There is a new place online for listing commercial real estate for lease in Canada that is free, open to the public and remarkably simple.
After graduated from university in 2004, Bill MacEwen the founder of SpaceList was working for an investment manager in Vancouver and tasked with leasing space in a 65,000 square foot office building.
He was surprised to find that online leasing websites charged to place a listing and required that visitors register to view the content.
This experience hatched the philosophy that MacEwen says is behind SpaceList that a listings website should be both open and accessible.
SpaceList targets industry and end users
Accessibility allows prospective tenants to look through all the listings and identify the most suitable locations for their business he explained. “We really see an opportunity to create a tool that works for the industry and the end users,” he said.
Given SpaceList’s rapid acceptance by the commercial real estate industry putting the philosophy into practice seems to be working.
The number of listings on SpaceList is growing at a rate of 15% per week. “The inventory on the site has tripled in the last two weeks,” said MacEwen and “use of the website is accelerating.”
For the past 18 months SpaceList which is based in Vancouver has been running ‘in beta’ offering listings in British Columbia.
Running trials aids research
The trial period has been dedicated to researching how to run the listing service and to focus on making the service as open and simple as possible.
The website offers listings for office, retail and industrial properties for now. There is a plan to include apartment buildings; land and properties for sale in the future said the website’s founder.
In the last two weeks SpaceList has been rolled out across Canada. To complement the national launch MacEwen just completed a cross-country tour visiting Toronto, Montreal and Calgary introducing SpaceList to people in the industry.
During MacEwen’s trip he started to build relationships by connecting with national offices including CBRE, Cushman and Wakefield and Dundee. He said it is still early days for SpaceList and he intends to get in touch with every major landlord.
Determining a revenue model
If the listing service is free what is the revenue model for SpaceList?
“By providing our core service for free, we hope SpaceList will become a very popular platform. On the shoulders of that popularity, we will be in a great position to provide white-labeled tools for brokers, premium listings, advertising and data services” MacEwen told Property Biz.
According to MacEwens’ LinkedIn profile he was a project manager for Deecorp Properties in Vancouver and he is founder of WorkSpace, a coworking business location in a renovated Gastown loft with a base of 70 members.
SpaceList currently has four employees Keven Lin, Jake Quain and Allison Powell and expects to be hiring more in the not too distant future.