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Orion to build 296K-sq.-ft. Surrey industrial facility for Nanak Foods

Company to consolidate staff from four plants, expand operations at Campbell Heights location

Joshua Gaglardi and Mikhail Ortlieb from Orion Construction and Vineet Taneja and Gurpreet Arneja from Nanak Foods. (Courtesy Bokuria Creative)
Josh Gaglardi and Mikhail Ortlieb from Orion Construction and Vineet Taneja and Gurpreet Arneja from Nanak Foods. (Courtesy Bokuria Creative)

Orion Construction will construct a 296,000-square-foot processing plant in Surrey's Campbell Heights business park for Nanak Foods, North America’s largest supplier of dairy-based South Asian foods.

Nanak will consolidate its operations and expand its workforce at the new facility, which will increase efficiency and productivity to support the growing demand for their products, said Gurpreet Arneja, the president of Nanak Foods.

The expansion will allow the company to add 50 staff to its existing workforce of 250 in Surrey. The company is currently operating out of four separate locations in the city, he told RENX in an interview. 

Nanak Foods processes raw milk into various South Asian food products including cheeses, yogurts, desserts, beverages and other confections. 

"Our intent is to consolidate all four facilities we have under one roof whilst increasing the production capacity of all the production lines that we have," he said.

"We currently make about 50 different types of food products."

Construction has begun at new facility

Arneja said the new building will also provide more operational and energy efficiency, including heat recovery, water recycling and waste reduction. 

Nanak Foods, a subsidiary of Punjab Milk Products, teamed up with Langley-based Orion Construction to build the plant. Excavation of the site at 3288 194th St. has just begun. 

Josh Gaglardi, founder and president with Orion, told RENX it hopes to complete the building for Nanak by Q3 2025.

The new building will be the largest food production facility in Campbell Heights and among the largest in the Lower Mainland, he said. 

"There's actually a third-storey day care, which is an amenity for the staff and employees," he said. The building will front 32nd Avenue and will have an "aesthetically pleasing" frontage.

"This is such a specialized, bespoke facility," Gaglardi said. Much of the air handling, mechanical and electrical systems are tailored for the building, which will have a “significant power farm.”

Industrial supply challenges ease from critical lows

Gaglardi said the supply and demand challenges in the Lower Mainland have eased somewhat in recent months, coming away from critically low vacancy.

"We were at 0.6 per cent vacancy . . .18 months ago," he said.

"It's not quite a balanced market . . . (but) we're definitely getting further away from a completely landlord-based market, where we've been over the last 12 to 18 months."

Overall industrial regional availability is around three per cent. 

Developers and occupiers are still facing a land shortage and a slow permitting and entitlement process, Gaglardi said. Long-term, demand should remain strong and space will continue to be tight. 

Metro Vancouver has lost over five million square feet of industrial land infrastructure development to Calgary over the past four-and-a-half years, resulting in lost employment estimated to be 6,300 jobs, according to an economic study on industrial lands in Metro Vancouver released by NAIOP Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

The report said that for every one per cent increase in land available for industrial development, an additional 126,100 jobs would be created, adding $12.2 billion in GDP for B.C.

Orion is seeing a shift in their project pipeline with fewer assignments from developers and more owner-users seeking a construction partner for the sites they own, Gaglardi said.

The Nanak Foods plant is one of a few food-processing buildings Orion is now focused on, he said.

Arneja said Nanak's motivation was always to stay in Surrey where 95-98 per cent of their staff reside.

He said the alternative, had they not purchased this site, would be to possibly add other sub-manufacturing sites to their operations, which wouldn't be ideal.  

"We do realize real estate is a lot cheaper going into Alberta and some other places, but our motivation for moving (to a different region) wasn't there,” Arneja said. 

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