RIM Dominates the Waterloo Real Estate Market
I was out with a group of business people who were visiting Waterloo Region last week and when the topic turned to real estate in Waterloo, it inevitably turned to RIM. I attempted to explain just how significant a role Research In Motion plays in the market, but I didn’t quite convey the influence of RIM’s presence in the market.
Failing to communicate my message elicited one response from my linear brain; I was short on cold hard data. I, with the help of our researcher Serguei, set to the task of compiling some numbers. The simplest, most poignant comparison we developed is this graph comparing the net absorption for Waterloo and Kitchener/Waterloo against RIM’s absorption.
The graph speaks for itself. RIM’s absorption of space is significant in comparison to the City of Waterloo and Kitchener and Waterloo combined. However, the graph fails to capture the importance of RIM’s impact on the Waterloo market.
This is my conundrum. Someone from outside the region would look at this graph and say “Wow, RIM absorbed more space than two cities in two of the past three years, that’s impressive.” When I (or anybody familiar with Waterloo real estate, I would suspect) look at the graph this is what I see:
- This graph doesn’t reflect RIM’s weight on the investment market; RIM owns much of its real estate.
- Has RIM developed any efficiency in the buildings it owns, therefore, accommodating more people in less space?
- This graph doesn’t reflect the industrial properties RIM occupied during the same period.
- What about real estate absorbed by institutions that are a direct result of RIM’s presence in the region but not funded directly by RIM?
- And although not its intent, the graph doesn’t show any of the spin-off effects, such as support industries, suppliers, location influences and effect of RIM-sponsored programs that are such an integral part of the Waterloo landscape.
Until I find a more eloquent way to discuss RIM as it pertains to Waterloo Region real estate I think I will just stick to “RIM dominates the Waterloo real estate market.” I would be interested to know of another city, region or area that has a company with a presence as substantive as RIM in Waterloo.