By Mario Toneguzzi
A massive master-planned, multi-use project, just outside of Calgary city limits in Rocky View County, is being proposed by Genesis Land Development which would add about one million square feet of showcase retail and outlet centre space to the market.
Officials from Genesis could not be reached for comment but the development’s website says The Omni project being proposed would include 600,000 square feet of showcase retail space; 325,000 square feet of outlet centre space; 60,000 square feet of restaurants and cafes; a 27,000-square-foot children’s creativity zone; 250 senior active living units; 500,000 square feet of office campus space; and 4,000 parking stalls.
The proposal would be east of Calgary city limits along 100th Street just off of Stoney Trail and Highway 564.
“The Omni by Genesis is a master-planned multi use commercial destination strategically located adjacent to the burgeoning upper North East Sector of Calgary offering an unparalleled frontage for commercial profile and visibility to match the stringent locational needs of the top national, regional and local retailers and tenants,” says the company on the project’s website.
“The Omni is well positioned for a multiplicity of uses within this important family-oriented trade region. This comprehensive state-of-the-art development will uniquely integrate seven key pillars of offerings; House & Home District, Convenience Retail District, The OMNI Outlet Centre, The Village & Showcase District, The Legacy District, The Hospitality & Wellness District, and The OMNIWork District.
“Strategically, the adjacent Stoney Trail ring road offers an unparalleled frontage for commercial profile and visibility to match the stringent locational needs of the top national, regional and local retailers and tenants. This development, with its well-conceived category leading components, is expected to become the destination of choice for local and regional residents, business/leisure travelers, and area workforce. For the leading retailers and tenants, The Omni by Genesis represents a unique, timely and unmatched network expansion opportunity in Greater Calgary, the strongest market in Canada.”
Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist with Fairfield Commercial Real Estate in Calgary, said the Calgary-to-Airdrie corridor is experiencing a robust commercial development phase driven by demand for commercial space and a developer-friendly environment in Rocky View County.
“From the upper northeast sector of Calgary northward through Balzac up to the City of Airdrie, new industrial and retail development in the planning stages or under construction mostly in the County is proceeding at an impressive rate,” he said.
“One of the centerpieces of this momentum will be The Omni by Genesis with its master-planned multi-use phased commercial development. The unique focus of each development phase is sure to capture the attention of expansion-minded retailers and other commercial tenants and owners.”
Recent media reports said the project will be discussed at an upcoming provincial Municipal Government Board meeting as the City of Calgary is raising concerns about the area structure plan and the possible strain on emergency services and transportation.
Hani Abdelkader, a vice-president of retail with commercial real estate firm Avison Young in Calgary, said The Omni would come into an area where a lot of retail product is already coming online there and many anchor retailers have been spoken for.
“I would say demand just isn’t there. It’s a fine site but you’ve got to build something specific from an outlet perspective as well,” he said. “From the outlet tenants that we’ve spoken to that are in Balzac, they don’t want to be anywhere near there. The west side will be their focus.”
But Abdelkader said the retail market in Calgary from a leasing perspective is still very strong. It’s performing well. Leasing volume and leasing activity is definitely up across the board. But there is some caution still regarding the market.
“If you’re looking at it from a vacancy point of view, of course it makes sense to build some more retail,” he said. “We barely have any inventory in comparison to other larger markets. From the surface, it would look good but overall there’s still a lot of caution from a big box perspective.”
For more information about The Omni project visit http://theomnicalgary.com
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org