HicksBiz Blog

Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's high-rise rental market is on a roll By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, January 18, 2019

A view of downtown standing on the 69th floor of the Stantec Tower which is now the highest tower in Western Canada as ICE District celebrates the final topping off of the tower in Edmonton, November 16, 2018.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS What do the Big Guys know that we don’t? Alberta’s economic indicators have been lousy since the great oil crash and are not predicted to get any better in 2019. The average value of residential homes in Edmonton has dropped for three years in a row. Yet the city’s commercial real estate market, as reported earlier this week, had a rosy glow in 2018. Within that sector, high-rise rental apartment buildings are the new gold standard. Pension funds, REITS (real estate income trusts) and other institutional buyers have been piling into Edmonton in recent months, buying up every high-rise rental apartment building that’s come on the market and offering premium dollars to do so. The paint was barely dry on the 260-unit Hen ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: EEDC boss treads water By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN January 11, 2019

EEDC CEO Derek Hudson speaks to the media following the organization's annual impact luncheon on Jan. 8, 2019. Paige ParsonsPaige Parsons By GRAHAM HICKS I have reported on the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) since its inception in 1993. This octopus of an organization, with many arms doing many things for the City of Edmonton, is weird but important. It has a board of directors, but the city is its biggest funder ($20 million of its $70 million annual budget) and the City of Edmonton is its official owner. Its CEO is the de-facto leader of Edmonton’s business community. That leader, whoever it may be, usually makes one important speech a year to that community — reporting on the economic state of Edmonton, defining what needs to be done for the community and in particular by EEDC, and how to get there. In other words, being a leader. I’ve gotta tell ya, the first major speech by EEDC’s latest CEO, at Tuesday’s EEDC Annual Impact Luncheon, w ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta’s Groundhog Day, 2019 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 4, 2019

A train loaded with oil sits idle on tracks in Everett, Wash., on Sept. 2, 2014. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province plans to buy up to 7,000 rail cars to move Alberta oil.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Elaine Thompson By GRAHAM HICKS Welcome to Groundhog Day, 2019. Remember the movie, where Bill Murray’s character relives the same day, over and over and over? Getting oil out of Alberta is our Groundhog Day. Since Hicks on Biz debuted in 2011, at least 20 columns have been about oil pipeline bottlenecks. In 2011, there were warning signs, but nothing was done. By 2019, we’re in an oil-transportation crisis that’s grinding away at Alberta’s living standards.  Edmonton housing prices have fallen for the third year running. New vehicle sales are declining. Need anybody wonder why? It’s the same-old, same-old, year-after-year. No new pipelines get built! NOTHING happens! Pipeline announced, pipeline approved, pipeline approval overturned, pipeline p ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The crisis in Alberta is NOW By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 28, 2018

Hundreds of truckers joined the Truck Convoy in Nisku on December 19, 2018 to support the oil and gas industry in Alberta.Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS You do not have to be a petroleum engineer to see where Alberta is heading in 2019. Down, down, down. Not an earth-shattering Depression-era or early-‘80s downward spiral. Just the same relentless grinding – the same double-clutching through endless muck – as has been happening since the Great Oil Price Collapse of 2014. It’s not about massive lay-offs, not in the private sector. Every job done by a human being that could be eliminated has been eliminated. It’s about 0% wage increases, a steady cutting of employee benefits, no more company pension plans, buy-outs of employees 55 or older … Graduates from NAIT or the University of Alberta in any of the “hard” sciences – i.e. engineering, computer programming – used to have jobs waved in their faces. N ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A contradictory year for business in Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 21, 2018

Hundreds of truckers joined the Truck Convoy in Nisku on December 19, 2018 to support the oil and gas industry in Alberta.Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS What a contradictory year 2018 has been for metropolitan Edmonton’s business community. On the one hand, Edmonton entrepreneurs are growing super frustrated. For the fourth year in a row, they’ve been double-clutching through non-stop muck, barely making any progress, seeing profit margins drop from 10 or 20 per cent to two-to-three per cent, dipping into the red ink for longer and longer periods of time. The doors are staying open, but barely. The big truck convoy protest out at Nisku earlier this week, 2,000 trucks strong, gave shape to that  frustration. The ‘S’ word — separation — no matter how hypothetical, is working its way back into the political conversation. On the other hand, there’s growing resiliency and resolve. The small-to-medium sized enterprise ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Good projects if we can afford them By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun December 7, 2018

