Sidney, B.C.; The Town of Sidney’s Economic Development Commission has published the results of the latest review of downtown commercial vacancies. The review confirms that Sidney’s current commercial vacancy rate in the downtown core is under 8% based on the number of available units, or as low as 3.06% based on available square footage which is the industry standard for determining vacancy rates.
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) has been monitoring Sidney’s downtown vacancies and commercial building trends since May of 2017 after Sidney Council referred an initial report developed by the Sidney BIA to the EDC with the direction of further researching and developing a vacancy registry. Since that time, the EDC sub-committee has undertaken a detailed review on a periodic basis with subsequent reviews in July and September 2017 and the most recent conducted on April 3 of this year. Comparisons of these snapshots in time clearly demonstrate a constant decline in the number of vacancies in Sidney’s downtown core.
Council Liaison to the EDC, Erin Bremner-Mitchell stated, “The purpose of the vacancy registry is to communicate an accurate picture of our retail and commercial sector based on solid facts rather than perception. People see empty storefronts, and they assume that businesses are closing because the business wasn’t doing well when in fact, we are seeing owners retire, businesses relocate elsewhere in the downtown core, and empty storefronts where a building is up for redevelopment”.
The most recent review suggests that commercial space is shrinking temporarily as older buildings are being torn down to make way for redevelopment. In total, 21,433 square feet have been removed since the initial inventory. However, this will be more than made up when the new buildings are finished. It is also fair to say that the new spaces are being picked up quickly.
The vacancy review takes properties under redevelopment out of the tally of square footage, thereby better identifying available space in the downtown and determining a true account of the actual number of vacancies.
Details of the vacancy review indicate a positive forecast for Sidney’s downtown and retail sector. They can be found on the Business page of the Town’s website at: http://www.sidney.ca/Business/Community_Profile/Economic_Indicators/Business_Stats.htm