Oxford Properties Group ("Oxford"), a leading global commercial real estate investor, developer and manager, has broken ground on Canada's first large-scale multi-level industrial project. The project is located at Oxford's Riverbend Business Park in Burnaby. The site of a former paperboard milling operation, Oxford has transformed the brownfield site into a progressive and environmental award-winning 1.35 million master planned business park. Oxford first announced in November 2019 its intention to build the project on a speculative basis and, with all required municipal approvals received, the building has now broken ground with anticipated completion in Q4 2022.
Oxford’s development will be on two levels. The ground floor comprises 437,000 square feet with 32-foot clear heights. The second storey, which is accessible to full size transport trailers via a heated ramp, consists of 270,000 square feet, 28-foot clear heights and a 130-foot truck court with dock loading doors. Anticipated for completion in 2022, the building at Riverbend Business Park can provide a single customer 707,000 square feet of contiguous space, making it the largest available industrial property in the Greater Vancouver Area. Located close to the intersection of Marine Way and Highway 91A in Burnaby, it is ideally situated for attracting labour and can serve a population of 1.4 million within a 30-minute drive.
"The pandemic has accelerated the penetration of e-commerce into our daily lives and will put additional demand for infrastructure such as logistics space to service the growing digital economy." commented Jeff Miller, Head of Industrial at Oxford Properties. "With Vancouver one of the tightest and most land-constrained industrial markets in the world this requires bold solutions. We’ve learned from some of the most innovative industrial projects from across the globe to execute on our plan to develop Canada’s first multi-level industrial property. Given its proximity to the urban areas of Greater Vancouver, the development provides excellent infrastructure for last-mile delivery as consumers come to increasingly expect next-day and even same-day delivery."
Industrial has emerged as one of the most resilient asset classes in the face of the pandemic due to the acceleration of the trend of a secular shift to e-commerce and evolving supply chain requirements. Demand for industrial space continues to outpace supply with Vancouver recording 1.1 million square feet of positive net absorption in Q3 2020. This extends the region’s record-setting run of interrupted positive industrial absorption to a full seven years.
Growing its global industrial exposure is one of Oxford’s highest conviction investment strategies and it has rapidly grown in the sector over the past few years. Today, Oxford is rapidly closing in on its ambition to have approximately a third of its deployed equity in the asset class. Its Canadian industrial business now comprises 14.3 million square feet and $2.3 billion of assets under management, with a development pipeline of up to 6 million square feet across Vancouver, the GTA, Edmonton and Calgary.
"Oxford has built close to five million square feet of industrial space across Canada and each park starts with a vision made in collaboration with municipalities and stakeholders. Breaking ground and going vertical is an important milestone in our stated ambition to deliver Canada’s first large-scale multi-storey industrial facility," commented Rob Wheler, Vice President of Development at Oxford Properties.
The start of construction marks a highpoint for the transformation of the Riverbend Business Park. Purchased by Oxford in 2011, the 65-acre site was home to a former paperboard milling operation and a 14-acre landfill. Over 300,000 cubic metres of waste and debris was removed from the site and converted back into developable land. Oxford has implemented several initiatives to restore the shoreline of the adjacent Fraser River and help protect native species along the river. Invasive and non-native plant species were removed, improvements made to fish habitats and shoreline erosion protection measures installed. The buildings at Riverbend Business Park are also LEED Certified and Oxford’s environmentally conscious approach to the redevelopment of the brownfield site earned it the 2019 City of Burnaby Environmental Award.
Riverbend Business Park has emerged as one of the most progressive and employee-friendly business parks in Canada. The park features attractively designed buildings, clerestory windows providing natural light, amenities to promote employee wellness such as a pier overlooking the Fraser river, end-of-trip facilities and walking trails that connect to the public trail system.
For more details on the project, please visit https://www.riverbendbusinesspark.com/