The Fall 2012 Crane Survey, published by Deloitte, is an examination of development projects in Metro Vancouver that are shaping the region. It’s available to read and download here.

While most of the report outlines various new retail, residential and industrial construction around the region, there is a surprising tone of advocacy for sustainable funding for transit. Surprising, because even a global financial consulting firm can make the link between market demand for real estate and transit accessibility. Take page one for example:

“Rapid transit is proving to be a game changer…

The demand has now been clearly demonstrated for rapid transit but TransLink continues to struggle to not only finance new capital projects but also in some cases to maintain existing service levels.

Moving forward, if the transit system is to continue to expand, there needs to be more certainty in funding for TransLink to build these improvements and more clarity regarding how municipalities capture a share of the land value increases if we are to capitalize on this uprising in support for mixed use transit oriented development. This will be a key factor in the sustainable growth of our region.”

Marine Gateway development

Marine Gateway development

Further still, the report questions the continued investment in highway expansion, namely the Gateway Program. This one, for example, directed at the Highway 1 expansion:

“Will the reduced commute times further encourage lower density development in the Fraser Valley that goes against current goals of encouraging more sustainable compact development?”

I expect  this message will get louder in the future, particularly in the absence of new funding mechanisms for transit and leadership from senior levels of government (i.e. the Province). The report acknowledges that demand for transit is having a major influence on the location and type of real estate development in Metro Vancouver. This isn’t surprising given transit ridership is at an unprecedented high and residential developments next to rapid transit stations are selling out in hours.

But what seems to be happening is a realization beyond the “usual” advocates that people want transit, and the politicians that can facilitate investment in transit are doing nothing.

Brewery District at Sapperton Station

Brewery District at Sapperton Station





4 thoughts on “Deloitte on transit as an economic force in Metro Vancouver

  1. Pingback: Blog Post of the Day: Transit as an economic force « Price Tags

  2. Of course developers love rapid transit. Taxpayer pays for it, and their developments get less parking so more sellable space. They’re not Condon’s Mr Campbell developers: http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/09/16/StreetcarToBeDesired/

    I just wish they’d get the ground level right. Frances tells us CBRE said no to ground-floor retail http://www.francesbula.com/uncategorized/apres-marine-gateway-le-deluge/

    And I wish the city would meet them half way with more pleasant streets. Will anyone want to hang out on the corner of Marine & Cambie, or will it still be car-dominated nastiness like Broadway & Cambie?

  3. This may not fit exactly with your thesis, but I wanted to put it out there anyway. There appears to be a boom in “transit oriented development” in the lower mainland, particularly in large new developments located right next to rapid transit stations, such as a couple that you pictured in your piece (Marine Gateway in south Vancouver, and the Brewery District in New Westminster) but there are lots of other examples too – Metrotower 3, Oakridge Centre redevelopment, lots in Richmond and Burnaby.

    I suspect three factors – pent up demand after the recent recesion, planned development by developers of those sites percipitated by the advent of rapid transit stations, and most importantly, a change in the provincial law with respect to Translink or BC Transit being involved in non-transit development.

    I want to expand on the third point. I heard somewhere that there was a provincial law in place that prohibited BC Transit from being involved in “land development”. In other words, they could not do what the Hong Kong government, for expample, does, and buy land, in excess of their needs for transit infrastructure, build the transit, and then sell the excess land later at a profit. I suppose the ratioale for that was to insulate the BC govenrment from accusations that it was acting as a develoeper, and, both contrary to local interests, and in competion with the private land development sector.

    I would guess that this law, if it did exist, would have been brought in by the NDP when they were in power, some time between 1991 and 2001. I kind of doubt that it would have been brought in prior to 1991, by the SoCreds. Although, in one respect, I am skeptical about the timing assumption that I have made: the Production Way skytrain station on the Millenium Line was developed between approx 2000 and 2002, and was opened in September 2002, and was clearly a public private development effort, where the station and bus loop are clearly tied in to a private office building development. I am sure there are other examples. If that occured during the NDP government term, than either there was not such a law, or my timing is wrong.

    Anyway, does anyone know the answer to this? Was there such a law? Ifthere was, is there still, or was it changed by the Liberals? It appears that some recent developments, such as Marine Gateway, indicate that P-P development of rapid transit station sites is now a possibility.

    • Translink can buy and sell land, but only for the purposes of transit related operations/infrastructure. So Marine Gateway for example was not a collaboration in terms of development or land sales, but it will be feature connections to the existing station and bus loops in the form of an agreement or easement between the developer and Translink.

      Maybe if Translink could buy land adjacent to stations for the purpose of redevelopment it would generate needed funding? Or maybe this could come in the form of an area benefiting tax? Either way, capturing a share of land value increases next to rapid transit stations is the critical goal.

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