Colliers Ottawa Report

Ottawa’s Office Market at Crossroads as Federal Government Continues to Depart from Downtown Core: Colliers Report

-- Government’s relocation to the suburbs challenges landlords of Class C buildings; trend presents potential to transform city core into mixed-use vibrant hub --

Ottawa, May 1, 2013 – While the first quarter of 2013 was relatively uneventful for Ottawa’s office market, with vacancy rate inching upward by 10 basis points to 8.6 per cent and average rental rate remaining flat at $18.11 per square foot, changes are brewing beneath the surface according to the Colliers International office market report released today. Tenants already located in the Core have been focusing on “right-sizing” their facilities, leveraging new office space design, technologies and telecommuting to maximize efficiency and reduce the size of their office footprints.

Furthermore, as Class A and B buildings still retain a solid prospect, the ongoing exodus of the Federal Government from the Core Business District to the suburbs has put pressure on vacancy rate, forcing it up by 20 basis points to 6.9 per cent the past quarter. This trend drives Class C building owners in the downtown core to a crossroad.

“The departure of an anchor tenant such as the government from Class C buildings is definitely worrisome, but at the same time, it presents an opportunity for repositioning these assets into a lucrative niche market,” states Kelvin Holmes, Managing Director with Colliers International in Ottawa. “With the right capital investment, these buildings can even challenge Class A office towers by transforming them into mixed-use condominiums that attract people to the downtown where they can work and live. This repatriation trend has already begun and bears the potential to change the fabric of the city from a sleepy bureaucratic downtown into a vibrant and lively hub where Ottawa lives, works and plays.”

Ottawa Vacancy Rate

Q1 2013 Ottawa Office Vacancy Rate

Casino Talks

“Talks of building a casino in Ottawa, along with the progress made on the light-rail and public transportation front, are also backing the prospects of Ottawa to become a “little Manhattan” in the future with its own entertainment district,” says Holmes. According to Colliers International’s analysis, the Lebreton Flats are likely to be a front runner for the project, thanks to its proximity to downtown and public transportation access. 

About Colliers International

Colliers International is a global leader in commercial real estate services, with over 13,500 professionals operating out of 482 offices in 62 countries. A subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, Colliers International delivers a full range of services to real estate users, owners and investors worldwide, including global corporate solutions, brokerage, property and asset management, hotel investment sales and consulting, valuation, consulting and appraisal services, mortgage banking and insightful research. The latest annual survey by the Lipsey Company ranked Colliers International as the second-most recognized commercial real estate firm in the world.

In 2011 and 2012, the International Property Awards recognized Colliers International with three awards: Best Commercial Property Consultancy, Best Commercial Property Consultancy Marketing and Best Commercial Property Consultancy Website in Canada.

For the latest international news from Colliers International in Canada, visit or follow us on Twitter: @collierscanada  

For further information and to obtain a full copy of the report, please contact:
Melissa Lee or Gal Wilder at Cohn & Wolfe
e: or
p: 647-259-3266 / 647-259-3261

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