After 14 years of negotiations, the Tsawwassen First Nations (TFN) ratified the first urban First Nations Treaty in B.C. on April 3, 2009. The Treaty provided municipal, provincial, and federal types of jurisdiction over a land base of 1,800 acres of land in the Lower Mainland.
So what does that mean for commercial real estate development? Plenty. Chris Hartman, CEO of the TFN Economic Development Corporation, shared some of these initiatives with NAIOP’s members last week at the April Breakfast Event.
Stretching inland from the Georgia Strait, the TFN community is advantageously located in a picturesque setting. Just 30 kilometres from both downtown Vancouver and the U.S. border, it’s also adjacent to an international gateway for Pacific shipping, Deltaport. Providing easy access to the nearby BC Ferries, Tsawwassen is a prime transportation hub connecting traffic to Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the U.S.
Now in charge of their economic and political future, the TFN aims to facilitate business relationships, seeking partners to further land development. This includes short and long term land lease and legacy revenues.
Hartman explains that economic development is a high priority, as they have partnered with the Aquilini Investment Group to develop what people are calling “the best new seaside community in Canada”. Tsawwassen Shores is a master-planned community offering both residential and commercial uses. Located just off of Highway 17, 2,800 new homes, a commercial center, and an elementary school will be available to 6,000 new residents. According to Hartman, the market has responded positively to the first phase of Aquilini’s Tsawwassen Shores community, who currently hold a 99-year leased land agreement.
Ivanhoe Cambridge and Property Development Group have also executed 99-year Lease Agreements with Member Benefits, developing 185 acres as 1.8million square feet of mixed-use complex with retail, entertainment and office uses. With the potential to become one of B.C.’s signature shopping locations, the new space is expected to open Spring 2016.
These types of partnerships are leading to major benefits to the community, as TFN is on par to becoming a vital employment center in the Lower Mainland. Hartman anticipates $548 million in annual economic activity generated from job placements, employment income, operation spending, and property taxes.
The Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) members belong to the seafaring Coast Salish people, and their traditional territory is located in southwest British Columbia. With a long history of environmental stewardship, Hartman explains that they’re going through a period of revival and renewal, seeking opportunities to sustain growth physically, economically and culturally. To learn more, visit http://tsawwassenfirstnation.com.