On May 30, 2018, over 700 local and national real estate industry professionals and stakeholders gathered at the RBC Convention Centre for the 5th Biennial Winnipeg Real Estate Forum to speak about the commercial real estate market of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, its current successes and prospective challenges.
In addition to leading discussion on nearly every aspect of commercial real estate from retail and office to industrial and apartments, there were also informative sessions on the Downtown core including the Exchange District; construction, development and infrastructure activity; today’s entrepreneurs working within the current market and Winnipeg’s competitive edge and sustaining our current growth.
During lunch, guests listened to a keynote interview between Ace Burpee and the Honourable Gary Doer, former Premier of Manitoba and former Canadian Ambassador to the United States. The endearing and sometimes amusing interview shed light on Mr Doer’s time as Premier as well as the challenges he faced being Canada’s US Ambassador.
The forum concluded with Sandy Shindleman, president and CEO of Shindico, moderating a round table discussion with key stakeholders in the industry on how do major investors assess the risks, challenges, strategies and opportunities for the remainder of 2018 and beyond.
At each of these real estate forums, a central idea was discussed – Why Winnipeg? Why invest here? – it’s a steady, stable market with no real peaks and no real valleys. But, similar to the passion of our hockey fans yelling “Go Jets Go,” the diversity of Winnipeg’s market is enthusiastically promoted and investors are paying attention.
Kudos to the many Commercial Division members of WinnipegREALTORS® who either participated on the many panel discussions or were asked to moderate as an industry professional. The current Chair of the Commercial Division Executive Council, Trevor Clay (Capital Commercial) moderated an insightful panel comprised of leaders from municipalities outside of Winnipeg discussing how these municipalities are growing and how they are attracting business. Former Commercial Division Chair Don White (Colliers International) gave a presentation on how the Winnipeg leasing and investment markets are performing. Other former Commercial Division Executive Council members or Commercial Division members that either participated on panels or moderated were Ryan Behie (CBRE), Bill Hoffer (Altus), Chris Macsymic (Cushman & Wakfield), Ron Margolis (Margolis Capital), Brian Taillieu (Colliers International) and Rennie Zegalski (Capital Commercial). As well, Commercial Division member Sandy Shindleman, President and CEO of Shindico, was this year’s Forum Chair.
In nearly every sector of commercial real estate, a positive outlook was conveyed by both current investors and by those aiming to increase their presence in our market. Even in the retail market, where previously retailers would bypass Winnipeg in attempting to establish their foothold in the Canadian market, are now utilizing Winnipeg as a primary foundation point.
On the whole, industry events such as the Winnipeg Real Estate Forum bring a myriad range of real estate professionals all under one roof to create discussion and lead debate about the market’s future challenges and maintaining its current successes. The stable economy of the province, reinforced by the steady real estate market, including the improvement of the commercial sector, are all positive factors that continue to position Winnipeg and the Metropolitan Region as a significant primary market for positive growth.
The first Winnipeg Real Estate Forum started when the Commercial Division Executive Council of WinnipegREALTORS® and its then Chair Don White sent a letter to MMPI vice-president George Przybylowski expressing a sincere desire to hold a real estate forum in Winnipeg. This letter, coupled with out-of-town investors starting to take notice of the Winnipeg market, convinced MMPI to add Winnipeg to its forum lineup, which also included Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.
The inaugural Winnipeg Real Estate Forum was held in 2009 with a sold-out crowd of nearly 500 real estate industry professionals which included 120 from outside the province. The biennial event has since steadily grown in attendance numbers.