> Thanks Eric
> For 8 years in the 1990's I lived in a waterfront apartment complex
> in Toronto where the 5 high-rise residential towers associations got
> together and operated a $250k per year 3-buses private system. In my
> two-tower 40 floor complex, the seven story parking garage was half
> empty. The developer never sold half of the parking spaces. Why? No
> one needed a car to live here. With the private bus system taking
> residents to the financial district and the core of the city for work,
> then have planned routes varying each day to satisfy the shopping
> needs of tenants and providing a high service level during peak hours,
> this was a convenient way to travel. Besides, at the street corner
> there was a streetcar operating on its own separated tracks with
> priority at traffic signals. If one wanted to walk, then a few blocks
> away was the subway and the railway station. If one needed a car, car
> rental offices were within walking distance. Yes, the transportation
> network did make this area desirable and more expensive. So, we paid
> in the monthly apartment maintenance fee $10 for the private bus
> service, very worthwhile.
> What about TransLink offering such a service under contract to
> apartment clusters and office parks removed from the SkyTrain system?
> It might reduce the amount of car traffic on the road. Of course, a
> public bike system with cycling facilities to the local SkyTrain
> station along with car share could also provide an attractive
> alternative to driving.
> On 2012-06-12, at 10:02 AM, Eric Doherty wrote:
>> This is very worthwhile reading carefully, there may be some
>> potential business allies out there. (e.g. those spending $100k + a
>> year on their own shuttle buses).
>> PUBLIC TRANSPORT
>> Transit-oriented buildings fetch higher rents
>> FRANCES BULA
>> VANCOUVER ï¿½ The Globe and Mail
>> Published Monday, Jun. 11 2012, 4:44 PM EDT
>> Last updated Monday, Jun. 11 2012, 4:50 PM EDT
>> When Al Batchelar and his team at Commissionaires BC decided they
>> needed new space for their business, they looked at several suburbs
>> and types of office developments.
>> In the end, they chose a spot in Surreyï¿½s Station Tower, which is
>> steps from the Gateway SkyTrain station, picking it over cheaper
>> space in a Surrey or Richmond business park.
>> ï¿½A lot of people who need our services donï¿½t have transportation,ï¿½
>> says Commissionairesï¿½ chief executive officer Mr. Batchelar, whose
>> non-profit company, originally started to provide work for war
>> veterans, now provides fingerprinting and criminal-records checks for
>> people who need them as a condition of employment. The company also
>> runs courses for people training to be security guards.
>> ï¿½Even if we had a place with lots of parking somewhere else, we just
>> couldnï¿½t get people there.ï¿½
>> That scenario is playing out in major cities across Canada, as more
>> office tenants are choosing locations that are as close to transit as
>> possible, even if it means paying more.
>> As a result, buildings right on top of transit are seeing their
>> vacancy rates shrink and lease rates rise.
>> Office vacancies are creeping up in buildings that are sometimes only
>> a few crucial blocks away from a transit site. And the vacancy rates
>> are even grimmer for many older business parks that were built
>> kilometres from transit at a time when it seemed savvy to construct
>> whole campuses on cheap land far from central business districts.
>> ï¿½What we are hearing from tenants most often these days is that
>> priority one is access to transit and it canï¿½t even be a walk down
>> the street,ï¿½ says Brett Miller, president of Jones Lang Lasalle Real
>> Estate Services in Canada.
>> That was a priority for Vancity Credit Union when it built its new
>> head office in 1995, a unique building where the SkyTrain literally
>> runs right through the building.
>> ï¿½We wanted to be on rapid transit and our stats show our staff use
>> transit now 50 per cent more than the average for office workers,ï¿½
>> said Jeremy Trigg, Vancityï¿½s director of facilities and environmental
>> Itï¿½s also a key factor for the giant engineering-consulting firm
>> Fluor Canada, which has hung onto its downtown locations in
>> Vancouver. ï¿½We felt it was the most efficient situation for our
>> company,ï¿½ said vice-president Vasee Navaratnam. A just-completed
>> survey of the companyï¿½s 800 employees, who are spread out in three
>> buildings near the Burrard SkyTrain station in downtown Vancouver,
>> showed that 65 per cent arrive by transit. (An additional 23 per cent
>> walk, one per cent ride bicycles, and only 11 per cent arrive in cars
>> or motorcycles.) Many companies and commercial brokers have been
>> telling similar stories in recent years.
>> But Mr. Millerï¿½s company decided to test the whole thesis in a way
>> that went beyond anecdote. Jones Lang Lasalle has published two
>> reports now, one at the beginning of this month, looking at the
>> importance of transit in the Vancouver market.
>> The latest of their ï¿½rapid transit office indexï¿½ reports concluded
>> that tenants are willing to pay considerably more to get into a
>> similar building thatï¿½s closer to transit.
>> The statistics-stuffed report concluded that tenants will pay a
>> 22-per-cent premium in Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby, three of the
>> largest office markets, to be within 500 metres of a transit station.
>> As well, vacancy rates for buildings outside that 500-metre range can
>> go up to 25 per cent higher than a transit-oriented building in the
>> same suburb.
>> Back at Surreyï¿½s Station Tower, for example, the average asking rate
>> is $24 a square foot and it has zero-per-cent vacancy. In contrast,
>> the Benchmark Business Centre, a high-quality business-park complex
>> also in Surrey, has an average asking rate of $17.50 a square foot,
>> with a 17.8-per-cent vacancy rate.
>> The situation is worse for some of the older business parks in
>> suburbs without even a hint of reasonable bus transportation.
>> ï¿½Richmond by far and away is our worst performing office market,ï¿½
>> says Darrell Hurst, a commercial broker at Avison Young who handles
>> Station Tower and other properties. Its business parks on the east
>> side, far from the new Canada Line, are older and without some of the
>> amenities ï¿½ basketball courts or multiple restaurants ï¿½ that newer
>> ones have. And they are just plain hard to get to.
>> Both Microsoft and BC Lottery Corp. moved out of Richmond in the past
>> five years and into Vancouver.
>> Mr. Hurst said some business parks are trying to grapple with the
>> transportation issue by providing their own shuttles to the nearest
>> transit station.
>> Other business-park tenants, if theyï¿½re large enough, are going into
>> the shuttle business themselves in order to retain employees. And
>> theyï¿½re choosing their business parks carefully.
>> When Horizon Distributors, a company that trucks organic and
>> natural-food products to Whole Foods and other grocery stores in the
>> region, decided it needed larger space in 2008, it looked at price
>> per square foot. But there were limits to that approach.
>> ï¿½One of our criteria was that it had to be a place that was inside
>> the bridges,ï¿½ said vice-president Terry Newell. ï¿½And we knew we
>> couldnï¿½t have a distribution centre just anywhere when half the
>> people in this business donï¿½t earn enough to buy a car.ï¿½
>> So Horizon chose a business park in south Burnaby for its
>> 150,000-square-foot operation, a few kilometres away from its
>> previous north Burnaby site, and decided to pay for a shuttle to
>> carry employees to and from the nearest SkyTrain station at Edmonds.
>> ï¿½I figured over the long haul that a $100,000-a-year shuttle was
>> better than an extra $500,000 a year in rent,ï¿½ Ms. Newell said.
>> But, as for moving the site to even cheaper space 40 kilometres away
>> in the Fraser Valley and impossible to connect to transit even with a
>> shuttle ï¿½ she wouldnï¿½t even consider it.
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