TransLink acquires two strategic properties on the Broadway Corridor

Jun 17 2019, 9:09 pm

Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority recently acquired at least two key strategic properties located on the opposite ends of the Broadway Corridor — one property on Commercial Drive, and another on Arbutus Street.

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Daily Hive has learned that TransLink was behind the 2018 purchase of The Hub — the cluster of red brick-cladded retail buildings at the northeast corner of the intersection of Commercial Drive and Broadway, immediately adjacent to the north side of SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station.

The deal for the two-building property was worth $36 million.

2460 Commercial Drive

The Hub retail property at 2460 Commercial Drive, right next to SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station. (Avison Young)

The two-storey West building closest to the intersection contains businesses such as A&W, Blenz Coffee, Megabite Pizza, Booster Juice, and Buddha’s Chinese Restaurant. Some offices are located on the second storey.

The East building, a one-storey triangular structure, is located on the other side of the station’s concourse area and contains Shoppers Drug Mart.

Altogether, the existing buildings occupy about 29,400 sq. ft. of land and have a gross leasable area of close to 20,000 sq. ft.

2460 Commercial Drive Vancouver

The Hub retail buildings at 2460 Commercial Drive, right next to SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station. (Google Maps Streetview)

2460 Commercial Drive Vancouver

The Hub retail buildings at 2460 Commercial Drive, right next to SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station. (Google Maps Streetview)

In an email confirming both property acquisitions, TransLink says The Hub is a “strategic hub” on the public transit network, and that “being able to control customer areas beyond just the right of way allows TransLink to improve upon the customer experience and better integrate future expansions, renovations, or development.”

The acquisition is certainly highly strategic, given that passenger volumes interchanging between the Expo Line and Millennium Line at Commercial-Broadway Station are expected to significantly rise upon the completion of the Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension to Arbutus Street and eventually, possibly, to UBC.

SkyTrain Commercial-Broadway Station

New expansion of SkyTrain’s Commercial-Broadway Station, taken January 29, 2019. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Early in the year, construction reached completion on the new fifth platform for Commercial-Broadway Station, serving the inbound direction towards downtown. The new platform was built by expropriating a small section of the adjacent Safeway store, and it includes a new second pedestrian overpass to connect with the north side of the station, where the Millennium Line platforms and 99 B-Line westbound bus stop are located.

At the time, Sany Zein, the Vice President of Infrastructure Management and Engineering for TransLink, said there are no immediate plans to build another platform for the station that provides the Expo Line’s outbound direction with a similar dual platform configuration and a third overpass to the station’s north side.

Under the City of Vancouver’s 2016-approved Grandview Woodland Community Plan (GWCP), the property can be redeveloped with buildings reaching up to 10 storeys in height. Permitted uses forbid residential; the GWCP only permits ground-floor retail and restaurants and office space within the levels above.

On the other end of the Broadway Corridor, in 2018, TransLink also purchased 2096 West Broadway — the Fletchers Fabricare property at the southeast corner of the intersection of Arbutus Street and West Broadway.

The laundromat property was acquired for $17.1 million, according to records.

Fletchers Fabricare 2096 West Broadway Vancouver

Fletchers Fabricare at 2096 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

The intersection of Arbutus Street and West Broadway is set to be the new western terminus of the Millennium Line when the first phase of the Broadway Extension opens in 2025. While TransLink says the acquisition is “part of a long-term investment plan,” they were unable to confirm if it is directly associated to the Broadway Extension, such as the site of a subway station entrance.

The City of Vancouver also owns a number of properties in the immediate area that could potentially be used for the station’s ground footprint.

The future Arbutus Station is expected to become a major transit hub; significant passenger volumes are expected at this station for the transfer between SkyTrain and the truncated 99 B-Line route to UBC, as well as other bus routes.