Abbotsford’s Tradex building has now been listed for sale or lease as part of the city’s plan announced in March to see what opportunities might be available for the future of the facility.
The listing by commercial real estate broker CDN Global (formerly known as Devencore Company Ltd.) provides two options – one to purchase the building and the other to lease it.
In both situations, the City of Abbotsford would retain ownership of the land – 13 acres in total.
There is no sale price listed but, according to the BC Assessment Authority website, the 147,640-square-foot building was worth $6.142 million as of July 1, 2020. The land was valued at $5.55 million.
Any sale of the building would come with an annual land lease of $6.19 per square metre – a total of almost $325,000.
Basic rent to lease the building is also not listed – interested parties are asked to contact the broker – but would come with an additional rent of $4 per square metre.
The building would be available for lease as of July 2022, according to a brochure posted about the lease/sale.
The brochure says that Tradex is “uniquely well positioned to service a wide range of uses, from conventions to aerospace.”
City spokesperson Aletta Vanderheyden said the decision to sell or lease the building is part of the city’s plan “to transform this property into a revenue-generating asset for the city and its residents from a potentially under-valued municipal asset.”
“Ultimately, we believe this decision is in the best interests of our residents and puts our community on much stronger fiscal footing moving forward,” she said.
The City of Abbotsford announced in March that it had issued a request for proposals for brokerage/advisory services for Tradex as the first step towards “transforming the property into a revenue-generating asset.” (Devencore was awarded the contract for that at the end of May.)
Tourism Abbotsford has been running Tradex since 2003, with all revenue generated reinvested into the property and Tourism Abbotsford operations and none going directly to the city.
Mayor Henry Braun has said the city has had to subsidize some costs, such as $1.5 million to replace the Tradex roof in 2015.
The facility is the second largest of its kind in B.C. and, in a typical year, hosts more than 90 events. These include the Vancouver Motorcycle Show, the West Coast Women’s Show, the Pet Lover Show, the Snowbird RV Show and the West Coast Christmas Show.
Craig Nichols, executive director of Tourism Abbotsford, said on Monday (Sept. 13) the organization hopes to retain use of Tradex.
“We are unaware what criteria the city’s decision will be based on or what timeline the city is working towards. Despite this lack of clarity, Tourism Abbotsford will be submitting a proposal to lease Tradex based on the facility remaining an event venue and based on it continuing to be an economic generator for local businesses,” he said.
A petition was previously started by the producers of several of the events held at Tradex, saying they are concerned they will no longer be able to hold their shows there, as it is the only facility of its kind in the Fraser Valley capable of holding large-scale events.
CDN Global will review any proposals it receives and bring recommendations to council at a later date.