Winnipeg hosted its third biennial Winnipeg Real Estate Forum this spring with another impressive gathering of the “who’s who” in commercial real estate. As was the case with the two previous installments of this successful event, it drew many outsiders to find out first-hand why Winnipeg is one of the best places to do business. What makes this forum so effective is the way it draws key players together. Be it brokers, developers, asset managers, financing specialists, senior government officials, investors or other specialists who focus on commercial real estate, this forum really does create a synergy of ideas about emerging trends unique to Winnipeg’s strengths.
Just this past month, London’s Financial Times ran a story entitled, Why Winnipeg is One of the Best Places to do Business in Canada. Maybe word got out from the Winnipeg Real Estate Forum about some of the exciting new developments in Winnipeg. However it happened, the fact is that Winnipeg was not only given a great headline, but the article reflected on some very positive developments.
For one, it said KPMG named the city the least expensive place to do business in Western Canada. It also noted a good quote from WinnipegREALTORS® on some of the City’s new shiny assets such as the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, Investors Group Field, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It also mentioned CentrePort and its potential to set Winnipeg up as a major freight-forwarding destination in North America.
The story mentioned the strength of the local residential real estate market. It has clearly been one if the best performing markets in the country for the last number of years.
Proof of some of the success has been how quickly Waverley West lands in southwest Winnipeg have been subdivided and how many new houses have been built.
It quoted from a report from RE/MAX that this major new development is “running a full eight years ahead of estimates.”
Financial Times reporter Francesca Steele spoke about our well-established arts scene, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, numerous theatres and the Winnipeg Symphony all being mentioned. Even the Fringe Festival, which just wrapped up, was acknowledged.
If there had been more space to elaborate on why Winnipeg is getting noticed, what would Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW) have to share with her?
Here is what Greg Dandewich, senior vice-president of EDW, said to back up her story’s headline: “Winnipeg’s resilient economy, particularly over the past decade, is the result of a balanced and diversified industry portfolio. Its economy is built upon several strategic sectors that have proven stable through various global financial cycles, yielding continued GDP growth, low unemployment, and steady and growing capital investments. An economic engine that includes aerospace, financial services, transportation/distribution logistics, information and communications technology, life sciences and agribusiness provides a solid foundation for Winnipeg’s steady economy.
“When coupled with the lowest overall business costs in Western Canada and the Midwestern and Pacific U.S. (KPMG Competitive Alternatives 2014); a growing population base resulting in an increased pool of skilled workers; and the highest rate of labour participation and the second-lowest turnover rate in Canada, this welcome scenario positions Winnipeg as one of Canada’s most competitive locations for new business investment.”
And here is a comment Greg Dandewich made which specifically relates to our CentrePort initiative: “Winnipeg’s central location puts it at the hub of five major continental and global transportation routes in North America, and is the only major city between Thunder Bay and Vancouver with direct rail connections to the U.S. — providing efficient and cost-effective distribution networks into North American and global markets.”
As we get ready to open the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this September, and are already benefiting from the launch of the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Zoo this summer, let’s just say Winnipeg is strengthening its reputation as having a diversified economy with real opportunity to enhance its tourism potential.
Of course, we cannot forget our long-standing multicultural festival — Folklorama — which is celebrating its 45th anniversary and kicks off this weekend. Folklorama runs until August 16. This year’s festival features 43 pavilions.