Year-end Review: A Big Shift in 2021

2021 marked our fifth year in business, and our biggest year yet at Shift REI. It’s been exciting to be part of so many new, creative projects throughout western Canada.

Before we dive into all we’ve accomplished this year, we’d like to thank everyone we’ve worked with from contractors, to the wonderful tenants – it’s been amazing to work with you and we look forward to continuing our relationship in 2022 and beyond.

A transformative year in business

Through our first few years, we were primarily focused on developing and managing properties for the Davis Auto Group. But as we grew, we found ourselves working with a variety of partners to build a diversified investment portfolio of commercial real estate.

At the beginning of 2021, we finally formalized that growth and renewed mission with a complete rebrand of Shift REI and a whole new website. With this investment in the company, we’ve made ourselves more visible as we continue to invest in southern Alberta and beyond.

But, that’s just the beginning of what 2021 had in store for us here at Shift REI.

Shift REI by the numbers – a quick overview

Though they don’t tell the whole story, the simplest way to show how Shift REI has grown over the past year is through sheer numbers.

Just in 2021, we have:

  • Added an extra member to the team
  • Grew our portfolio by adding new buildings and redeveloping outdated properties
  • Started two new major projects, including our first public-private partnership
  • Completed two major building redevelopments
  • Purchased a new dealership

Growth in community

Though we trade in development and real estate investments, the focus of Shift REI is always on the people who work for and with us – from our employees to the communities we work in. So, before we get into the new buildings in our portfolio and the new projects we’ve begun, we’d like to take a moment to focus on our people.

Hired this spring, Melissa Honess was brought on  to help us manage our rapidly expanding portfolio of buildings. She has been an integral part of maintaining our focus on quality and relationship through our growth this past year. We’re extremely happy she’s part of our team and we look forward to working with her in the new year.

Furthermore, we’ve expanded the communities we work in as far east as Medicine Hat, North to Westlock, and westward all the way to Golden, B.C. Next year, we plan to continue our expansion. Stay tuned to see where we go from here!

Finished projects – Adding value to our portfolio

In 2021, we identified a pair of properties to redevelop as the sites no longer met our standards. It was apparent they needed a new layout so we undertook major redevelopments.

525 Mayor Magrath Drive South Lethbridge​

Before Shift REI bought this property, many tenants cycled into and out of the old building. While the property itself was perfectly positioned along Mayor Magrath Drive – one of the most highly trafficked roads in Lethbridge (32,600 VPD+) – the building was old and awkward. This made it the perfect candidate for a complete overhaul.

First, we tore down the old building to create a blank slate, then we constructed a new, modern space that made the most of the property and the location. 

Today, Lethbridge’s newest boutique hair salon calls this property home and has transformed it into an urban oasis.

Property Highlights

Year Built: 2021

Space: 2,600 total sq ft (2 units - 1,400 and 1,200)

Zoning: Highway Commercial (C-H)

Parking: 8 private parking stalls & street-side parking

Traffic: 32,600 vehicles per day

For more information on this building, check out our blog.

3321 1 Avenue South Lethbridge

This property has been in the Davis portfolio for over a decade. Purchased as a home for an RV dealership, the building and property were originally developed to meet the specific needs of that business. After the RV dealership moved out, the building moved into the Shift REI portfolio. While the property boasted high visibility along Highway 3, the old building made it difficult to find the right tenant.

To leverage the property’s high visibility location, we decided to overhaul the building, levelling an old portion, while completely redeveloping the newest section.

Currently, we are seeking new tenants for this building, and drawing up plans to develop the empty property next door.

Property Highlights

Year built: 2021

Space: 6,772 sq ft

Zoning: Business Industrial (I-B)

Parking: Flexibility for 16 - 50 stalls

Traffic: 25,100+ vehicles per day on Highway 3

Signage: Prominent building signage (stand-alone sign available)

For more information on the building, check out our blog.

New projects

Along with those finished projects, Shift REI embarked on two new ventures in 2021 that will continue to define us and help us grow as we move into the future.

Davis Dodge

This year, we broke ground on a new home for Davis Dodge in Fort Macleod, Alberta.

The old home of the Dodge dealership in Fort Macleod was only visible by the southern traffic of Highway 3. To increase visibility, The Davis Auto Group decided to move the dealership. So, Shift REI sourced and purchased a new property that fit Davis’ ambitions for the dealership and was visible to both north- and south-bound traffic along Highway 3.

Then, we sourced a contractor and designed a new dealership from scratch to meet their specific needs. Just as the year came to a close, we broke ground on construction.

This will be our first build from the ground up on a dealership for the Davis Auto Group, and we’re looking forward to bringing the whole process, from the purchase of the property through construction and on to dealership operations.

Coaldale Civic Square

One of our biggest projects yet, Coaldale Civic Square is our first private-public partnership and represents a major, multi-year investment for Shift REI.

When the Town of Coaldale was looking for private partners for the construction and management of the new Civic Square, we knew it was a perfect fit. 

After being awarded the contract, we’ve worked closely with the Town and stakeholders to design a building that we believe will be beneficial not just to the municipal government, but to the whole town.

This is a multi-stage project that we will continue to work on for years to come. But this year, we were able to take that first big step in the first stage of construction by breaking ground.

New purchases

In the past year, we’ve also worked with the Davis Auto Group to purchase a new dealership, expanding the reach of both Shift REI and the Davis Automotive Group to another brand and another province.

Kicking Horse Ford, in Golden, B.C., is Shift REI’s first out-of-province dealership and brings the Ford logo into the Davis Auto Group. It also marks Shift REIs continuing growth as we expand beyond our home province.

Poised for an exciting, prosperous new year

While 2021 was a big year for us, we are focused on making 2022 even bigger. 

One of the big projects we’re focused on for next year is the development of the old Williams Moving and Storage building at 3510-5 Ave. North Lethbridge into a multi-tenant space. This venture has been in the works for some time and we are excited to finally break ground and bring about our vision for the property.

We also have a few projects scheduled to finish in 2022, which we are excited to open to the public. Fort Macleod Davis Dodge is currently slated for a summer grand opening. And, the first stage of our partnership with the Town of Coaldale, their Civic Square, is set to open this year, making space for town hall as well as private tenants. 

We hope you’re all looking forward to 2022 as much as we are. We have a great foundation to grow upon and look forward to making the most of all the potential in our communities and people.