Confident suburban developer builds Richmond office complex on spec

Richmond’s 9.2% office vacancy rate was the highest of any Metro Vancouver suburban market in Q2

One Park under construction at 8119 Park in Richmond | Rob Kruyt

Luke Gibson, vice-president with CBRE in Vancouver, is handling office sales for a new $330 million Richmond mixed-use office complex that is under construction without any of the space sold.

“This is speculative,” Gibson said November 16, a day after pre-sale marketing for One Park’s commercial space was launched, “but we are confident. There is a lot of activity.”

He expects at least three of the 58 office strata units available will be pre-sold and that the entire three floors of Class A office space, a total of 47,106 square feet, will be claimed well before the Grand Long development opens in 2024.

Prices for the offices start at $1,000 per square foot.

One Park, developed at the site of former Richmond strip mall 8119 Park Road at No. 3 Road, has three terraced towers. It includes 31,845 square feet of retail space on the ground floors, which will be leased, and an office component above. The development will be topped by 13 floors of residential condos, where prices start at around $555,000 for 540 square feet.

Ken Kwan, project director for Grand Long, said the pandemic has shifted office demand from downtown to the suburbs, but he is confident the entire Metro Vancouver office market will remain strong.

Still, Richmond office speculation is not a slam dunk.

According to CBRE, Richmond’s 9.2% office vacancy rate was the highest of any Metro Vancouver suburban market in 2021’s second quarter.

As of mid-year, the total absorption of Richmond office space had gone negative by more than 95,000 square feet. But as Kwan noted, One Park is the first Class A office space built in Richmond in 20 years. He said its “ideal location” close to a Canada Line station and the CF Richmond Centre shopping mall will help assure sales of its strata office space.