The JW Marriott hotel in the Edmonton Ice District reaches into the clouds on March 19, 2018.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia, file By GRAHAM HICKS Enough of this pipeline doom ‘n’ gloom! ‘Tis time to be a tad optimistic about Edmonton’s future.  (I’ll try to be optimistic. In my heart of hearts, I am dead worried about the future of my children in this province.) Three major land-use projects are underway in the downtown. If properly done, prudently funded, they should gently contribute to the city’s economic wellbeing and quality of life. The one I like best — the Central Warehouse Park — is well underway. The City of Edmonton is creating a big (1.4 acres — about a square city block) new, traditional city park in the downtown. It’s north of Jasper Avenue, from 106 Street to halfway between 107 and 108 Streets. Think of the surface parking lots behind the big Boston Pizza building (at Jasper and 106 Street), behind Audr ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Good projects if we can afford them By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun December 7, 2018

The JW Marriott hotel in the Edmonton Ice District reaches into the clouds on March 19, 2018.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia, file By GRAHAM HICKS Enough of this pipeline doom ‘n’ gloom! ‘Tis time to be a tad optimistic about Edmonton’s future.  (I’ll try to be optimistic. In my heart of hearts, I am dead worried about the future of my children in this province.) Three major land-use projects are underway in the downtown. If properly done, prudently funded, they should gently contribute to the city’s economic wellbeing and quality of life. The one I like best — the Central Warehouse Park — is well underway. The City of Edmonton is creating a big (1.4 acres — about a square city block) new, traditional city park in the downtown. It’s north of Jasper Avenue, from 106 Street to halfway between 107 and 108 Streets. Think of the surface parking lots behind the big Boston Pizza building (at Jasper and 106 Street), behind Audr ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: How much more can Alberta’s government spend? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, November 30, 2018

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (Right), United Conservatives leader Jason Kenney (Left) By GRAHAM HICKS What in God’s name is this spend-until-we’re-bankrupt socialist Alberta government doing, announcing a purchase of $350 million worth of railroad oil tankers to move an extra 120,000 barrels of dilbit (diluted bitumen oil) a day – about 4% of Alberta’s current daily oil output? Look – we all knew the oilsands crisis was going to happen, as sure as night follows day. And now the day of reckoning has arrived. Oilsands production has grown. New extraction plants started before the 2014 oil-price collapse are now on stream. The ability to move additional oil from Fort McMurray via pipeline, as has been explained ad nauseum, has not. The smart oil-patch money knew this would happen. They knew the soft and wishy-washy Justin Trudeau federal government, for political reasons, would passively allow this economic crisis to happen. The smart oil-patch money – l ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Stop the Spending! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, November 23, 2018

Premier Rachel Notley speaking at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta at the Shaw Conference Centre on November 20, 2018 in Edmonton.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia By Graham Hicks FINALLY! In Calgary, the taxpayers finally spoke with a loud, clear voice. No Olympic bid! We can’t afford it! For once, the madness of profligate government spending has been curbed. The irresistible attraction of politicians like Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to firmly fix their fingers around glittering baubles with no realistic return has been thwarted. Imagine! Spending unnecessary millions/billions when Calgary’s commercial tax base has dried up due to half-empty office towers, when Calgary has such a high unemployment rate — not necessarily among the lesser-skilled, but also of skilled professionals. Imagine!  This drowning-in-debt New Democrat party, that will govern Alberta for at least the next six months, was prepared to spend yet another $700 million (that it did not have) ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Century Park reboots by GRAHAM HICKS first published Edmonton Sun, November 16, 2018

In 2017, after extensive negotiations/discussions with city planners, city council approved a revised Century Park master plan, reflecting current urban trends with more, but smaller apartment units.Elise Stolte, Postmedia Network Two-parts businessman, one-part dreamer. You don’t know him, but the fingerprints of George Schluessel, president and CEO of real-estate development company ProCura and the new Optown, are all over Edmonton. ProCura is behind the re-boot of the 42-acre, 4,000-unit Century Park urban village, snugged in beside the LRT’s southwest terminal. By comparison, downtown Edmonton has 10,000 apartments/condos. ProCura is now building Central Tower, the fifth of up to 10 architecturally impressive residential towers within Century Park’s grand urban plan. Downtown, ProCura has transformed Jasper Avenue and 109 Street, re-fitting and re-imagining the once-aging Associated Engineering Tower (now WSP Place) and the gleaming black Intact office building. Two new ProC ... Read the rest of entry »
Pages: Prev1234567...22NextReturn Top