First Canadian multi-storey DC ready for business

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by Emily Atkins

Canada’s first multi-storey distribution centre has been completed.

The facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, is owned by Oxford Properties Group.

The two-storey building is located on a 23.45-acre site and has a ground floor of 437,000 square feet with 32-foot clear heights. The second story, accessible to full-size transport trailers via a long service ramp, consists of 270,000 square feet, 28-foot clear heights and a 130-foot truck court where trucks can circulate.

Loading docks at the Riverbend DC are constructed of precast concrete.

The heated exterior ramp allows for 53-foot trailers to make deliveries. Assorted mechanical rooms, a leasing office and storage space are located below the ramp. Loading docks are constructed of precast concrete and the office areas are made of insulated metal panels. 

The building can provide a single tenant with 707,000 square feet of contiguous space. Alternatively, its two floors can be operated and occupied independently and further divided to accommodate multiple tenants as small as 70,000 square feet. Several main entrances allow for flexiblility.

Construction of the building is significant for the 65-acre Riverbend Business Park. The site, which used to be home to a paperboard milling operation and a 14-acre landfill, was purchased by Oxford Properties Group in 2011. Today, buildings on the site comprise more than 1.3 million square feet and are LEED certified. Oxford earned the 2019 City of Burnaby Environmental Award.

 Experience a quick tour of the project in this flythrough video.  

“The Greater Vancouver Area is one of the world’s most land-constrained industrial markets, and demand for industrial space outpaces supply, thanks to the rise in e-commerce,” said Frank Di Roma, principal of architecture firm Ware Malcomb.

“We were pleased to solve considerable logistical and code-related challenges with this new building type and arrive at a design that maximizes industrial floor space. This impressive building is the first large-scale multistory distribution centre concept in Canada.”

Ware Malcomb was the architect of record for the project. Christopher Bozyk Architects Ltd. was the design architect and Ledcor Construction Ltd. was the general contractor.

Oxford Properties Group and its portfolio companies manage approximately $82 billion (Canadian) of commercial real estate across the globe and its portfolio includes industrial, office, multifamily, retail, life sciences, hotels and credit.

In 2017, Ware Malcomb developed a multi-storey design prototype which created a new commercial asset class of building. The firm’s multi-storey design focuses on facilitating industrial development in highly sought-after/land-constrained locations by building vertically to significantly increase rentable area without expanding the building footprint. The firm has six multi-storey projects under construction, six going through entitlements and has designed over 150 multi-storey sites/test fits in major markets across the Americas.