TransLink spends $13.9M to buy back building

Translink has bought the 120,000 square foot Burnaby building that BC Transit sold for...

TransLink has regained ownership of this 120,000 square foot Burnaby building that BC Transit sold for a $9 million loss in 2004 | Photo: Bob Mackin

Taxpayers have regained ownership of the 120,000 square foot Burnaby building that BC Transit sold for a $9 million loss in 2004.

On December 18, 2014, TransLink paid $13.9 million for 6700 Southridge Dr. after spending $63,666.76 a month on rent since August 1, 2012, according to Steve Walsh, TransLink’s acquisitions and leasing manager said in a memo. The building, across the street from the B.C. Rapid Transit Co. operations and maintenance yard, was puråchased in anticipation of refurbishing and expanding the SkyTrain fleet.

Bombardier was the original occupant, but when it stopped making SkyTrain Mark II vehicles there in 2004, BC Transit bought the facility for $17.2 million. BC Transit then sold the facility and the land for $8.2 million in November 2004 to Mac and Jac Clothing president Eric Karls, who flipped it for $13.025 million in April 2005 to Dayhu Investments.

Walsh’s January 27 internal memo said TransLink bought the facility “to address capacity issues” at the SkyTrain Operations and Maintenance Centre, also known as OMC1. The so-called OMC2 building will be used for refurbishing Mark I vehicles, painting Mark II vehicles and assembling Evergreen Line vehicles.

“The property met several unique criteria, including sufficient office, storage and shop space; proper land-use zoning; suitable for rail and rolling stock projects; and located in close proximity to OMC1,” Walsh wrote.

In November 2013, TransLink announced it would spend $28.5 million from federal gas taxes and $9.4 million from its own capital budget to extend the life of the original 1986 rolling stock another 15 years.

A February 16 internal memo said TransLink had spent $1,052,539 to upgrade and repair OMC2, including $361,992 for a paint booth and $350,486 for restoring the rail connection to OMC1.

The Mayors’ Council’s 10-year, $7.5 billion plan includes $765 million to upgrade the Expo and Millennium lines.