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Calgary climbs ranks of priciest office rent

A view of downtown Calgary

Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Calgary's 8th Avenue SW is quickly closing in on Toronto's Bay Street when it comes to the priciest places to rent office space.

Real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle has crunched the numbers for its soon-to-be-released annual listing of the most expensive streets for office space in Canada. Not surprisingly, Bay Street took the top spot again this year.

But Ottawa's Albert Street slipped from the No. 2 spot to No. 4, as government cost cutting takes its toll on the nation's capital. Meanwhile, Calgary's 8th Avenue SW has come out of nowhere to take second place. Calgary's most expensive street last year was 3rd Avenue, and it ranked fourth in the list.

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To compile the list, Jones Lang LaSalle determines the most expensive street in each of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, Montreal and Halifax and then ranks those streets.

Third place went once again to Vancouver, with rents on Burrard Street roughly double the average rent in the city for office space. Last year Montreal's McGill College Street came in fifth; this year René-Levesque Boulevard West came in sixth. Fifth place this year went to Edmonton's 101st Street NW, and seventh to Halifax's Upper Water Street.

Tenants pay up to be on Bay Street, where rents are around $68.91 per square foot and go as high as $82.28 per square foot, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. That compares to an average in the Toronto market that's closer to $30 per square foot.

The priciest rent that Jones Lang LaSalle uncovered on Calgary's 8th Avenue SW is $76.50 per square foot, while the average for the street is about $55.33. In comparison, last year the top rent in Toronto was $78.19, while in Calgary it was $54.19.

At the other end of the spectrum, the priciest rent in Halifax this year was $35.78 per square foot.

"While some of these streets command high-end rents, compared to our global counterparts we look reasonable," says Brett Miller, president of Jones Lang LaSalle Canada. "For example, 23 Saville Row in London commands an eye-watering $220 per square foot while in New York, 667 Madison asks $144.50 per square foot."

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