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Retail leasing at Uptown gains little ground in 12 months

Uptown
Uptown's leasing numbers have seen little growth in the last 12 months. Currently 83 to 85 per cent of retail space is leased out, and 53 to 55 per cent of office space is occupied. These numbers are only up slightly from last year, when retail space was at 82 per cent and office space was at 40 per cent.
— image credit: Don Denton/News staff

Despite high-profile new tenants like the Greater Victoria Public Library, plus another big retail opening to be announced in the spring, leasing numbers at Uptown have gained little ground in the past year.

Leasing numbers at the Saanich complex indicate that growth has been minimal since February 2013, especially on the retail front.

Currently Uptown sits at approximately 75 per cent capacity, with 83 to 85 per cent of retail space leased out and 53 to 55 per cent of office space occupied. These numbers are only up slightly from last year, when retail space was at 82 per cent and office space was at 40 per cent.

“That means about 120,000 square feet of space (left) to fill up in office. The good news is deals are offering and there seems to be improving demand from the medical and equipment side,” said Geoff Nagle, Morguard Investment’s director of development for Western Canada. “We’re doing more than our fair share of deals. We’re working our way through the existing office space.”

Unleased space doesn’t include the 38,000 square feet left vacant when Best Buy, atop the Blanshard Street level, closed its doors.

“There is still a lease in place (there),” Nagle said. “They are actively in discussions with tenants to fill that space. There’s appetite and discussions underway. We’re working with them to help secure replacement tenants.”

Nagle said an announcement for another 30,000 square feet of retail space on the upper level will be made in the coming months.

“The deal’s done, the tenant just has to fit out their space,” Nagle said.

He said 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 just isn’t there.

Plans for a Phase 3 of Uptown development on the land adjacent to Ravine Way, originally planned as two residential towers, are still in the works.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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