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Suburban developer building offices on spec

Grand Long is well into construction of a three-building, $330 million Richmond mixed-use complex where none of the strata office space has been sold.
One Park under construction at 8119 Park, Richmond: ‘This is speculative.’: 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 well 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 shorty and that the entire three floors of Class A office space, a total of 47,106 square feet, will be claimed well before the development by Grand Long opens in 2024.

Prices for the offices start at $1,000 per square foot. Units can be combined for up to a full floor plate of 14,000 square feet.

One Park, developed from a former strip mall 8119 Park Road at No. 3 Road, Richmond, includes three terraced towers, with 31,845 square feet of retail space on the ground floors, which will be leased, the office component above, and all topped by a total of 13 floors of residential condos, 303 in all, where prices start at around $555,000 for 540 square feet.

Ken Kwan, project director for Grand Long, One Park’s developer, 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 had the highest office vacancy of any suburban market in Metro Vancouver as of the second quarter of 2021, at 9.2%. As of mid-year, the total absorption of Richmond office space had gone negative by more than 95,000 square feet.

But as Kwan notes, 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.

One Park also has extensive amenities for office owners, including even a games room and lounge with wet bar, he added.

With strata office space as small as 500 square feet available, “this is very affordable” for small to mid-size local businesses, Long said.