The vast majority of land along the future SkyTrain corridor in Langley City is already in the hands of developers, according to a Lower Mainland realtor who has helped broker a recent deal.
Much of the land in downtown Langley City, particularly along the main SkyTrain corridor, which runs down Fraser Highway and then Industrial Avenue to 203rd Street, can be redeveloped as part of the City’s most recent update to its Official Community Plan (OCP) adopted last year.
“That whole area is going to change significantly,” said Gordon Kleaman, a Re/Max realtor from North Vancouver who recently brokered a deal for a big planned housing project in downtown Langley City.
Kleaman was the realtor for the sale of three lots of low-rise, older apartments on Eastleigh Crescent, a few blocks from the planned SkyTrain terminus at Industrial Avenue and 203rd Street.
The three-lot, 1.38 acre land assembly reportedly sold for $18 million to a developer now planning a six-storey condo complex, along with 159 townhouse units.
Right now, the core areas alongside the SkyTrain line, and near its terminus, include a mix of uses, from low-rise residential, to big box shopping centres, restaurants, and small shops. There are also a significant number of car dealerships, auto shops, parts dealers, and light industrial buildings.
“Most of those are already purchased,” Kleaman said of the light industrial districts.
Developers are willing to pay a premium to buy within Langley City, he noted, because the City has a reputation for processing development applications faster than Surrey or Langley Township.
In the City, an application can take months, rather than years.
But that means a lot of plans won’t come to the City right away.
“They’ll time the market,” he said. Developers will wait until the market is right for their project, comfortable in the knowledge that they can get their project approved in a timely manner.
Kleaman said another land assembly on 196th Street, near the other main SkyTrain station in Langley, didn’t sell for as much as the Eastleigh Crescent site, because it was outside the City’s boundaries.
“That was one of the factors in pricing,” he said.
The City is planning for significant population growth and increasing density over the next three decades, and SkyTrain and other forms of public transit are key to its OCP.
As of 2019, there were 28,085 people in Langley City. By 2050, the City expects there to be 41,438.
The mix of types of housing will radically change.
While Langley City has long had plenty of low-rise apartment buildings, it also had many areas of single-family housing, especially near the Nicomekl River and on the west side of the City south of 56th Avenue.
But condos and townhouses are being rapidly built, and the arrival of SkyTrain and more mixed-use housing downtown will change that.
As of the creation of the OCP, there were 7,260 apartments, 1,945 townhouses or duplexes, and 3,760 single family homes in the City.
The “total capacity” for those three types is 24,713 apartments, 6,094 duplexes and townhouses, and 3,046 single family homes. Total capacity isn’t a goal, but a measure of how many homes the City could accommodate.
That growth is to be focused in the City’s central areas, with 91 per cent of new households and 99 per cent of new jobs expected to be in the City’s “regional city centre,” an area north of 53rd Avenue and the Nicomekl, and between 196th Street to the west and the Langley Bypass to the east.
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