Will the LRT lower our office vacancy rates? The evidence will shock you

A study in the Netherlands, where office vacancy rates were as high as 15%, sought to study the effect of proximity to a rail station on office vacancy rate. The conclusion?

“Using data from Jones, Lang and Lasalle (JLL) and DTZ Zadelhoff, I try to explain the vacancy rate by the proximity to railway stations, but it appears that the vacancy rate close to stations is not higher or lower than at other locations. This also holds for locations close to Intercity stations. It might be shown that characteristics of buildings, such as the age of the building, and whether the building is sold or rented, are much more important determinants of office vacancies than railway accessibility.” Refer to  this article for more information.

Since Offices represent a Class of Work for residents, driving local employment means driving a reduction in the office vacancy rates.  If, as suggested, market demand for office space is primarily determined by four major factors of 1) office employment, 2) space-per-employee requirements, 3) rental rates and 4) expectations; we must therefore ask ourselves which of those four factors is under any control of local municipal governance. To grow the City, we must ask what we can do to make the market more favorable through influencing one, or multiple, of the four factors above.

Brampton has a lot to gain from the LRT, but it will not be a magic bullet (train) that will solve our systemic woes. Peel Region has higher than average office vacancy rates by far. Peel Region, for reasons that need to be understood, is not offering competitive office space to employers. The LRT has certainly raised expectations, but what else can be done?

 

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