Why Everyone's Talking About Brewery District
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Why Everyone's Talking About
Brewery District

There's a big buzz surrounding Brewery District, a nine-acre community under development in New Westminster, including 1.4M SF of retail, commercial, health, and residential space. Will it stay true to its name and fill its reservoir with lager? Allow us to dispel the myths...

Brewery District—located at Sapperton SkyTrain station, across from Royal Columbian Hospital—will comprise eight buildings, with 600k SF of office space and up to 750 residential units. There will also be a 65k SF health-services campus and daycare. Wesgroup Properties' Amy Médard de Chardon tells us they recently submitted a development permit application for the first of four residential towers at Brewery District (above), being built on the old Labatt brewery site. She anticipates approval in early 2015, then sales and construction, and first occupancy in late 2016. The community's information centre is under construction and is expected to open next month. 

Work has just been completed on Building Three, a 28k SF office building, and its anchor tenant, Health Sciences Association, moves in next month. The transformation of the old brewery site began in 2010, with the construction of Building Two (above), which includes a Save on Foods, TD Canada Trust, Take 5 Café, BC Biomedical, and Metro West Insurance. (Just like any time we're drinking at a brewery, we start number two before finishing the first.)

Building One (pictured) finished last year—and winner of a 2014 NAIOP Vancouver award—houses the head offices of TransLink and includes 29k SF of ground-floor retail: Kids & Co., Shoppers Drug Mart, Browns Social House, and Starbucks.

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Multifamily Posts Dazzling First Half

The B.C. multifamily market had it strongest first-half performance in more than five years, with the $140M sale of Boardwalk REIT's B.C. apartment portfolio to Realstar Group representing 35% of total transaction volume province-wide. The three multi-residential buildings in the deal included Horizon Towers in Burnaby ($54M), Surrey Village ($48M, pictured below), and Christie Point Apartments in Victoria ($38M). “This is very significant,” Avison Young's Rob Greer tells us. “We haven't seen a REIT in B.C. sell three assets before.”

The multifamily market also was propelled by the sale by the City of Vancouver of its remaining interest in the Olympic Village for $91M. These two big deals brought the total dollar volume in the multifamily segment to $396M, surpassing the first half of 2013, which saw only $154M in transactions. "But if you strip out those two deals it's really a normal half year for our markets," Rob says, which typically see $5M to $10M apartment sales. “It's rare for us to have apartment deals over $50M.” 

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How Crowdfunding Is Disrupting the $1Trillion Real Estate Industry

There's something special about the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs in California. (No, not the fact it contains a spoon used by the back-up guitarist from Poison. That's not memorabilia—he just likes to eat there.) The hotel was funded, in part, by crowdfunding, the online fundraising model that raises cash from vast numbers of investors. We're fascinated by the topic and suspect you might want to learn more, so Bisnow has produced—gulp!—a FREE video for you featuring Fundrise chief Ben Miller to be released this Thursday. (Fundrise was the first company to successfully crowdfund an equity investment for real estate online.) It'll explain how crowdfunding—often associated with financing dubious art projects—has already raised more than $135M worth of debt and equity since exploding onto the scene in 2012. And that's just the beginning. So stay tuned this Thursday for this special Bisnow video presentation featuring Fundrise.

Are Chinese-only Signs Un-Canadian?

The City of Richmond is exploring whether it has the right to curb Chinese-only billboards and advertisements. It's received a legal opinion warning council that a bylaw imposing an English language content requirement would infringe on the Charter right to freedom of expression. With a municipal election looming next month in Richmond (which has one of the largest Asian populations in the province) one candidate for council told local media that Chinese-only signs “serve to exclude the rest of the community and this is very un-Canadian."

12 Days Until the Top Under 40 Developers / Investors
Meet in Miami

The top developers and investors under the age of 40 descend on the Ritz Carlton in South Beach for Bisnow's first annual "Ascent" multi-day summit. See who's attending and apply to be considered for one of the few remaining spots here.

What do you think of the idea of outlawing Chinese-only signage? Do you think the signs are "un-Canadian"? ryan.starr@bisnow.com

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