City of Burnaby to buy Fortius Sport & Health facility for public recreational uses

Dec 15 2020, 11:36 pm

Fortius Sport & Health’s facility will see a new life, as the City of Burnaby has decided to acquire the property from the not-for-profit foundation that built and operated it for elite athlete training.

The municipal government announced today it will acquire the 5.2-acre property with the 146,000-sq-ft Fortius building at 3713 Kensington Avenue, within the Burnaby Lake sports and recreational complex cluster, for $26.6 million.

BC Assessment’s latest assessed value for the property pegs it at $29.6 million, with $12.43 million from the land and $17.18 million from the structures.

The operator, Fortius Foundation, announced earlier this fall that its financial situation as a result of COVID-19 has forced its decision to permanently close by the end of December 2020.

The acquisition includes the reimbursement to Fortius the balance of the pre-paid lease on the adjacent sports fields on city-owned land.

“By purchasing the Fortius facility, the City of Burnaby has secured an important recreation asset at Burnaby Lake in perpetuity,” said Mayor Mike Hurley in a statement.

“This purchase will ensure this facility, located alongside the City’s sport fields, ice arenas and swimming pool at Burnaby Lake continues to deliver services that support recreation and athletic needs of residents.”

Fortius Sport & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Fortius Sport & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Building on the momentum and success of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the $61 million, purpose-built, five-storey facility opened in 2013 as an integrated athlete development centre, growing into a hub for many of Canada’s Olympians.

It includes a sport medicine clinic, fitness and performance centre, human performance lab, NBA standard double gymnasium, offices, a 50-room hotel for athletes, and a restaurant.

Construction was originally intended to reach completion in time for the Olympics, but it was suspended until after the Games due to the lingering impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

Fortius Sport & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Fortius Sports & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

The facility has seen growing use in recent years, but the impact of COVID-19 on the business operations proved to be insurmountable.

“The global pandemic has created insurmountable challenges for many businesses, including Fortius Sport & Health,” said Scott Cousens, founder and chairman of Fortius.

“Since our inception, we have worked closely with the City of Burnaby to develop Fortius as a community asset. While we are deeply saddened to close our doors, I am proud of the efforts our team members made to leave a positive legacy in our community. We are happy to know the facility will continue to contribute to the health and wellness of Burnaby for years to come.”

Fortius Sports & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Fortius Sport & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

In its release, the municipal government states the facility will be repurposed for public use — integrated into the overall public recreation programs at Burnaby Lake.

For several years now, the city has been planning a new replacement facility for the aging CG Brown Pool and Burnaby Lake Arena at 3676 Kensington Avenue — immediately across the street from Fortius.

As a result of the acquisition, there will be “significant cost savings” through the revision of the plans for the new facility, including reduced recreational space and parking requirements.

At this time, it is unclear if there will still be an integral elite training component for the future of the Fortius facility, specifically the future of the hotel, which covers a large portion of the total floor area. The integrated training and accommodations facility is one of the largest of its kind in Canada.

The city states more details will be shared on the building’s specific future uses in the coming weeks. The sale is slated to close on February 1, 2021.

Fortius Sports & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Fortius Sports & Health

Fortius Sport & Health at 3713 Kensington Avenue, Burnaby. (Fortius Sport & Health)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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