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New York City Bus Tour Highlights: Hudson Yards Model September 28, 2015

Posted By Administration, Saturday, October 5, 2019

One of the highlights of the NAIOP Vancouver tour of New York City's key commercial business properties on September 24 was a tour of the 28-acre Hudson Yards. This is the largest private real estate development in the history of the US, and the largest development in NYC since Rockefeller Centre. It is anticipated that more than 24 million people will visit Hudson Yards every year. The site will include more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space; more than 100 shops; a collection of restaurants; approximately 5,000 residences; a unique cultural space; 14 acres of public open space; a 750-seat public school; and a 200-room Equinox branded luxury hotel -- all offering unparalleled amenities for residents, employees and guests. The development of Hudson Yards will create more than 23,000 construction jobs.

The development is divided into the Western Yard, containing over 6 million square feet, and the Eastern Yard, with over 11 million square feet.

Approximately 30 members of NAIOP Vancouver, including guests, attended the NYC bus tour of commercial properties.

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New York City Bus Tour Highlights: One World Trade Centre September 28, 2015

Posted By Administration, Saturday, October 5, 2019

A particular highlight of the NAIOP Vancouver tour of NYC commercial properties on September 24 was the tour of the new One World Trade Centre, one of the most distinctive office addresses in the world. Designed by a world renowned team of architects and engineers, delivered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and managed by the First Organization in an unparalleled public-private partnership, One World Trade Centre provides office space that is prestigious beyond measure and that functions beyond expectation.

Designed by David Child's of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, OWTC provides 71 storeys and 3 million square feet of world class office space, featuring some of the most spectacular views in the world. The environmental, structural, and life safety enhancements of OWTC incorporate the latest technologies and set new standards for high rise design.

The gradually tapered tower produces minimal floor to floor changes in overall area and maintains a column free planning module. Floors are easy to plan and occupy. Floor to ceiling glass with a minimum height of nine feet allows offices to be flooded with natural light.

Below is a photo looking south from the 64th floor of the OWTC.

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The Strong Get Stronger: The New Canadian Retail Giants (2015-09-30)

Posted By Administration, Saturday, October 5, 2019

Thirty years ago, Woodward’s, Eaton’s, and Zellers were some of the most renowned retailers in Western Canada. Now they’re merely part of history as, one by one, they were forced to close their doors. In 1990 The Hudson’s Bay Company bought out Woodward’s, which had operated for more than 100 years, while Eaton’s, which had been a Canadian staple since 1869, filed for bankruptcy in 1999. At its peak, Zellers had 350 stores across the country, only to officially close on March 31, 2013.

The Financial Post reported that in the last three years, 1,114 stores closed their doors for good. With Target leaving the country and other once prominent brands like Jacob, Mexx, and Smart Set no longer in business, it may seem like Canadian retailers can no longer hold their own.

The retail industry is notorious for its challenges. In the past decade, consumers have significantly shifted their buying behavior, gravitating towards online shopping rather than brick-and-mortar purchases. Other obstacles include big American retailers such as Walmart crossing the border and offering much cheaper price tags in one-stop-shop box stores. The way companies market their brand is also key. Using social media to effectively relate to the powerful millennial generation is another crucial factor that retailers needed to adopt quickly – or get left behind.

Despite these challenges, there are a few companies that are not only competing, but exceeding their sales and profits year after year. One of these is TJX Canada, who owns Winners, HomeSense, and Marshalls Canada. Starting out with just eight stores, they’ve now grown to 380 stores across the country and $3.3 billion in sales.

The Canadian Tire Corporation Limited is also dominating the retail world, owning and operating Canadian Tire, Partsource, Gas+, FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport, Pro Hockey Life and Atmosphere), Mark's, and Canadian Tire Financial Services. With nearly 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets across Canada, they employ approximately 85,000 people.

According to a recent article in The Huffington Post, plenty of retailers in Canada are still making money. The International Council of Shopping Centres reported sales at Canadian malls averaged $673 per square foot of retail space over the past 12 months, up 5.8% from a year earlier. That compares to US$475 per square foot in the U.S., which means Canadian retailers sell about 12% more than American retailers per square foot.

Along with Canadian Tire and TJX, homegrown brands like Lululemon, Artizia, and Joe Fresh have expanded their stores across international borders. Part of their success can be attributed to their ability to adapt to the evolving demands of consumers. Offering a competitive ecommerce component as well as a unique in-store experience, retailers will have to stay ahead of the trends to stay on-trend in this challenging industry.

