As Metro Vancouver’s office vacancy rate plunges to near record-lows, a condo developer is adding thousands of square feet of gig-friendly work space to a four-tower complex in Central Surrey.
Surrey’s office vacancy rate has nosedived from 22 per cent in 2014 to a projected 6.5 per cent this year, the lowest level since 2011, according to Avison Young. Despite the demand, only 71,000 square feet of new office space will be delivered this year – the Professional Centre at South Point – and 62 per cent of that tower has already been pre-leased.
“The need for new construction to accommodate demand is mounting,” Avison Young warned in its annual year-end office report.
Cue Concord’s Park George project, where condo buyers will have access to a Triple A-class office campus an elevator ride away. The concept, according to Grant Murray, Concord’s senior vice-president, sales, is to attract tech startup and other entrepreneurs seeking flexible but well-equipped workspace. It is considered the first such project in Metro Vancouver.
Software engineer Dvir Guetta was an early and eager Park George buyer.
“Concord’s campus will have a variety of shared work areas but what I’m most interested in is the boardroom set up for video conferencing. It will make a professional backdrop for meeting important clients remotely. That is something you just can’t pull off from home,” Guetta said.
Murray explained that many condo towers have amenities such as social rooms and fitness space “that hardly anyone uses.”
Concord Pacific launched the idea of using amenity space as work areas last year with its Central tower in Toronto, which quickly sold out. In Surrey, the most recent Park George tower is 80 per cent sold and the Park George 2 has sold a fifth of its units, though marketing only started in late January.
At Park George 2, the building is outfitted with everything from electric-vehicle parking to remote-access entrance and lobbies and common areas, where Wi-Fi automatically connects. The Concord campus has semi-private work and meeting rooms, augmented by the private videoconference room. There are also indoor and outdoor pools, a virtual spin and yoga studio, a sports lounge and tennis court, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa, and an outdoor hot tub theatre with a giant screen.
Murray said that strata fees will be kept low, at around .45 cents per square foot – compared to up to more than $1.20 per square foot at most luxury towers – because the amenity space is shared by 1,500 condos in the four-tower development.
Condos at Park George are in the $800 per square foot range, with a 535 square-foot one-bedroom suite priced around $428,000. Murray estimates that more than 70 per cent of buyers are owners, not investors, with most owners opting for the larger two- and three-bedroom suites. The building will complete in 2022.