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UBC Wins the NAIOP Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge (2017-03-15)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Over the past eight weeks, three university teams spent countless hours and many late nights working on their proposal to make the Coquitlam Central Station, a critical transportation hub in the Tri-Cities, a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly space for the community. After much anticipation, the University of British Columbia were named the winners of the first Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge held in Canada, beating out the University of Washington and Portland State to take home the coveted Bob Filley Cup.

“Given the short time frame, the judges and everyone involved were very impressed with what the students came up with,” said John Middleton, Vice President at Onni Group and Chair of the Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge. “All of the teams put forward innovative and thoughtful proposals, making it very hard to choose a winner.”


Partnering with TransLink, the Challenge launched back in January, garnering media attention from Global News, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, Metro News, and the Tri-City News, among others. For many of the students competing, this was the first time they had ever seen the site or the new Evergreen Line extension.

“We wanted the students to create a place that people want to be, while at the same time be sustainable and financially rewarding,” said Guy Akester, Director of Real Estate Programs and Partnerships at TransLink. “From Impark to the West Coast Express to the bus loop to the Skytrain, this 14 acre site has a lot of variables that the students had to carefully consider.”

Calling the site “Chrono”, UBC’s winning proposal focused on health, fitness, and entertainment. Taking inspiration from Whistler Village, they drafted a plan that would create a pedestrian focused hub that would integrate residential and commercial opportunities without compromising the multiple types of transit who need in and out of the space.

So far, the results of the competition have been featured on The Vancouver SunThe Province, and 24 Hours, as well as an upcoming interview on Roundhouse Radio. To view more information about the site, watch this video!

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Will Urban Policy Lead to Canada Being ‘Trump’d’? Brian Lee Crowley Weighs In (2017-03-09)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Recently NAIOP Vancouver was joined by special guest speaker Brian Lee Crowley, a serial think tank entrepreneur and national thought leader. A native of North Vancouver, Crowley is the founder of the only independent national think tank in Ottawa, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI), which was recently ranked one of the top three new think tanks in the world. As an advisor to governments, industry and international organizations and a frequent commentator across all media, he shared how today’s real estate market and urban policies surrounding development are driving factors on how a leader like Trump could be in Canada’s future.

“Canadians despise America for their attitude of superiority, smugness, and condescension. As a famously polite nation, we think that we could never elect someone like President Trump into power. But are things that different here? Not really,” said Crowley to a crowd of NAIOP members on Thursday, February 23rd.

According to Crowley, zoning regulations directly affect affordability. And because the economic future of countries lies in cities, as that’s where the jobs and infrastructure reside, urban policies that block affordable housing supply means that blue collar workers can’t afford to move. In Canada, that’s Toronto and Vancouver.

“According to a Merrill Lynch Report, blue collars jobs are on the decline. Construction, manufacturing, and natural resources are all down. In fact, 30% of Canadian men over the age of 20 do not have jobs, and more than 40% of Canadians are afraid of losing their jobs to automation and technology. When workers are shut out of the labour force, they want a political leader that doesn’t dismiss their fears or tells them to get a university degree in order to get back in the job market.”

Despite that the US has an unemployment rate of less than 5%, the lowest it’s been in 30 years, Crowley shared show Trump’s supporters were mostly comprised of people who felt shut out of the labour market and discouraged due to the lack of opportunities. Nine out of ten states with the lowest labour participation rate (meaning they were looking for a job) voted for Trump. Thirty-two percent of men over the age of 20 were unemployed -- figures similar to Canada -- and despite that America has made more things than ever before, the products just don’t require low-skilled workers. Crowley referred to this as “product efficiency elimination”.

“We must have policies that remove barriers and create housing affordability. If we don’t, the public will buy in to a leader that shares Trump’s values. We need to restore the social and economical balance that we’ve lost.”

To learn more about Crowley’s thoughts on the future of Canada and how urban policies and real estate could dictate a new future, read the latest article in The Vancouver Sun by reporter Evan Duggan.

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Six Metro Vancouver Malls Make Top Producing List in Canada (2017-02-17)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Despite the growing popularity of online shopping, Canadians are still flocking to shopping centres across the country. In fact, the Retail Council of Canada and Microsoft released a report that ranked the top producing malls in Canada last year, and found that on average our malls are actually more productive than those in the United States, despite the fact that American shoppers have a greater household disposable income per capita. From productivity, size, and number visitors over the year, six shopping centers from the Metro Vancouver made the list, with one in particular taking the number two spot in the country.

1.Oakridge Shopping Centre

Just behind Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Oakridge is the second in Canada to produce the most sales per square foot in Canada, at an average of $1,537. Managed by Ivanhoe Cambridge, the retail component totals 574,000 square feet and consists of upscale fashion and convenience shopping. Flagship stores include Crate and Barrel, Apple, Harry Rosen, LEGO, and Tiffany & Co.

