UBC acquires major property in Surrey City Centre for new campus

Nov 2 2021, 7:58 pm

There could potentially be a satellite University of British Columbia (UBC) campus in Surrey City Centre, after the university strategically acquired a three-acre, centrally located property near Surrey Memorial Hospital and SkyTrain King George Station.

The university announced today it has acquired 9770 King George Boulevard — currently occupied by Grace Hanin Community Church, just at the southeast corner of the intersection of King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway — for $70 million.

The acquisition was made by UBC Properties Trust, which has indicated it will pursue a combination of residential and commercial space in the complex to help fund the construction of academic facilities.

ubc 9770 King George Boulevard surrey city centre

Site of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) future redevelopment at 9770 King George Boulevard in Surrey City Centre. (City of Surrey)

ubc 9770 King George Boulevard surrey city centre

Site of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) future redevelopment at 9770 King George Boulevard in Surrey City Centre. (Google Maps)

A UBC spokesperson told Daily Hive Urbanized the university will conduct consultation next year with the public and its student and academic community to develop the plan for the site.

“UBC is committed to creating welcoming spaces that advance innovation and collaboration and respond to community and regional needs—and this new site demonstrates this,” said Santa Ono, president and vice chancellor of UBC, in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the City of Surrey, Fraser Health, First Nations Health Authority and regional partners to uncover the many exciting possibilities that this new project holds for the Surrey community and Fraser Valley, as well as UBC students, faculty and staff.”

All of this is part of UBC’s strategic plan to expand and improve access to post-secondary education in the rapidly growing South of Fraser sub-region of Metro Vancouver. Currently, about 3,500 students and 750 faculty and staff live in the South of Fraser.

9770 King George Boulevard Surrey UBC campus

Artistic rendering of the potential redevelopment concept for the University of British Columbia campus at 9770 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (UBC)

9770 King George Boulevard Surrey UBC campus

Artistic rendering of the potential redevelopment concept for the University of British Columbia campus at 9770 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (UBC)

The site’s close proximity to Surrey Memorial Hospital suggests the academic spaces would be used as healthcare-related teaching and research facilities. In its announcement, the university specifically noted over 4,900 health student and medical resident rotations take place in hospitals, primary care settings, and clinics in Fraser Health Authority. Approximately 200 students in nursing and 100 pharmaceutical science students also undertake their training within Fraser Health.

“This is a huge and exciting announcement for Surrey as I have always believed that top tier post secondary options should be easily accessible to our residents,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.

“I am glad that UBC is now taking the step to establish a major presence in Surrey. The City will be fast-tracking permits for this project to ensure this site is developed as quickly as possible. Construction of the site will bring numerous well-paying jobs, and when completed, UBC will have access to the largest segment of university-aged population in the province right here in Surrey.”

UBC’s newly acquired site is also near ample new residents, businesses, services, and amenities within PCI Developments’ King George Hub development to the north, and Century Group’s Holland Parkside project.

UBC Robson Square

UBC Robson Square. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

UBC’s future presence in Surrey City Centre will also complement Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) significant and ever-expanding Surrey campus.

In addition to its academic facilities in Central City and the 2019-built Sustainable Engineering Building, SFU is anticipated to acquire the parking lot south of SkyTrain Surrey Central Station for the development of a campus expansion with at least 750,000 sq ft, in addition to potential uses in the City of Surrey-led office redevelopment immediately to the north.

The new Quantum Algorithms Institute at the SFU Surrey campus is anticipated to open in Spring 2022.

During the Fall 2020 provincial election, the BC NDP promised to build a medical school at SFU Surrey, which would be the second medical school in the province after the UBC campus in Point Grey.

UBC also has a satellite campus at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver.

In June 2020, complementing expansion plans for the UBC Okanagan campus, the university announced it would redevelop a 1.6-acre site at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna into three towers, with office space, residential uses including rental housing, and up to 100,000 sq ft of academic space for a satellite campus.

550 Doyle Avenue Kelowna UBC

Preliminary conceptual artistic rendering of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna. (UBC)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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