Molson Coors sells Vancouver brewery site to Concord Pacific
Developer has plan to transform the $185 million site into a mixed-use high-tech hub
Real estate development giant Concord Pacific has bought the Molson Coors brewery near downtown Vancouver, with the aim of transforming one of the last industrial sites in False Creek into a mixed-use high tech hub.
The $185 million sale, which includes both the brewery and the land it sits on at the southwest end of the Burrard Bridge, will close on March 31.
In a statement released Tuesday morning Concord Pacific said it "plans to work with the approving authorities and the public to create a new addition to the community."
"Concord's long term vision is to attract knowledge based local and global tech companies to this site and create a truly sustainable mixed-use addition to Vancouver," said a statement from vice president Peter Webb.
It's unclear if Concord's plan would require the city to re-zone the site, but according to The Globe and Mail the developer is aiming to include residential homes in the development.
But the Molson Coors site is one of the last on the False Creek waterfront still zoned for industrial use and that means no condos or other residential properties can be built without a change to the zoning.
Industrial zoning concerns
Vancouver Councillor Adriane Carr says under the city's plan, industrial land is a priority and she doesn't see the zoning changing for the site.
"I think its a bit brazen myself...unless they got a deal that I don't know about, because that land is clearly zoned industrial, and it is protected as industrial land both by the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver itself."
She points out that since 1970 Vancouver has almost lost one half of its industrial land base around areas like False Creek, Coal Harbour, and the Fraser Lands.
"Not only the city, but Metro Vancouver as a whole has put our foot down and said we can't allow this to happen any more," said Carr.
"An economy requires that you have a mix of kind of land uses and opportunities for jobs and economic development and growth. Pivotal to that is your industrial land base."
City spokesman Jag Sandhu confirmed the city has not received a rezoning application for this site and any change would require a regional amendment by Metro Vancouver.
"The city's policies for these lands are set and staff are not contemplating any changes to current policies," said a statement from Sandhu.
Expo lands legacy
Concord Pacific is known for the massive redevelopment of False Creek, transforming the former 204-acre industrial site used for Expo 86 into a high-rise residential zone.
The company's venture capital arm has since expanded into IT, telecom and green technology industries and now owns Vancouver IT company Maximizer, local telecom provider Novus Entertainment, and Concord Green Energy, which has green power projects across the county.
Molson Coors announced in November it had sold its property on Burrard street to an unnamed buyer, sparking widespread speculation about who might have acquired the land.
Jennifer Kerr, director of corporate affairs for Molson Coors, says the cash from the sale will be re-invested in a new brewery.
Molson Coors expects to have that new brewery up and running by 2018, but a location has not yet been determined. So for now Concord Pacific has agreed to lease back the existing brewery to Molson Coors until a new one is built.
With files from Farrah Merali