City of Surrey officially restarts municipal-owned real estate development firm

Apr 21 2023, 9:54 pm

Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC) has officially been re-established, following a three-year-long dormancy initiated by the previous makeup of Surrey City Council.

The City of Surrey announced today the municipal government’s wholly-owned, for-profit private real estate development company has been reactivated, with a new independent board of directors appointed, and the appointment of Michael Heeney as the interim president and CEO.

Heeney was previously the president and CEO of SCDC between 2017 and 2021, until then-mayor Doug McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition city councillors moved to dissolve the company and transfer its assets and projects to City staff. Heeney, who currently runs a real estate consultancy firm, was also the longtime managing principal of Bing Thom Architects, now known as Revery Architecture.

“I look forward to restarting the Surrey City Development Corporation,” said Mayor Brenda Locke. “SCDC’s model is unique and has had success in kickstarting investment in the City Centre area. In its second iteration, I hope to see SCDC continue to innovate, continue to spur and attract investment and focus on creating new and diverse housing options in Surrey.”

This follows the approval of a member motion in late 2022 by the new makeup of City Council, which directed City staff to come back with a plan to relaunch the City-owned private real estate company.

Prior to its dissolution, SCDC was responsible for catalyzing economic growth and renewal in Surrey, while also providing the municipal government with a revenue source — all in a financially self-sustaining way. This includes building industrial space at Campbell Heights, and its role in spearheading the 52-storey 3 Civic Plaza and Hotel tower.

Following City Council’s previous 2020 decision, SCDC’s assets and operations were transferred over to the municipal government, and its board of directors was replaced by City staff. At the time, SCDC’s portfolio transferred to the municipal government was worth about $250 million.

Despite the dissolution, City staff note SCDC and its subsidiaries still remain as companies, and the only asset that SCDC continues to oversee with its development partner, Beedie Development Group, is the Weir Canada Development industrial space project in Campbell Heights.

The independent board members will help guide the company, which will focus on for-profit development in the City Centre, Campbell Heights, Newtown Town Centre, and any other areas or opportunities as identified by City Council.

10275 City Parkway Centre Block Surrey

September 2021 artistic rendering of Centre Block at 10275 City Parkway, Surrey. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/City of Surrey)

This specifically includes the SCDC-started planning project of building a significant commercial space development on the “Centre Block” site of North Surrey Recreation Centre next to SkyTrain Surrey Central Station, including the construction of a 738-foot-tall (225 metres), 47-storey office tower — one of Metro Vancouver’s future tallest buildings.

SCDC is also planning a multi-tower project on a City-owned site next to SkyTrain Gateway Station with 1,600 homes.

SCDC was created in 2007 under then-Surrey First mayor, Dianne Watts, to develop surplus City-owned lands that provide the City with revenue and also contribute to Surrey’s social and economic development.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ News
+ Venture
+ Real Estate
+ Politics
+ City Hall
+ Urbanized