One thing you’ll notice while living in Vancouver is that every year, it gets busier. Many people seek the west coast’s moderate climate, beautiful surroundings, lifestyle and amenities. The first city to rank in the Top 10 “World’s Most Livable Cities” for 10 consecutive years, there is no doubt that Vancouver will continue to grow. The question is, how will it grow?
Throughout Vancouver’s 130+ years of growth it has become increasingly important to balance the needs of residential land with land earmarked for commercial and industrial development. Though each of these interests competes for the same available land, they are highly dependent on one another. If more housing is built, residents need both commercial and industrial development for amenities, conveniences, and employment.
Conversely, local businesses can appeal to potential employees by boasting nearby housing opportunities, as well as draw on nearby residents for their employee base. This synergistic “dance” is ongoing and fluid, changing with supply and demand, economic fluctuations and our changing ways of living and working.
In order to maintain the balance between residential and industrial land, the City of Vancouver created Regional Industrial and Mixed-Employment zones, which are exclusively reserved for commercial and industrial real estate development. The City of Vancouver also keeps track of the current amount of vacant land as published in its 2015 Industrial Lands Inventory Summary Report (PDF). The report states that the city’s vacant land supply will be substantially diluted by 2030.
Although Vancouver has a limited amount of land for development, including commercial/industrial uses, new and exciting industrial designs are promising to maximize space while respecting neighbourhood aesthetics. This advancement of industrial development, and the redevelopment of under-utilized properties, will help guarantee that Vancouver remains a city rich in innovation and industry, rather than becoming a resort town reliant on service-based industries.
“Land absorption rates will be affected by the redevelopment of under-utilized properties and intensification of developed industrial areas, which could extend the lifespan of the land supply.”
– City of Vancouver “2015 Industrial Lands Inventory Summary”
The limited amount of industrial land in Vancouver is changing the way available land is being used and allowing developers to come up with creative ways to utilize it. “Pure” (single-use) industrial development is fast becoming an outdated model. Vancouver’s new commercial-industrial businesses employ both technology and knowledge workers, central to the success of their product and business. Flex-use spaces – those that satisfy the needs of businesses in this new frontier, while developing projects in a way that uses industrial lands efficiently – benefit business, the community, and contribute to sustainable development in Vancouver. Encouraging more efficient, multi-use industrial space is an important part of community planning.
The IRONWORKS commercial-industrial real estate development in East Vancouver is an example of how industrial development is changing. Conwest, the developer of IRONWORKS’ stacked, mixed-use office, warehouse and industrial space, has ensured that it maximizes density and versatility on the parcel of land on which it’s situated, while remaining aesthetically pleasing – fitting into the surrounding Port Town community.
“We [Vancouver] don’t have very much space and it’s very difficult to stack up a warehouse. If companies like this can unlock that problem, it will be a huge key to prosperity down the road.”
– Geoff Meggs, Chief of Staff to Premier-Designate John Horgan and former Vancouver City Councillor, speaking in the IRONWORKS video.
When IRONWORKS owner-investors purchase a unit in the development, they are investing in more than Vancouver commercial real estate. They, like other progressive businesses, are seizing an increasingly rare opportunity.
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If you own a business and are seeking mixed-use commercial-industrial real estate in Vancouver, book a viewing of IRONWORKS. Contact our sales centre.