QC plans 30,000 square foot office building on T-1 site


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — A local Inuit development corporation wants to capitalize on Iqaluit’s drum-tight real estate market.

The Qikiqtaaluk Corp. is about to build a 30,000 square foot office and retail building at the four corners, said Pam Hine, director of real estate at Qikiqtaaluk Corp.

“We recognize the growth in the community with being the capital of Nunavut,” Hine said.

QC plans to raze the T-1 building and begin construction of a new office and retail building next spring. The dilapidated building has sat mostly vacant since a fire at the Needs convenience store last October.

The development corporation has already found three potential tenants prepared to lease a total 9,000 square feet of space in the 30,000 square foot building. Ground level retail tenants could move in as early as next fall, Hine said.

QC’s planned development includes a lot occupied by an old staff house owned by a subsidiary of Tower Arctic Ltd., but QC has made an offer to purchase the site.

QC has is planning a three-storey building. The ground floor would house boutique retail stores, while the top two floors would be for office space. QC is now seeking possible tenants and finalizing its financing.

“We’re putting the ads in the paper to find out whether we have a tenant or a client that would want to use it [the building] for something else,” Hine said.

Iqaluit now faces a severe shortage of office space, but local real estate agent John Matthews said any long-term need for new office space will depend on how quickly the Nunavut government’s plan for decentralization goes forward.

Some government employees will move into the new legislative building this fall, and the Nunavut government is also building a new 2,500 square meter office building of its own.

How much additional office space is needed in Iqaluit will depend on how much economic spin-off the Nunavut government generates, Matthews said.

“The whole thing hinges around decentralization. If it happens quickly I think we’ll have enough space,” said Matthews, who runs Atilu Real Estate and Property Management said. But Matthews said that entrepreneurial spirit requires risk-taking, and he said that QC’s homework has probably shown the project to be worthwhile.

QC believes there will be demand for space in its new building.

“Decentralization will free up some of the small spaces, but that space is very small,” Hine said. And Hine said there will likely be more private-sector businesses popping up to support the government.

“The government is only one source of potential clients and no one’s really building office space to house the support services at this point,” she said.

Hine would not say who QC has lined up to occupy the building so far, and she would not say if QC is in negotiations with the Iqaluit Co-op to rent them space for a retail store.

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