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Monday, April 11, 2011

Unprecedented Inftrastructure Spending in Metro Vancouver

By Michael Farrell (Vancouver)

A recent review of infrastructure projects underway in the Metro Vancouver area for a client helped us understand the unprecedented level of construction currently underway on the regions road and rail system and the resulting opportunities. The provincial Gateway Program and the federal Canada’s Pacific Gateway initiative combine to make up a multi-billion dollar infrastructure expansion for Metro Vancouver which also includes funding from private interests.
  • The South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) is a new 40 km highway slated for completion in 2012/2013 that will connect Delta Port with major highways and industrial nodes in the region. The project was recently featured in Avison Young's Commercial Real Estate Letter (Canada / U.S.).
  • Port Mann Highway 1 (PMH1) replaces the existing Port Mann Bridge with a new 10 lane bridge, upgrades or replaces all interchanges over a 37 km stretch of Highway 1, and adds additional lanes in both directions. Completion is set for 2012/2013.
  • Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program will replace nine at grade rail crossings with overpasses to expedite rail traffic from Delta Port through Metro Vancouver to the rest of Canada and the United States.
All three projects address bottlenecks in the current system, but also prepare the region for continued expansion of DeltaPort, which Port Metro Vancouver estimates will need to handle 4 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU’s) by 2030 compared to the terminals 600,000 TEU existing capacity. The planed Terminal 2 expansion will address some of this required expansion in demand by pushing total capacity to 2 million TEU.

As always availability of large tracts of land for development to take advantage of these infrastructure upgrades are few and far between in the Metro Vancouver region. The Tsawwassen First Nations (TFN) have taken a pro-development approach to 1,800 acres of their land located in Delta near the DeltaPort. Most recently, TFN announced development of approximately 175 acres of this land as retail and commercial space in partnership with Ivanhoe Cambridge, an owner and developer of shopping malls. The TFN master plan sets aside 335 acres for development as a logistics park.

The availability of freehold industrial lands in the region as well as the existing infrastructure upgrades are two topics that will be explored further in our upcoming Fraser Valley, BC Industrial Submarket Report and the Metro Vancouver Industrial Overview.

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