2. CF Pacific Centre

Stretching three city blocks from Pender to Robson, Cadillac Fairview’s Pacific Centre took the third spot in Canada, with $1,523 per square foot. What makes this site so unique is that it’s directly connected to six office towers as well as the Four Seasons Hotel, and hosts the only Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom in Vancouver. Other flagship stores include H&M, Aritzia, and Sephora.

3. Metropolis at Metrotown

Located in Burnaby, Metropolis at Metrotown has nearly 400 stores and services, and is another centre managed by Ivanhoe Cambridge. With a direct connection to the Skytrain and major TransLink bus loop, it’s an easy destination for visitors. It comes in at eighth place on the list, with $1,035 sales per square foot.

4. CF Richmond Centre

Another mall managed by Cadillac Fairview, Richmond Centre offers 250 stores and services, and is anchored by Hudson’s Bay, Sport Chek, and Old Navy. It’s number 13 on the list, with $928 of sales per square foot.

5. Guildford Town Centre

With eight renovations over 50 years in business, Guildford Town Centre is managed by Ivanhoe Cambridge in BC’s fastest growing city. Walmart, Hudson’s Bay, London Drugs, and Sport Chek are some of the biggest retailers, contributing to achieve $844 in sales per square foot and marking it at number 21 in Canada.

6. Coquitlam Centre

Situated on 57 acres of land in the heart of the Tri-Cities, Coquitlam Centre is managed by Morguard Investments Limited and features 910,000 square feet of retail, including T&T Supermarket, Sephora, Lululemon, Walmart, and Aritzia. It takes the 27th spot on the list, with $785 of sales per square foot.

The study found that expansions and major renovations were important factors that helped these shopping centres maintain growth in spite of competition from e-commerce. With Tsawwassen Mills having just opened their doors in October, it will be interesting to see how one of Canada’s largest outlet malls will rank in its first year in business. 

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Industrial Real Estate: Is Multi-Level Development the Future? (2017-02-05)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

When it comes to industrial real estate, Vancouver’s lack of available land is hardly a new topic of conversation. So like any industry with limited resources, the question remains on what we’re going to do when the land runs out.

Industrial buildings have always been single level, as it’s believed to be the most functional and efficient. But as land mass has become scarce, developers in countries such as Japan and Singapore have turned to multi-storey warehouses to handle the demand.

Back in 2013, Site Economics Ltd. and Omicron released a High Density Multi-Level Industrial Feasibility study, which explored the idea of introducing these types of developments to Vancouver.

“An example of a multi-level industrial building is the Asia Airfreight Terminal (AAT) in Hong Kong. The warehouse occupies 166,000 m2 (1.8 million sq.ft.) across 4 levels with each level designed and equipped with advanced facilities for handling different types of cargo. To increase working efficiency, the terminal has truck docks in every level for quick loading of cargo. The building construction cost was more than $200 per sq.ft. due to its innovative architectural design which allows for advanced material handling systems and pioneering IT applications. AAT is one of the world’s leading air cargo terminals handling 1.5 million tons per annum.”

And it’s not just Europe and Asia that multi-levels are becoming commonplace. The Wall Street Journal recently announced that Prologis, the world’s biggest warehouse owner, will construct America’s first three-floor, 580,000-square-foot warehouse just outside downtown Seattle. It is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

We asked Canadian industry leaders whether they thought multi-level industrials could be a way of the future, or if our city just simply wasn’t equipped to handle this type of format.

“It’s certainly a possibility, but we’re in the early stages,” said Jeff Miller, Vice President of Industrial in Oxford Properties Group. “Multi-levels have no flexibility and are complicated buildings. I think we’re still a way away.”

Beth Berry, Director of Industrial Development at Beedie Group, shared that Vancouver still has some choices available in the market, and we’re not in the position yet to have to consider these types of alternatives.

For Lee Hester, Senior Vice President of Industrial Sales and Leasing at JLL, only a handful of industries could benefit from multi-level industrial development. These include engineering, film, technology, and specific types of manufacturing businesses.

“Multi-tenant warehousing can play a role, but it must be very specific to the end user. Traditional industrial requires forklifts, semi-trucks, and major transportation. Areas like Strathcona and North Vancouver could not accommodate industrial traffic with the amount of residential in the region. Flex industrial won’t help true industrial needs.” 

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Industrial Real Estate: A Tale of Two Markets (2017-02-02)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Vancouver’s industrial real estate industry is made up of two types of markets: those that are strata owned and those that are not. Love or hate it, the strata market continues to dominate.

