Health hub emerges from thriving sector in Vancouver
Low Tide Properties sees opportunity on the horizon for False Creek.
Vancouver is emerging as one of Canada’s most innovative cities. In 2021, the B.C. government invested more than $700 million in its technology and innovation sectors, helping to acquire top talent, allowing start-ups to grow and providing the necessary infrastructure for communities to participate in technology and innovation; it’s this type of investment that has allowed the life sciences community in B.C. to prosper.
In 2020, B.C.’s life sciences industry raised more than $2 billion in market capital, and now, the province is home to the fastest-growing life sciences sector in Canada. Educational centers, like the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Victoria, and the University of British Columbia, are contributing to this growing industry by developing innovative thinkers to further the industry.
At Low Tide Properties (Low Tide), one of the city’s largest landlords of technically complex life science buildings, we recognize that this growth is continuing, especially in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats, as this area has become the perfect ecosystem for the life sciences industry. With the new St. Paul’s Hospital, research centers, purpose-built labs, education and learning opportunities, this region has all the ingredients to become the country’s top health science hub.
The development of the False Creek Flats
The False Creek Flats will play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing an exciting opportunity for the life sciences industry and the City of Vancouver. Home to what will be the new St. Paul’s Hospital, set to be completed by 2026, the area will be anchored by this world class facility, attracting a robust portfolio of health science talent. This region is also becoming more accessible with the introduction of rapid transit made possible through the extended Broadway Subway Project. In more recent years, the False Creek Flats has already started to draw in innovative thinkers through the Emily Carr Campus, the Center for Digital Media, the Vancouver Community College expansion, and the new Electronic Arts office. As this area continues to grow in creativity, innovation, and life science development, it’s critical to provide enough infrastructure to house all these opportunities.
Adding to the momentum and keeping top talent
As Vancouver’s life sciences hub continues to expand, it’s important that developers and landlords build and manage projects that will successfully support and facilitate growth within this community. Converting available office space to life science space will not be enough to move the ecosystem forward in a meaningful way. These companies need space that is purpose-designed with functionality to their technical needs as the first consideration.
Expected to be completed by mid-2026, Lab 29 will provide a new opportunity for life science tenants within the False Creek Flats. Purposefully built with critical infrastructure to make the building as functional as possible, Lab 29 will incorporate key life science design considerations, including increased floor-loads, 15-foot ceiling heights, high load/capacity freight elevators, double-wide corridors and access doors for easy materials movement, and full backup power integrated into the building systems. These considerations will allow tenants to continue developing new innovations with minimal interruptions or roadblocks. While functionality for life science use is at the forefront of the design, Lab 29 will also include sought-after amenities that will appeal to tenants and their employees. A 10,000-square-foot rooftop sky garden, 6,000 square feet of ground-floor food service and retail space,1,300 square feet of rooftop conference space and a 2,500-square-foot gym will entice and support the growth of innovative companies within the life sciences industry.
A unique hub, and an essential part of our growing economy
Compared to other key life science hubs in Canada, the False Creek Flats has the unique advantage of not only becoming a workplace hub, but also a well-rounded community with diverse amenities, modern, rapid transit, residential areas, and beautiful views. As the third largest life sciences community in Canada, the False Creek Flats also provides the opportunity for this industry to continue to grow through the False Creek Flats Plan, which will create 8,000 to 30,000 new jobs, support existing programs, help develop key infrastructure, and ultimately contribute positively to the city’s economy.
With the development of the False Creek Flats through key initiatives like St.Paul’s Hospital, the Broadway Subway Project, and Lab 29, the region is cementing itself as an emerging leader in the growth of health science innovations. It’s time we celebrate this, and put Vancouver and its booming life sciences industry on the map.