UBC, or more specifically, UBC Properties Trust, is making a creative property development play in order to fund a future academic presence in Surrey, one of B.C.’s fastest growing communities.
UBC Properties Trust has acquired a three-acre, 135,000 square feet site in Surrey at the corner of King George Blvd. and Fraser Highway for $70 million. The property is currently home to the Grace Hanin Community Church.
Redevelopment plans are still very preliminary, but the project is expected to include a mix of residential and commercial space. Revenue from the development will help fund the construction of a future Surrey UBC site, a model that UBC Properties Trust has successfully used in their Wesbrook Village development on the Point Grey campus.
Renderings: UBC Surrey development site
“The $70 million land investment by UBC is another indicator of Surrey’s rising prominence in the region. The property is strategically located close to rapid transit and Surrey Memorial Hospital making it an ideal location for UBC to build a strong presence in Surrey and south of the Fraser. I welcome UBC’s new development in Surrey, and I look forward to seeing this project completed as quickly as possible,” says Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
“We look forward to working with the City of Surrey, Fraser Health, First Nations Health Authority and regional partners to uncover the many exciting possibilities that this new project holds for the Surrey community and Fraser Valley, as well as UBC students, faculty and staff,” says UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono.
Burnaby-based Simon Fraser University first established a presence in Surrey in 2002 at the Central City Shopping Centre, and now serves over 8,000 full-time and part-time students from an expanded Surrey campus.
UBC is also planning a new campus in downtown Kelowna with a mix of residential, office and academic space. A preliminary concept for the downtown campus was created by UNStudio and DIALOG, however, HMCA of Vancouver is now working on a revised design, which should be released soon.
Editor’s note: The author of this article, Peter Meiszner, is an employee of the University of British Columbia.