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Riaz Mamdani: Repurposing office space is part of the solution

The following excerpt is from the Globe and Mail article “Can millennials save Calgary’s vacancy crisis?” 

Millennials are breathing new life into Calgary’s empty office towers, industry insiders say. But it’s not a return to business as usual.

“We’re battling the storm,” says developer Riaz Mamdani, who has successfully repurposed several empty office buildings into hip new rentals and self-storage space targeting those who can’t or no longer wish to own.

“The market is changing,” says Mr. Mamdani, chief executive officer of Strategic Group, one of Canada’s largest privately held real-estate companies. “Millennials are more interested in renting than owning. We’re creating a lot more purpose-built rentals than ever existed before.”

Office conversions are the hallmark of Strategic Group’s business plan. By the end of 2020, the company expects to have reduced its Alberta office space by 18 per cent and increased its residential units by 53 per cent.

It’s a business strategy necessitated out of “desperation,” says Mr. Mamdani, because the company invested in commercial real estate prior to the collapse of the energy industry that devastated Alberta and Calgary, the headquarter capital of the oil sector…

Read the rest at the Globe and Mail.