“The strata market is alive and well, but I’m personally not a fan because it limits tenants,” said Jeff Miller, Vice President of Industrial in Oxford Properties Group. “Strata is uniquely Vancouver. It’s not as ingrained or important anywhere else.”

However, not everyone shares Miller’s point of view. For Lee Hester, Senior Vice President of Industrial Sales and Leasing at JLL and Beth Berry, Director of Industrial Development at Beedie Development Group, strata ownership allows small and medium sized business to grow, and creates a more stable market.

“Strata is good thing for the industrial market,” said Lee. “We are an owner based city, we all want to own. It’s a Vancouver phenomenon.”

According to Lee, 90% of industrial buyers are businesses with less than 10 employees who prefer to live within 20 minutes of their property.

“I love strata,” said Berry. “Strata buyers are typically private and family owned companies with a succession plan, not big distribution companies who need flexibility to grow. These types of buyers make the market steady and strong.”

So while turnover rates stay low, so too do the vacancy levels. In 2016, Vancouver’s industrial real estate market saw an average 2.4% vacancy rate and a $9 per square foot asking price. As we head into 2017, demand continues to remain strong, as Miller notes that for every one property a realtor has five buyers. Consequently municipalities like Pitt Meadows, Richmond, and Delta have become sought-after areas of development. In addition, new infrastructure such as the Port Mann Bridge has eased previous transportation issues for trucks to travel to and from the warehouses. 

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Low Vacancies, High Demand in Vancouver's Industrial Leasing Market (2017-01-25)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

Residential isn’t the only market that Vancouver is garnering national attention for. Industrial real estate had an incredible year in 2016 and, according to our January Breakfast Panel, will only get better. This quick acceleration has been due to a number of reasons, which our panel discussed in detail over the hour-long event.

“Let’s just say it’s a good time to be a landlord in Vancouver,” said Jeff Miller, Vice President of Industrial in Oxford Properties Group. “The industrial real estate market has performed extremely well. It’s so unique because of how fragmented it is. It’s a subset of individual markets spread across bridges and rivers, and more importantly there’s a high percentage here of capable landlords and private owners.”

CBRE’s Q4 market review of Metro Vancouver’s industrial real estate sector showed that sales reached a record $1.2 billion in 2016, up 9% from the previous year. The region also saw industrial leasing space vacancy rates drop to 2.4% - the lowest level since 2007.

“I’ve never seen vacancy as low as it is, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon,” said Lee Hester, Senior Vice President of Industrial Sales & Lasing at JLL. “Vacancy is declining in all areas of industrial, as spaces that are 2,000 to 25,000 square feet are in extremely high demand.”

“If you want to grow, you have to move east,” explained Beth Berry, Director of Industrial Development at Beedie Development Group. “Richmond is changing more into residential and commercial, ie industrial, which was once dominant in the region, is becoming less and less.”

Former NAIOP Vancouver President Chris MacCauley, CBRE’s Senior Vice President of Industrial and Logistics, was recently quoted in The Province, sharing that “It’s definitely been the trend in the last three years that [industrial] demand has outpaced supply almost two-to-one. It’s something that has no easy fix; it will take some long-term planning throughout Metro Vancouver to find out what are the right places for industrial land of various uses.”

MacCauley also added that approximately 50% of the supply coming on this year in Metro Vancouver is already spoken for, less than one month into 2017. As a result, more companies have been forced to go to Surrey and Delta because of lack of availability. 

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The Pacific Real Estate Challenge Launches in Metro Vancouver (2017-01-20)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

It’s been an exciting start to 2017 here at NAIOP Vancouver! Incase you’ve missed our announcements in our e-newsletter and LinkedIn group, we’ve partnered with TransLink to bring the first Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge to Canada, where students from UBC, Washington State, and Portland University are competing to turn the Coquitlam Central Station into a community hub. The site needs to be highly walkable, offer mixed-use buildings, and preserve the functionality of the busy transit area.

The competition kicked off on Saturday, January 14th with presentations at the Douglas College David Lam Campus, followed by a site tour. For most of the students, this was the first time they had ever viewed the site.

“One of the key things that the Challenge hopefully does for the students is help them understand the complexity of development, the variety of expertise that is required, and the stakeholders that need to be engaged in order to see it through properly,” said Jarvis Rouillard, President of NAIOP Vancouver.  

The students will propose their ideas on March 1st, followed by oral presentations on March 8th and 9th in front of a panel of judges. The winning team will be awarded the coveted Bob Filley Cup as well as have the potential to have their plans implemented by TransLink. 

This exciting Challenge has been featured in news outlets across Metro Vancouver. From Global News to The Province!

