B.C.’s top 10 land deals of 2021


Richmond posts the largest land transaction in the province with the sale of 27 acres for more than $300 million

Cutline: Keltic Development paid just over $300 million for 27 acres in the biggest land deal of 2021. | Sutton WestCoast

2021 was a bounce-back year for land transactions in Metro Vancouver. Following two years of declining transaction value, a renewed interest in development across all asset classes fuelled a significant number of sales throughout the region.

One of the emerging differences between the current activity and the previous hot market of 2016-2018 is the shift in focus toward suburban markets, and to asset classes including rental residential and arguably Metro Vancouver’s hottest asset class: industrial.

The days of speculative trades for downtown luxury condo sites are largely gone for now; the pre-sales market for luxury has only recently started to thaw. Otherwise, the focus for many of the large local residential developers has been suburban markets and purpose-built rentals.

It is clear that both private and institutional investors continue to be bullish on the long-term fundamentals in Vancouver, and the expectation is that 2022 will be another active year in the market.

Highlights of the top deals:

Four 4 10 were sold by a market bid process (the other six were ‘off-market’).

All 10 were bought by well-established ‘local’ development groups, with previously active offshore buyers absent from these large deals.

Here’s a look at each of the 10 largest land deals of 2021:

1. 5900 No. 2 Road & 6191, 6311 & 6751 Westminster Highway, Richmond

For the second year in a row, the largest land deal in Metro Vancouver is in Richmond, . A press release from Keltic describes this deal: “Currently, the property is occupied by light industrial / commercial tenants. The company plans to create a vibrant multi-use destination including residential, commercial and industrial spaces that will add richness and vitality to the city. Twenty-three per cent of the land, or 6.4 acres, will be developed into green space and contributed back to the city for community use.”

The off-market sale was brokered by Goran Bucan of Sutton WestCoast Realty.

2. 7000 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby

  • Price:  $151 million
  • Site Area: 14 acres
  • Vendor: Pension Fund
  • Purchaser: Create Properties

Brokered by David Taylor and Simon Lim of Colliers Canada, Vancouver. The land is in the Bainbridge area of Burnaby. Create Properties is currently working with the City of Burnaby on a large-scale multi-phase development as part of the Bainbridge Urban Village Plan.

3. 1155 East 6th Avenue, Vancouver

This transit oriented development site is currently occupied by Shaw, but allows for potential rezoning and redevelopment under the False Creek Flats Plan, which could potentially allow up to 5.0 FSR (floor space ratio) of commercial and industrial space.

4. 13301 104th Avenue, Surrey

  • Price:  $99 million
  • Site Area:  6.4 acres
  • Vendor: Private Investor
  • Purchaser: Private Investor

This sale involved a 6.38-acre future multi-high-rise development site in Surrey City Centre Improved with 11 rental apartment buildings totaling 156 units. It was brokered by Dean Thomas of HQ Commercial.  The asking price was $98 million.

5. 2300 Madison Avenue, Burnaby

Polygon acquired this BC Hydro site in November 2021. The site comprises two lots, 2300 Madison Avenue, which is currently occupied with an older industrial warehouse building; and a BC Hydro Right-of-Way. The site is located within the Brentwood Town Centre Development Plan, and is designated for medium to high-density multiple-family development. A preliminary application calls for three towers and 975 units including condos and rentals.

6. 622-688 SW Marine Drive, Vancouver

  • Price: $68 million
  • Site Area:  1.5 Acres
  • Vendor:  Private Investor

This 66,474-square-foot development site (the “Denny’s site”) was brokered by Simon Lim, James Lang and Jessica Hathaway of Colliers, Vancouver. It is located one block from Marine Drive Skytrain Station and a current rezoning application by Chard contemplates two towers with 573 rental units

7. 2111 Main Street, Vancouver

This site on the West side of Main Street known as the City Centre Motel, has long been a target of many local buyers and was sold to Nicola in November. There is no word yet on redevelopment plans of the motor hotel, but the plan in the short-term is to rent the units to artists.

8.  4 West 5th Avenue and 4 to 16 West 3rd Avenue, Vancouver

  • Price: $57 Million
  • Site Area: 36,234 square feet
  • Vendor: Alsco Canada
  • Purchaser: PCI Developments & HOOPP

This land assembly sale involved an I-1 zoned site comprising two older industrial buildings in the burgeoning Mount Pleasant Light industrial/office district. No word yet on redevelopment plans. The deal was brokered by Blair Quinn of CBRE.

9. 2450 United Boulevard, Coquitlam

  • Price: $45 million
  • Site Area:  9.5 acres
  • Vendor: Coca Cola Canada
  • Purchaser:  Beedie

This acquisition by Beedie was one of the larger industrial land transactions in 2021. The site is currently improved with a vending machine distribution centre. There is no word yet on future redevelopment plans.

10. 1290 Hornby Street, Vancouver