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The Evolution of Shopping Malls in Vancouver (2015-10-08)

Posted By Administration, Saturday, October 5, 2019

Twenty years ago, malls were not only the place to find the latest fashion and styles, but they were also a place to be entertained. As a one-stop shop, you could see a movie, play at the arcade, and eat at the food court without stepping outside.

Now with the rise of the online consumer, the retail landscape has taken a turn that even the most experienced brokers didn’t expect. Big box stores are no longer the sought-after destinations they once were, as shoppers shifted to the convenience of a click of a mouse over brick and mortar. Opting for boutique style shops over commercial centers, not to mention our valuable square footage, Vancouver’s consumption habits have affected many of our once prominent shopping malls.

Despite the challenges, there are a few developers that have adapted to the changing retail scape, adding a new element to their centers in an effort to keep crowds coming.

Part traditional mall, part urban village, Park Royal has undergone major expansion over the past few years. In addition to combining indoor and open-air shopping, they’ve also added popular retailers and restaurants into their directory, which includes Aritzia, Kate Spade, Zara, and Glowbal Group’s Trattoria. Outside of the mall is The Village at Park Royal, which is designed to offer a neighborhood experience and an outdoor pedestrian-friendly shopping environment.

The much-anticipated newcomer to Park Royal is Simons, a 175-year-old family-owned Quebec fashion house that’s set to open on October 15th. With a cost estimated between $25-$30 million, this 100,000 square-foot, two-level store aims to become a cultural landmark, containing installations by B.C. artists like Douglas Coupland, Bobbie Burgers, and Jody Broomfield.

Having opened just a few months ago, McCarthur Glen is the only designer outlet mall in Vancouver. Located near the Vancouver Airport, it was built on five business pillars to differentiate the consumer experience: international appeal, a high level of customer service, unique entertainment, stylish visual merchandising, and notable dining options. Shops are a mix of high-end storefronts as well as more accessible brands like Nike and Banana Republic.

Turns out it’s working, as it was recently reported in Business in Vancouver that traffic has been 66% above what was expected, setting a company record by recording its millionth visitor in only three months.

Now in the midst of construction, Tsawassen Mills covers 1.2 million square feet of shopping that is expected to change the face of retail in the Lower Mainland. The outdoor mall will have 200 stores and 16 anchors; the biggest is Bass Pro Shop, which will cover 145,000 square feet. Besides merchandise, Bass will house an aquarium, boat repair, restaurant, and bowling alley. While this store is set to open next spring, the rest of the mall is scheduled for October 2016.

Other mall features include a ‘mancave’, a 1,100 seat food court, and an event space to host fashion shows. However, some question whether this ‘new experience’ will lead to a successful outcome. As a destination shopping center, a low Canadian dollar is vital to attract American consumers, as shoppers from Vancouver are unlikely to travel over two bridges to shop in Tsawassen.

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Alberni Street: The New Rodeo Drive (2015-10-15)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019

Looking at Alberni Street today, it’s hard to image that it was once a retail destination for Japanese tourists. Throughout the eighties and nineties, Trinket stores and duty free shops lined the streets, selling postcards, maple syrup and other Canadian souvenirs to buses of people that visited daily.

While these two blocks still attract Asian shoppers, it’s for a much different reason. Now referred to as the Vancouver’s “mini Rodeo Drive”, luxury retailers and high-end restaurants have made this street home.

In the past three years, Tiffany’s, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton have helped create ‘Luxury Row’, spanning high-end price tags along these two blocks. Burberry, Tory Burch, and De Beers have also opened their doors along with luxury boutiques such as Blubird and Artino. These retailers cater to locals, immigrants and tourists (who, Reuters notes, are mostly from Asia) looking for one-stop luxury shopping.

In addition, fine dining has also helped transform this strip. With Coast, Italian Kitchen, and Black + Blue, the Glowbal Group’s put their stamp on Alberni, attracting office workers and late night crowds at their ornately designed and reputable restaurants. In addition there’s Market, led by three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which is part of the 5-Star luxury hotel, the Shangri-La.

Our city’s demand for the finer things in life has made retailers notice. Outside of New York City, Tiffany’s has recently expanded their store and made our city their second focus in North America. As the second highest street in Canada, Dan Turner, Executive Vice President and Partner at PCI Developments, predicts it will top Toronto’s famous Bloor Street.

Many feel that the Alberni facelift is part of Vancouver’s fashion revolution. With neighbours like Nordstrom and Dior, Alberni may be surrounded with even more good company, as Prada, Gucci and Chanel are also rumored to be coming to street. With Vancouver’s sought-after real estate market demanding high finances to invest, it’s only natural that the luxury retailers will follow suit, catering to our the new highend consumer.

