Oxford Properties Group ("Oxford"), a leading global commercial real estate investor, developer and manager, today unveiled its plans to develop Canada's first large bay multi-level industrial property. Comprising 707,000 square feet over two levels, the project will be built at Oxford's Riverbend Business Park located 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 square foot master planned business park which will now bring the first large scale multi-storey distribution centre concept to Canada.
"Vancouver is one of the tightest industrial markets in the world and space for businesses that service the region - be it through manufacturing, logistics or e-commerce - is in critically short supply," commented Jeff Miller, Head of Industrial at Oxford Properties. "This shortage requires bold solutions and progressive approaches, and we have studied innovative industrial projects from across the globe to inform our plan to develop Canada's first multi-level property. By doing so, we can add density to the already established Riverbend Business park, a former brownfield site, without the need to encroach on greenfield or agricultural land."
As the e-commerce revolution drives an increased need for supply chain and logistics innovations amongst traditional and online retailers, multi-storey industrial concepts have just started to emerge in other supply constrained markets such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York.
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. 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. Conversely, the two floors can be operated and occupied independently and further demised to accommodate multiple customers as small as 70,000 square feet. Located close to the intersection of Marine Way and Highway 91A in Burnaby, it is ideally situated for attracting labour and serving the population base of Vancouver.
The project 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. Furthermore, 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.
Building on Oxford's considerable success with large scale business park developments across Canada, Riverbend Business Park has been designed with input from an expert team of consultants and with extensive consultation with the City of Burnaby.
"Over the last ten years, we have built close to five million square feet of industrial space across Canada. Each park starts with a vision through collaboration with municipalities and stakeholders. We are excited to bring the first modern multi-storey industrial facility to Canada" commented Rob Wheler, Vice President of Development at Oxford Properties.
Riverbend Business Parks has emerged as one of the most progressive and employee-friendly business parks in Canada. The park already features five attractively designed industrial buildings and the new development will promote employee wellness via the construction of an amenity pier that stretches out into the Fraser River and walking trails that connect to the public trail system.
"The war for talent does not stop at office workers, so providing an attractive and amenity-rich working environment can be crucial in helping our customers attract and retain talent. Whether Oxford is building a warehouse or a skyscraper, we never lose sight of the fact that a customer's working environment is critical for running a successful operation" added Miller.
"We believe we've created one of the most progressive business parks in Canada. A place that is environmentally sustainable, promotes employee wellness and has taken an innovative approach to solving the supply crunch that exists in Vancouver's industrial market. We welcome partnering with the City of Burnaby and its forward-thinking approach to intensify already existing industrial sites."
Oxford is in the process obtaining the required planning and permitting and has begun initial site preparation work.