Skytrain extension has buyers betting on Broadway

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The proposed new Skytrain line is already spurring a rush on Broadway real estate.

It hasn’t even been announced yet, but the proposed new Skytrain extension from Commercial along Broadway up to Arbutus Street already has buyers betting on Broadway, scooping up land along the presently-low key and low-rise corridor.

With Westbank currently working on a plan for the Safeway parking lot at 10th and Commercial Drive that includes three mid-rise towers, we can expect many more as you go west along Broadway into Kitsilano. For some time the city has been quietly buying buildings around potential Skytrain stations along the proposed route, and developers are going to be very interested in the rest of the commercial properties, especially those which currently have at grade parking lots surrounding them. A good example of this is the Denny’s restaurant lot at Broadway and Alder Street, which was just sold for $26 million in February 2016 (double the assessed value).

The Skytrain plan is expected to be announced this fall, and will probably not be completed for a decade, depending on the province and federal funding coming through. That hasn’t stopped property speculators from driving up the prices though, and when property is held by non-developers who just want a quick return on their investment, development can actually be hindered, since they are not going to sell until they can get significantly more than the already-inflated price they paid.

The old MEC site is being developed now by Reliant properties into rental housing, and it would appear that new rental buildings will be common along the corridor; according to developers, this is what the market needs at the moment. It appears that not only will the Skytrain bring a much-needed transit boost across the Westside, the development potential of Broadway is huge and will add much needed rental housing, revitalized retail and added vibrancy to this undervalued part of the city.

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