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A Year in Review: Metro Vancouver Sets Records in Commercial Real Estate (2017-01-05)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

It was a record-breaking year for Metro Vancouver’s commercial real estate market. According to the Colliers International’s Metro Vancouver Investment Report, which tallied the first six months of transactions, deals totaled $4.28 billion across 819 transactions, a major increase from 2015. So what drove these high numbers? We can look to three major sectors:


Thanks to the sales of Bentall Centre, the Royal Centre, and the United Kingdom building, office sales experienced the highest increase amongst all other sectors compared to 2015. The city’s growing technology industry is also said to spur the demand, as more companies are opting for Vancouver over Silicon Valley and need innovative workspaces that attract top talent. Even with the additional two million square feet of office space added over the past 18 months, Vancouver’s vacancy has fallen to the second lowest in Canada at 6.9%.


Called one of “the hottest stories of 2016” by The Vancouver Sun, the industrial market represented nearly 20% of total commercial real estate transactions over the first half of 2016, totaling nearly $756 million. Vacancy rates remain the lowest in Canada at just 1.4%, fuelled by demand by the film industry and tech sector. An interesting development to watch is the Strathcona Village project, which is the first to mix industrial with residential, developed by Wall Financial.


Retail investment in Metro Vancouver reached $1.1 billion, which is nearly double the amount from the same period in 2015. The most notable new addition is Canada’s largest indoor shopping mall, Tsawwassen Mills by Ivanhoe Cambridge. Yet despite such growth, Business in Vancouver reports that Metro Vancouver remains under-supplied with retail compared to the rest of the country.

With low vacancies and high demand, experts predict that 2017 will only see more record-setting numbers over the next twelve months.

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The Return of the Strata Office (2019-01-25)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Though traditionally popular amongst medical tenants, there’s been a growing trend of strata developments in Greater Vancouver. With low interest rates and a strong capital appreciation, the benefits of owning over leasing have become attractive to many industries – in particular, technology and digital media firms.

An area that is seeing this revival is Surrey. As Bisnow reported, the low-interest environment means that many businesses are seeing the value of owning a piece of a larger project. For developers, this also holds benefits, as the price per square foot for unfinished space versus condos is extremely competitive.

The City of Surrey has a number of developments under construction this year, which includes the 3 Civic Plaza by Century Group, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Evolve at West Village by WestStone Group.

With units as small as 309 sqft, the Maskeen Business Centre, Surrey’s first micro-office strata development, has been attracting interest from groups that previously wouldn’t have been able to buy into a strata project. This includes small businesses, boutique investment firms, accountants, lawyers and notaries.

In Vancouver, it was recently announced that PC Urban is launching the first new industrial strata development in five years with the three-building IntraUrban Business Park. Currently a 20,000-square-foot building on a 4.6-acre site in South Vancouver, IntraUrban will transform into 170,000 square feet of new commercial space that’s just three blocks away from a SkyTrain stop and a 15-minute drive to downtown.

As reported in Property Biz Canada, PC Urban believes this new development will appeal to businesses and entrepreneurs who want to forego leasing to build equity, and opt for a city location as opposed to the suburbs. Engineering, architecture, construction and wholesale businesses are all expected to move-in.

In the past four decades, Vancouver saw a 30% decline in its supply of industrially zoned land. Over the past 10 years, the average price of industrial strata increased by 90%. With this increasingly competitive market, business owners may continually drive the growing trend of strata offices in our city. 

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Vancouver Industrial Market in 2015: Was it a Fluke? (2016-02-02)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It’s been quite the year for the industrial market in Vancouver, which is why last month’s Breakfast Event moderator, Beth Berry from Beedie Development Group, posed this question to our expert panel. With Q4 having the lowest vacancy rate since Q2 2013 and Vancouver breaking the $1 billion mark for the second time in three years, the demand for industrial space was an all-time high.

Sean Ungemach, Senior Vice President of Cushman and Wakefield, explained that these impressive numbers are not a fluke, but rather an indicator of consumer demands and outside factors that have contributed to a changing market. Having personally leased 2.5 million square feet of industrial space in a three-month period last Spring, he and our panel credit factors like low gasoline prices, rising housing valuations, and accommodative borrowing conditions to a successful year.

Darren Cannon, Executive Vice President at Colliers, also attributed the falling oil prices to making trucking costs more affordable to go to-and-from Vancouver. In addition, our city has more workers available for businesses to employ compared to five years ago. Plus, e-commerce has driven the need for warehouse space to accommodate the surge of online shopping.

Over the past year, demand for industrial land, strata units, and stand-alone buildings remained very strong. And despite a fewer amount of deals, sales set record highs as the average price per square foot increased significantly, achieving rates close to $200 psf for strata sales.  

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