ICT Group and Lark Group’s Health and Technology District in downtown Surrey expanded Nov. 14 as they broke ground on the City Centre 4 building, their largest phase to date.
The building will be a part of eight developments that, when completed, will make up the largest health and technology hub of its kind in Canada. City Centre 4 will consist of 23 storeys and more than 350,000 square feet of office space available for purchase or lease. In addition, the building has five floors or 75,000 square feet of wet lab space, with additional possibilities to expand up to a million square feet of wet lab space in the future building phases, according to Lark Group.
The area is emerging as a centre for tech companies, scientists, educators and health professionals, each representing a range of business, technology and research fields.
“We are blazing a trail in Surrey’s business and innovation landscape with the continuing expansion and growth momentum of the Health and Technology District,” said Kirk Fisher, senior vice-president of Lark Group, in a media statement.
“The incredible demand for office and wet lab space, especially in Surrey which is one of Canada’s fastest growing large cities, propels us forward with the construction of our City Centre 4 building, and City Centre 5 following quickly thereafter. The District plays a crucial role in helping transform the city’s downtown core and attracting businesses and institutions to Surrey.”
Demand for Surrey office space has skyrocketed as more companies see the potential in its location and market. Being connected to the SkyTrain offers immediate access to Vancouver that will be furthered with the anticipated extension to Langley, says Rowena Rizzotti, VP of healthcare and innovations at the Health and Technology District. The building will also be immediately adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital, one of Canada’s busiest hospitals.
The growth in the area can be seen in the increasing interest for space in the district with City Centre 2 selling out noticeably faster than City Centre 1, according to Rizzotti.
“City Center 3 was almost unprecedented and that was sold out prior to even being completed. And then that has also accelerated the interest in demand and there's millions of dollars in pre-sales already in City Centre 4,” she said in an interview with BIV.
She says that if demand for the current phase is strong enough, that the next phase of City Centre 5 could come online as quickly as nine months after the completion of City Centre 4.
The building’s wet lab space will be filling a gap in the private sector that, according to Rizzotti, is much needed.
“I've heard this not only in B.C., but across Canada, where provinces are really struggling with access to that asset because it's always been predominantly within the university and the public sector. But now there's a private sector demand for wet lab type of space,” she said.
The area is looking to attract leading Canadian industry sectors and the wet lab space makes the district more attractive to the whole Lower Mainland as an asset, according to Rizzotti.
High profile organizations are starting to recognize the value in the area with UBC buying space in City Centre 1 for their Masters of Physical Therapy program for the South of Fraser region. This is in addition to their $70 million purchase in 2021 for a 135,000-square-foot property down the street which is anticipated to be a combination of residential and commercial space.
Rizzotti says that the presence of UBC is creating more interest from private and public sectors, as well as changing the dynamic in the area.
“That has certainly driven interest and really put it on everybody's radar that if UBC is investing so heavily into that community, they really do see a future in Surrey,” she said.
“There's been a lot of consideration and consultation underway around how we create an environment as a student-driven and business-driven campus.”
The building will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2025, according to Lark Group.