residents and the office vacancy rate dropped to five per cent.

Then, in a 14-year lull, the population rate slowed, adding a net of just 2,000 more residents.

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