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Appelt Properties plans medical, multires in mixed-use Surrey tower

Final approval now being sought to develop 41-storey high-rise along Metro Vancouver's King George Blvd.

This 41-storey tower to be constructed in downtown Surrey will include medical office space in the podium, and purpose-built rental apartments in the tower. (Courtesy Appelt Properties)
This 41-storey tower to be constructed in downtown Surrey is to include medical office space in the podium, and purpose-built rental apartments in the tower. (Courtesy Appelt Properties)

There are two things Canada’s rising population will require without a doubt: housing and healthcare. 

Toronto-based Appelt Properties has found a way to put those two necessities together with a new mixed-use tower planned for Surrey City Centre and located next to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The facility is Canada’s 14th largest hospital and B.C.’s third-largest based on current bed count. 

Appelt's proposed 41-storey tower, to be located at 9525 King George Blvd., has advanced through third reading in the development permit process in Surrey. The company is now seeking final adoption so it can proceed with building the rental tower. 

This project would include more than 380,000 square feet of residential and medical space. Situated opposite Surrey Memorial Hospital and just south of the new UBC Surrey Campus, the tower would add 463 rental homes to the market, as well as 67,000 square feet of class-A medical outpatient space, the developer told RENX in an interview.

The medical spaces are designed with independent entrances, lobbies and elevators, making the building suitable for healthcare, research and education tenants aiming to establish a presence in Surrey's Health and Technology District. The medical space will occupy the podium of the tower with an emphasis on patient experience and accessibility. 

Surrey is experiencing substantial population growth and will soon overtake Vancouver as B.C's largest city, said Greg Appelt, president of Appelt Properties. 

Population is growing, and aging

"As the population grows, the demand on healthcare grows," Appelt said. "It's connected in the same way that housing is connected to the population."

Additionally, the national and local population is aging. “As we age, we have increasing requirements for healthcare, so both of those things put demand on our healthcare system,” Appelt said.

Delivery of healthcare is changing, and so is the way medical-related real estate is developed, he said. 

As technology improves and changes, more health services and treatments are happening outside of hospitals within outpatient clinics, Appelt said. However, it’s still important for these clinics to be located at or near hospital campuses or medical hubs. "It's more convenient and accessible for patients."

He said the medical space in the new Surrey building will be leased and would likely include a mix of family doctors, specialists, dentists, radiologists, physiotherapists and lab space. 

Appelt, who used to work as a medical doctor before launching his development company in 2010, now leads Canada’s largest private medical building owner and management company, with medical buildings across the country. AMong many others, its portfolio includes:

  • Ellesmere Medical Centre in Toronto;
  • Columbus Medical Arts in Vaughn (in the Greater Toronto Area);
  • Royal Court Medical Centre in Barrie, Ont.;
  • Centrepointe Medical Centre in Ottawa;
  • the Sterling Lyon Health Centre in Winnipeg;
  • and Glenwood Health Centre in Edmonton.

A rental building with condo-style amenities

Greg Appelt, president of Appelt Properties. (Courtesy Appelt Properties)
Greg Appelt, president of Appelt Properties. (Courtesy Appelt Properties)

The residential component of the tower will offer rental apartments ranging from one- to three-bedroom units. The building also has four levels of amenities including a gym, yoga studio and meditation space and a community kitchen. 

Also available for residents will be an outdoor landscaped area with a pet run and green space alongside a creek. The sixth and seventh floors feature gathering spaces and the penthouse and sub-penthouse levels provide a rooftop deck and indoor lounge available to all residents.

"This will be a high-end apartment building, and it will be amenitized to the level of (a) condo building," Appelt said. 

Appelt has developed and/or acquired over a million square feet of properties across Canada. 

Medical background informs building design 

Appelt started his career as a physician, but after developing his first healthcare building in 2010, he decided to focus on real estate. 

The company says it keeps development management and property management in-house to ensure development goals are met and profits of the assets are maximized. 

Appelt said his medical background has certainly influenced the way the firm designs and develops its buildings. “I know the intricacies of patient management and patient experience, and so we design our buildings starting with that in mind. 

“I know what the physicians need, and I know how the various disciplines interact,” he said, noting medical hubs create an ecosystem of service and care that has to be seamless, accessible and understandable for people receiving treatment.

Appelt said the Surrey building is expected to receive final approval within the next couple of months and the project should break ground in 2025.

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