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A Time To Sell: Vancouver Commercial Properties Hit the Market (2015-10-23)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019

The lack of commercial real estate inventory in Vancouver has remained a hot topic for years, prompting many of the city’s established developers to seek properties outside B.C. With competition from offshore markets coupled with limited square footage to choose from, prices have reached record highs -- making now the perfect time for owners to sell.

The Molson Brewery

This past week, The Globe and Mail reported that owners of coveted commercial real estate in the city centre are taking advantage of the sellers’ market. Among them is The Molson brewery located beside the Burrard Bridge, which was assessed at $34 million. In addition, Ivanhoé Cambridge has also put all four Bentall office towers situated in the core of the city’s business district up for grabs. The price tag? A cool $810 million. All of these properties, however, are expected to sell well beyond the listing prices.

With a reputation as a ‘safe’ market, our city is a sought-after investment opportunity for those with deep pockets. As we’ve blogged before, in the past three years more than 1.3 million square feet of office properties were completed, and 3 million more are in the pipeline. The influx of properties available has left the highest vacancy levels in over a decade, which may explain why owners have decided to take advantage of selling at what might be a peak in the commercial real estate market.

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The Power of Millennials (2015-11-15)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019

This past election has shown the true power of millennials. As the biggest generation in the Canadian workforce, those born in the early 80s into the early 2000s are, as Entrepreneur calls it, “changing the way we do business”. With baby boomers retiring, a new generation has shifted into the marketplace by disrupting the traditional approach to real estate, work, and culture.

The powerful effect of this demographic was discussed at our breakfast event, “Federal Election Review and Insights”. This was the country’s highest voting turnout since 1993, with more than 17 million Canadians casting a ballot. Data shows that new voters, particularly millennials, played a key role in electing the Liberal Party. There were 17,559,353 ballots cast in 2015 during the election this year (not including those who registered on Election Day), compared to 14,823,408 ballots in 2011.*

Part of the Liberal Party’s win is credited to Justin Trudeau’s ability to connect with younger audiences through his social media campaigns, spreading positive messaging of hope and optimism. “Time for a change” trumped “change is scary”, garnering progressive votes across the country. With the strongest following on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, the PM candidate consistently created videos, photos, and relatable content that gave audiences an in-depth look at the Liberal Party leader.

Millennials are Canada’s future, and their power is clearly evident. This means the commercial real estate industry will have to adapt to this technically charged and information-savvy generation. From mobile marketing to positive messaging, there are some valuable lessons that can be learned from Trudeau’s rise to power. It’s these fundamentals that will be needed to connect to the upcoming generations who will be taking over leading roles in the industry.

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The Liberal Party’s Infrastructure Plan (2015-11-16)

Posted By Paul Kool, Friday, October 4, 2019

At our Breakfast Event last month, we discussed how the election of the Liberal Party would affect the future of real estate in our province, particularly the Prime Minister’s aggressive plan for infrastructure development. With vows to make the largest investment in Canadian history, Trudeau says he will invest $125 billion over the next decade -- a substantial difference compared to the Conservative’s previous spend of $65 billion. However, given our unique market, the big question for many is whether or not Vancouver will be able to benefit.

“Government has a responsibility to act decisively and for the public good,” said Prime Minister Trudeau. “Canada’s economic growth was made possible by building ambitiously. We must do so again if we are to transform our transit and transportation systems, create more livable communities, and ensure that we adapt to a changing climate.”

Each province will receive dedicated funding for public transit as well as social infrastructure in the form of affordable housing, seniors facilities, early learning and childcare, and cultural and recreational infrastructure. They’ll also provide funds towards local and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, and clean energy.

By increasing the transparency in the New Building Canada Fund, there will be faster approval processes that prioritize investments in roads, bridges, transportation, ports, and border gateways.

Transportation and affordable housing have been headlining our province’s greatest concerns for years. With the rejection of the proposed Skytrain system along the Broad Corridor, many are concerned that the high volume of traffic won’t be declining any time soon. As for the services, retailers, and restaurants, they’ll need to introduce innovative ways to promote traffic through their doors that would’ve otherwise been brought by transit.

Vancouver’s expensive real estate market is what sets us apart from most of Canada, which is why some argue Trudeau should create a different plan for the west coast versus our neighbouring provinces. However, if planned strategically, our city could greatly benefit from this new investment. If we can improve transit and incorporate these promised initiatives, then it can allow our suburban cities to grow in all facets of residential and commercial real estate.

