Why the North Shore Is Heating Up
Private investors and major developers alike are being drawn to the North Shore in search of mixed-use redevelopment plays. Avison Young’s Terry Thies gives us the lowdown.
Commercial real estate deals on the North Shore generated $173M last year, the second-highest dollar volume on record, with just three transactions surpassing $10M. There’s “virtually no land available” for commercial projects, says Terry, so builders are forced to assemble sites for redevelopment. Onni Group pieced together land for CentreView, North Vancouver’s largest mixed-use development. The project (below) in Central Lonsdale will include two condo towers, an 80k SF office building and 90k SF of retail, with a Whole Foods replacing the Safeway.
Elsewhere on the North Shore, Polygon is demolishing Esplanade Centre to build West Quay (below), a project that will include 200-plus residential units and 40k SF of strata commercial space. And Concert Properties is working on Harbourside, a mixed-use waterfront community that Terry notes was spurred by North Vancouver’s move to up-zone light industrial properties, which permits mixed-use projects with commercial/retail space at grade, office on upper floors, and residential above. It’s made stand-alone assets on the North Shore “highly prized."
The North Shore has significant activity from private real estate investors, too, Terry points out; high-net-worth individuals who reside in the area and like to “play a little bit in the commercial real estate market.” Especially hot right now are East and West Esplanade, Edgemont Village and the Lower Lynn/Dollarton corridor. North Shore holdings tend to be smaller-scale, Terry notes, and private investors are partial to purchasing strata product or stand-alone retail properties that, in light of zoning changes, are now ripe for redevelopment.