Edgar Development has been working in B.C.’s Lower Mainland market for the past 12 years, and now the company is fulfilling its goal of moving into master-planned, multi-phased development with its 24-acre Woodland Park in Port Moody.
After a relatively quick two-year rezoning process, construction begins this year on the first three phases, with presales for the strata units to launch likely toward the end of the year, said founder and president, Peter Edgar.
The first phases built will include market rental, affordable housing and one phase of strata.
“We have done a lot of single-tower projects, but we believe in the strength of the real estate market in the Lower Mainland and these larger-scale, multi-phase projects allow us to make a longer-term investment in it,” Edgar said. “The pipeline is a big thing for us; it’s nice knowing we can build phase over phase over phase — that’s definitely part of it.”
He estimates about 90 per cent of the company’s current projects are residential. It also has interests in the retail, industrial, office and seniors’ housing asset classes.
New Westminster plaza redevelopment
Edgar has also just acquired the eight-acre Columbia Square Plaza site in downtown New Westminster, near the New Westminster SkyTrain station. It’s early in the process, but the plan is to redevelop an old shopping mall into retail at grade with market-rate and below-market rental and strata condos above.
“It’s very early stage,” he said. “We have just acquired that site, and we’re just getting going on it. We look for those under-utilized sites, and although this is not at the end of its useful life, it’s in an area that’s next to the SkyTrain station and in an urban setting, so it’s time to redevelop that and do a highest-and-best use.
“I just find the design of these master-planned communities, whether it’s a 24-acre site in the Woodland Park setting or Columbia Square in downtown New Westminster setting, just very interesting,” said Edgar, who worked as a commercial broker in Vancouver and Calgary for several years before starting Edgar Development in Vancouver in 2009.
The company is active in Western Canada and has a focus on providing affordable rental housing.
In Vancouver, its 14-storey Duke building in Mount Pleasant is a LEED-certified mixed-use, purpose-built rental building with a public art component.
It was built under the city’s former Rental 100 program, aimed at rental units in exchange for incentives such as fee waivers, parking requirement reductions, relaxation of unit size and additional density beyond the existing zoning.
Plans for five-storey industrial/office project
The company has also been active in industrial development, with plans to increase those assets.
Edgar has a five-level strata stacked industrial and office project underway near Rupert Street, at Skeena and Natal, accessible off three streets, with a ramp that will enable access to the third floor.
That project, which is in the predevelopment stage about two years away from construction, will have three levels of industrial and two levels of office on the upper floors.
“The scarcity of land here, and the industrial market being as tight as it is, we are all looking for creative solutions and going vertical seems to be an option.”
Edgar said the plan is to grow the rental portion of the portfolio, as well as to find under-utilized large-scale properties suitable for redevelopment. The company has more than seven million square feet of development in various stages.
“We out-source our property management. We develop everything as though we are going to hold it long-term, and selectively we will sell assets upon stabilization. But, the company’s goal is to build a portfolio of income-producing properties.”
Edgar’s Woodland Park development
Woodland Park is a 10- to 15-year project to provide 2,066 homes, including 325 non-market, 151 secured market rental and 1,590 strata homes, 19,000 square feet of retail, a childcare, two parks, a 1.5-kilometre walking trail, bike paths and public art.
The affordable rental will be delivered in partnership with BC Housing. Edgar contributed a $25-million site toward below-market housing and the housing agency will pay for construction.
“The way we were able to achieve it is, we couldn’t afford to just build that affordable housing and pay for the construction, provide the land, and walk away from it.vBut, we could afford to give the land to BC Housing . . . and they have no land cost, so that helps them make it more feasible, and the city of Port Moody cooperates by providing the additional density to that particular development.
“If all three of those groups work together, the end result is meaningful affordable housing getting built.
“That to me is a really cooperative way, where we were all aligned where we wanted to see this as a major component of a project, and we found a way to get it built without a policy in place — just different stakeholders trying to get affordable housing built.”