Vancouver developer PC Urban Properties Corp. is pre-selling the second – and largest – of its new strata industrial projects in Greater Victoria as B.C.’s Capital Region faces the tightest industrial market in the country.
Greater Victoria’s industrial vacancy rate is 0.2%, according to a Colliers Canada national survey, the lowest among all Canadian cities, while its average industrial lease rate, at $16.02 per square foot, is the highest.
Second-place Metro Vancouver, in comparison, had a 0.5% industrial vacancy rate in the third quarter and an average per-square-foot leases at $15.50, according to Colliers.
Across Canada, 1.5% of industrial space is vacant, and the average lease rate is $9.70 per square foot.
PC Urban Properties announced October 19 that it would build the largest industrial development ever undertaken in Langford’s West Shore community. The InterUrban Cornerstone project will cover seven acres at 830 McCallum Road.
PC Urban also has a 135,000-square-foot strata industrial project underway in Greater Victoria’s Colwood community.
Interurban Cornerstone will include 160,000 square feet of light industrial strata in three buildings, and local agents say the space is needed.
“There are a growing number of small businesses in the area struggling to find space,” said Elizabeth Mears of Cushman & Wakefield in Victoria.
“With industrial vacancy at 0.1%in the West Shore, and average lease rates climbing 3% to 5% per year, industrial strata units are in high demand because there is simply currently nothing available. “
Mears added that some West Shore companies are operating out of garages, “and we see many businesses that are moving up from Victoria.”
According to Colliers, industrial land is selling on the West Shore for an average of $45 per square foot compared with $130 per square foot in the city of Victoria.
The three new buildings at Langford will provide strata space for businesses in e-commerce, industrial service and marine service as well as for private investors, in spaces ranging from 2,500 square feet to 5,900 square feet, PC Urban stated.
The strata space is being pre-sold for per-square-foot prices ranging from $365 to $400. This is well above the $262 average per-square-foot price of the three largest industrial property sales in Greater Victoria through 2021’s second quarter.
Prices are normally higher for smaller strata spaces in new builds, due to high demand.
Construction of the new Cornerstone project is scheduled to start in January 2022; occupancy is planned for 2023’s first quarter, according to PC Urban CEO Brent Sawchyn. •