Developer Lark Group has unveiled the expansion of its Health and Technology District project, releasing details on the second of eight planned buildings in Surrey’s City Centre.
The newly completed 185,000-square-foot City Centre 2 development rises to 12 storeys directly across from Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Surrey-based Safe Software is slated to occupy the top five floors, comprising 54,000 square feet, as its head office, bringing more than 150 employees.
The full district will consist of 1.5 million square feet when completed and, according to the Lark Group, will generate an 15,000 jobs and bring $1.1 billion into B.C.’s economy.
City Centre 2 also secured the project’s first educational institution as an anchor tenant: Regent Christian Academy, a Surrey private school, plans to open an 11,000-square-foot campus in the development this year.
Safe Software and Regent Christian Academy won’t make their move into the development until this fall, but according to Rowena Rizzotti, Lark Group’s vice-president of health care and innovations, interest in the Health and Technology District continues to grow.
“What we’re hearing is that companies want to be part of a community that’s doing new and exciting things,” Rizzotti said. “City Centre 2 provides a concrete example that a community starts to attract and grow in itself.”
Rizzotti noted that City Centre 2 filled up so quickly with tenants that Lark Group had to expedite orders for the next phase of the development: City Centre 3.
The success of the Health and Technology District in attracting tenants comes partly from the growing community itself, Rizzotti said, adding that the larger city of Surrey plays a big part, with a growing residential community and increased accessibility through transit developments.
“Companies would like to be nestled in downtown Vancouver but it’s difficult for employees who would like to have families and homes,” she said.
When City Centre 1 opened in 2015, Vancouver-based Livecare and Conquer Mobile both moved to Surrey’s new tech hub, as did Pennsylvania’s Helius Medical Technologies (TSX:HSM), which performed research in the region for a study on brain injury.
Although City Centre 2 doesn’t have any major tenants moving in from outside municipalities yet – its anchor tenants were already based in Surrey – Vancouver’s Science World plans to open a satellite office in the building.
“Large multinationals and small companies like to be here because they can interact with so many different user groups,” Rizzotti said. “They’re nestled and exposed to innovators.… They need to see what’s coming.”