There aren’t a lot of waterfront properties for sale in Greater Vancouver, and that’s good if you’re Squamish, says the senior vice president of the firm marketing the planned oceanfront development.
“I would say this property is definitely unique in its size and scope and the plans for it,” Bill Randall said in an interview with The Chief on Monday (July 23).
Last month, international real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield was selected by the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corp. (SODC) to market the 64 acres on Squamish’s oceanfront peninsula. The company has a history in Squamish, Randall said, noting it worked on the Waterfront Landing residential development before the proposal hit difficulties.
The real estate team is getting up to speed on Squamish’s multi-faceted oceanfront project, Randall said. Timing and structured rollout of the marketing campaign is crucial, he said.
“I kind of think that it will be another month or two away before we have a full marketing plan in place,” Randall said.
He is optimistic regarding Squamish’s real estate market. Over the last couple of years, there has been some modest upward movement, Randall said. Unlike the North Shore and Vancouver markets, there’s room for a rise in Squamish’s numbers, he said, adding that that attracts developers.
Most of the interest to date is on the commercial and industrial side, Randall said, adding there is an overhang in Squamish’s residential market. The buzz comes from within the province, with a few nibbles from rail and port operations and industries around B.C. and Alberta’s growing oil and gas sector, he said.
“I would say the majority of it is B.C. and Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky type of interest,” Randall said.
Long gone are the days of a perfect development parcel, he said. The oceanfront has its unique components with ongoing remediation of contaminants from the former Nexen chemical plant. But Randall said the site has far fewer issues than many lots, such as the former Expo property. How the components unfold and are paid for will be dealt with through stakeholder agreements, Randall said.
“There is not a development in Greater Vancouver that doesn’t have some work that has got to be done to it,” he said. “It is all part of the negotiation.”
In May, the SODC initiated a study on the quality of material that could be dredged from the Mamquam Blind Channel. The review established that the sampled sediments met the applicable government regulatory standards. That allows the dredged material to be used for the proposed 7.53-acre park planned at the southern end of the peninsula.
Cushman and Wakefield was surprised by all the up-front work compiled by the SODC, Randall said.
“We often don’t see that from developments we take on,” he said.