In 2012, North Van’s new Official Community Plan identified several new areas to densify as village centres. Marine Drive links several of these, and the area between the Lions Gate Bridge and Lonsdale has seen considerable attention from purchasers and developers recently. As the western entry to North Vancouver, it is developing into a mixed-use corridor active with pedestrians. Long gone are its days of “strip mall” orientation.
Many ageing properties have been redeveloped but many opportunities still exist. Retail at grade, interspersed with other commercial uses and residential above, has given this area a bright future and property values are climbing accordingly. Areas such as Lonsdale, are becoming saturated in terms of redevelopment, and this next location of attention is definitely attracting interest. Transit service to the Marine Drive area is good and the amenities of Lonsdale to the east and Ambleside to the west is attractive.
Commercial property prices are starting to take off in the area in the last 6 months. Sales at about $250-280 per buildable square foot are being achieved, as compared to double that in areas such as Broadway in Vancouver, which acts as another back office space area for Downtown Vancouver. Lower Lonsdale prices just to the east have been reaching $470-500 per buildable square foot, so a comparative advantage definitely exists in this area. Whether it be a strategy to redevelop or sit and hold, this area is definitely worth looking at.
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