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The Evolution of Olympic Village (2015-11-18)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019

Olympic Village has come a long way since its inception back in 2008. Built by the Millennium Development Group for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games, our city planned to add a million square feet of condos in order to accommodate nearly 3,000 athletes.

A former industrial area, this development wasn’t taken on without its share of controversy. Besides construction setbacks from building something so ambitious in a short period of time, the much bigger issue was the debt taxpayers had to incur when the 2008 economic crisis hit. This forced the City of Vancouver to take over the development in 2009 after Millennium couldn’t afford to complete the project and went into voluntary receivership.

Post-Olympics, the transition from athlete housing to residential condos was initially unsuccessful, as a lack of sales and empty condos meant those who had bought in would see very little return on their investment, or take a loss if they tried to sell.

Thankfully for them, this would soon prove to become a wise investment. It’s been five years since Vancouver hosted the Games, and since then Olympic Village has turned into one of the city’s most sought-after and fastest growing communities. A large factor in this transformation was in part due to the commercial development, with retailers such as Urban Fare, London Drugs, Terra Breads, and Liberty Wine calling it home. Casual dining restaurants such as Craft and Tap & Barrel have attracted young Vancouverites looking to kick back with a waterfront view.

In more good news, last year the City of Vancouver announced it had officially paid down the entire $630 million debt of the Olympic Village development, as well as recovered an additional $70 million. Working with the receiver, Ernst & Young, the City sold its remaining interest in the last 67 condominium units in the Olympic Village development to the Vancouver-based Aquilini Group (AG) for $91M, ending the City’s involvement in the Olympic Village project.

And this mixed-use community continues to develop, as more than 4,000 condo units will be added around the neighbourhood bordered by Cambie, Main, and 2nd Avenue. The influx of residents has no doubt attracted more prominent retailers who are benefiting from that demographic and density change. The latest is Mountain Equipment Co-op, who will be opening a 45,000-square-foot flagship store at 2nd Avenue and Quebec Street.

Despite its initial controversy, Olympic Village is a reflection of how fast our city is growing, and how the right balance of retail and residential can make this corner one of the city’s key commercial and residential districts.

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Meet the Mayor: Developing Delta (2015-11-27)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019

Yesterday at our monthly NAIOP Breakfast Event, we were joined by leading mayors from growing communities in the Lower Mainland, recognizing them for their achievements in creating livable and sustainable cities. In the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting each of them in our blog, addressing their successes, challenges, and outlook on the future of their municipalities.

For many, Lois Jackson of Delta needs no introduction. In 1972, she was the first woman elected as a Councillor, which she served until she started her term as Mayor in 1999. At that time, Delta had over $60 million in debt. With an aggressive and innovative approach, Mayor Jackson shared that Delta will be debt-free by 2016. Thanks to her ‘pay as you go’ method, she was even able to develop 16 large capital projects valued at $66.8 million without taking a single loan during her many years in office.

It’s for this incredible achievement that we awarded Mayor Jackson for municipal excellence, as the "Most Fiscally Responsible" municipality. In achieving financial freedom, Mayor Jackson also credits inclusiveness to being a contributing factor to this accomplishment. She’s assembled several committees to advise on Delta’s development, including the Civic Building Committee, which approves all contracts that are proposed by developers that are $50,000 and up. She’s also created an Invest in Delta Standing Committee, made up of a diverse group of professionals that range from small business owners to large developers.

Delta consists of three distinct communities: Ladner, Tsawwassen, and North Delta. With a growing population of just over 100,000 residents, Delta is uniquely positioned next to the United States border, surrounding water, BC ferry terminal, and an airport. It’s also home to the largest coal terminal and the largest industrial port, which acts as the gateway for Asian shipments.

These attractive features is why many developers are looking to this corner of the Lower Mainland for future commercial opportunities, most notably the Tsawwassen Mills project. Located at Highway 17 and 52nd Street on Tsawwassen First Nation Lands, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Tsawwassen Mills will include approximately 1.2 million square feet of retail, with 16 anchors, a unique mix of premium fashion brands, factory outlets, restaurants, and a 1,100-seat food court.

Mayor Jackson also shared a few upcoming projects, which includes replacing the George Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond with a new bridge, a projected $3 billion cost. The proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, which would add a three-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta and provide 2.4 million TEUs of container capacity.

Though Mayor Jackson’s achievements are enough to mark a legacy, she insists there is still “a lot more to do”. We look forward to how Delta will continue to grow into one of Greater Vancouver’s thriving cities.

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