Despite numerous impacts up and down the construction pipeline — everything from skyrocketing material prices to widespread labor shortages — the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t constrained the amount of development in downtown Vancouver.
The city is in the midst of an unprecedented construction boom, with seven major projects underway or recently completed and many more waiting in the wings. The past decade has seen a consistent ramp-up in construction activity as the economy moved past the recession, and the current crop of projects is larger than at any prior point.
“We’re on track to have twice as many (residential) units come online as have been built since 2007, which is pretty amazing,” said Vancouver economic development director Chad Eiken. “We’ve never seen this level of activity in the downtown.”
The Waterfront Vancouver has been the main focal point of development in downtown Vancouver in the past few years, but it only accounts for two of the projects currently under construction — aside from one at the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 1 redevelopment site, the remainder are all on the north side of the BNSF Railway tracks.
The vast majority of the square footage under construction is slated to become residential space, along with a mix of office and hotel uses. That’s good news, according to Eiken, because it means the city is on track to meet a goal set in the 2007 Vancouver City Center Vision plan: add at least 4,551 new multifamily units to the downtown core by 2027.