There is a real concern among the businesses and developers in the lower mainland, and that is the lack of industrial land. We need to recognize the importance of industrial lands to our economic and population growth at a municipal and provincial level.
It is great to hear politicians speak of creating jobs, but if you have no land to develop this make it a very difficult proposition. Without a solution we will continue to lose potential employers as well current companies to other provinces. It is not enough to continue to take high level looks at this problem, and throw out ideas like land freezes and densification and hope the issue goes away. What we need to do first is understand what we have, what the market is demanding and then look at our options.
I commend Metro Vancouver for looking into this real problem and holding planning sessions to look at the inventory of industrial land, market readiness, monitoring, intensification and densification. Below are some of the various stats and points from recent reports and studies.
- The inventory findings indicated that there are 11,430 hectors of municipally designated industrial land, of which 8,746 hectares (76%) are developed and 2,685 hectares (24%) are vacant.
- As vacant land supply diminishes the supply of sites becomes more scattered and remnant. There is a lack of large scale industrial sites. There are also a large portion of lands that are being held for future expansion of existing companies.
- Assuming no intensification, land demand would require an additional 1,400 hectares by 2021, and another 1,100 hectares by 2031. Warehousing and transportation land uses would require larger sites and seek strategic locations and access near major highway routes.
- Of the total 6,509 vacant acres of industrial land in Metro Vancouver only 4,521 acres could be ready in the short to midterm.
- Thirty five percent of the available short to midterm land is located in Surrey.
- Thirty three percent of the long term land is located in the far north area of Maple Ridge.
- Average annual land absorption rate is approximately 250 acres over a five year period.
Further studies must be done to show which lands are available for purchase and fee simple development and which lands are not physically constrained by topographic, environmental or servicing issues. This will give us the true picture of what is available and what the outlook of our province looks like, and from this we can start to look at real solutions.
This blog was contributed by:
Chris MacCauley | Vice President
CBRE Limited | Industrial Properties