Edmonton’s Downtown Enrichers
Edmonton City Centre is proud to be a collaborator within Edmonton’s downtown. As the largest group of retailers (80+ stores) and businesses tenants (TD Tower, 102A Tower, Centre Point Place) we are passionate about all of downtown, the people, residents, businesses, workers, commuters, shoppers, and tourists. This series is our way of reflecting on some of the people that are making a difference in your downtown and enriching the community with the work they do. We hope you enjoy the series.
Anand Pye – Executive Director, NAIOP Edmonton
Anand Pye is the Executive Director of NAIOP, Edmonton’s commercial real estate development association. There, he leads the organization’s advocacy agenda, connecting developers with political leaders locally and around Canada.
Working with developers of office, retail, mixed-use and industrial buildings, Anand leads the creation of education programs in commercial real estate, mentorship programs for the industry, and over 20 networking events a year.
Anand is also actively involved in the arts. He is the founding president of Grindstone Theatre, an Edmonton based independent theatre company which produces or hosts 14 shows a week, plus educations programs, and festivals showcasing a variety of artists and art-forms.
During the pandemic, Anand focused on integrating real estate, community, and cultural industries to advance business recovery efforts. He sat on the Old Strathcona Recovery Task force, 104th St Committee, and the Downtown Community League. Anand is currently the vice-chair of the Downtown Recovery Coalition. The group of 25 community leaders advocates for the importance of downtown, and specific improvements to: Safety & security; cleanliness & maintenance, and creating more unique amenities downtown.
Through these roles Anand has worked with many great community leaders in Edmonton, and gained a deep understanding of the connection between real estate, community, and city building.
- Tell us a little about NAIOP Edmonton and its impact since the chapter formed in 2013.
NAIOP Edmonton is part of a North American wide network of over 50 chapters that provides advocacy, education, and business opportunities by connecting members in the commercial real estate development industry.
We recently launched our mentorship program to connect people with some of the biggest investors and deal-makers in the industry. We’re also working with municipalities on what investments we can make to attract more private investment and jobs to the Edmonton Region.
You can find out more about our upcoming events and programs at www.naiopedmonton.com
- The challenges since 2020 have impacted businesses and developers across Canada, especially in our cities’ downtowns. How do you think Edmonton and its leadership are adapting. What’s working?
Even if we have further to go, Edmonton has some natural advantages in bringing people back downtown. We have a large and growing residential population, growing educational institutions, and of course major events at Ice District and in the Arts District.
We’re working with the Downtown Recovery Coalition and the City of Edmonton to make sure that we get the basics right too. These factors all play a part in bringing people back, and making sure they have a great experience.
- What do think is the impact of developments like Ice District and the upcoming Station Lands on the downtown community?
It’s a huge positive impact, when you take those two developments, 104th street, and the upcoming Warehouse Park, it feels like some really exciting features of our downtown are being woven together. Downtowns should provide a myriad of experiences in dining, shopping, entertainment, arts and recreation. That is starting to come together, that’s why Station Lands with its residential capacity is creating so much excitement.
People want to be able to spend a day in a city’s downtown and be able to go in any direction and find something new. And we’re actually doing better at that than I think people realize. It just takes a while to see the results of these major investments like new and upgraded parks, major residential developments, and LRT. That’s why NAIOP has partnered with the City of Edmonton on some short and medium-term initiatives like the Downtown Vibrancy Fund, and Downtown Lighting Initiative.
- As an organization how do see the value of Edmonton City Centre as a downtown anchor property?
The Downtown Community League did a survey of residents last year to hear what amenities community members wanted. The number one thing was a variety of retail stores. People want what you have!
Edmonton City Centre also represents an incredible redevelopment opportunity – maybe one of the best in the City – already this great convening place with three full blocks right in the middle of downtown. Soon you’ll be able to get off the LRT, do some shopping or grab something to eat at ECC, and walk through to the arena to watch a game – in less than a 5 minute walk! I can’t wait.