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Richmond: Fortunes boosted by tech sector and airport

Aerospace helps keep the city’s economy and commercial real estate market flying high


Home to Canada’s second busiest airport, Richmond’s economy, and commercial real estate market, revolve around transportation. According to the city of Richmond, the movement of goods or people—which includes dozens of technology companies, manufacturers and port operator’s based in city limits, generates 70 per cent of economic activity. Serving 20 million passengers and 271,000 tonnes of cargo annually, the Vancouver International airport is Richmond’s economic engine. But the aerospace sector also includes manufacturers and sector leaders like MDA and CHC Helicopters. Yet the city’s commercial base is diversifying. Tenant demand in the first quarter of 2017 was driven by technology and advertising sector businesses, according to Colliers—as five of B.C.’s ten biggest software companies are based in Richmond. And there’s also the city’s scorching real estate market. The city issued $704 million worth of development permits in 2016. With the redevelopment of several shopping complexes, such as Lansdowne and Richmond Centre, into transit-adjacent, mixed-use communities, the city’s downtown is set to expand.