Canada’s first multi-storey DC to rise in BC

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
The multistorey industrial distribution facility at Riverbend Business Park located in Burnaby. (CNW Group/Oxford Properties Group Inc.)

VANCOUVER – Developer Oxford Properties Group has 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 the company’s Riverbend Business Park located in Burnaby on the site of a former paperboard milling operation.

The 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 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 well situated for attracting labour and serving the population base of Vancouver.

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 among 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.

The new development at Riverbend Business Park 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. (CNW Group/Oxford Properties Group Inc.)

Purchased by Oxford in 2011, the 65-acre Riverbend 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.

Oxford is in the process obtaining the required planning and permitting and has begun initial site preparation work.