Sep 28, 2022

Qualico Properties Completes Final Phase of Willoughby Town Centre Project

Langley, BCQualico Properties has now completed the final phase of its Willoughby Town Centre project in the Willoughby community, located in the Township of Langley. The project’s completion marks the end of Qualico’s portion of the community’s development, which has taken roughly 10 years.

Qualico Properties completed the entire Willoughby Town Centre project with its joint venture partner, Chow & Li, with Qualico Properties acting as development manager, according to Jonathan Meads, Vice-President, StreetSide Developments BC, speaking on behalf of Qualico Properties.

“Willoughby Town Centre was Qualico’s first time working with Chow & Li,” he said. “The municipality wanted this to be a town centre, and both companies owned parcels of land in the area, so it made sense to work on developing it together.”

The result is an important mixed-use project that brings residents, businesses, and professionals together in a walkable and amenity-rich environment that facilitates connection and encourages community. The Town Centre includes diverse retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, banks, and professional service providers, and is a hub of activity that is vital to the community, according to Jeff Sutherland, Vice-President, National Leasing & Sales, Qualico Properties.

“It is remarkable to see how Willoughby Town Centre went from a vacant field on the outskirts to a bustling high street in such a short period of time,” Jeff said.

The final phase includes retail space at ground level, with offices and 91 condo units in three floors located above the retail component. The residential portion offers one- and two-bedroom condos (some with dens), a small common area, and a fantastic rooftop amenity featuring panoramic views of the North Shore Mountains.

Jonathan noted that condo owners in this last phase also have access to an amenity that is unique in the area – a rentable guest suite.

“This is very useful, since this is a new community and there are no hotels nearby,” he said. “Affordability can be a challenge, and not everyone can have a two-bedroom suite just to have a second bedroom sitting there for the odd time a guest might come. I think this is something that will probably become more common.”

Aside from the typical challenges that can crop up when designing mixed-use projects that need to balance the needs of both residential and commercial tenants – such as venting restaurant odours, keeping noise in check, and ensuring accessible routes for retail deliveries – Qualico Properties faced a major unexpected challenge when the pandemic hit.

“COVID was definitely the biggest challenge while completing the final phase,” said Jonathan. “We worked collaboratively with a local general contractor called Caliber Projects to build the project, and the communication between the two teams was excellent. That helped us cope with delays with city and consultant inspections, as well as supply chain issues.”

Willoughby Town Centre is certainly an important amenity for residents living in the Town Centre, but Jonathan pointed out that it also serves as a retail and service hub for a number of Qualico developments in the Township of Langley.

“Qualico has had a hand in building so much in the area,” he said. “Between StreetSide Developments, Foxridge Homes, Qualico Communities, and Qualico Properties, hundreds of homes have been built in the Township of Langley, with hundreds more to come, and all of our buyers will likely use Willoughby Town Centre for their shopping and service needs.”

With the final phase of Willoughby Town Centre now complete and the condos in the residential portion completely sold out, Qualico Properties is now working to get the retail and office spaces fully leased, according to Jeff.

“The commercial leasing of Willoughby Town Centre has been overwhelmingly successful,” he said. “The vibrant mixed-use design has caught the attention of both local and national retailers, and the resulting lease rates rival the highest-profile streets in the lower mainland. Even amidst COVID lockdowns and supply chain concerns, leasing velocity remained high, and many deals were completed at top-of-market rates.”

The main floor retail spaces are on track to be fully leased over the next 12 months, and though there is 10,000 sq. ft. of new office space that hadn’t taken off at the same pace, there are now negotiations for all of that space as well. The team expects everything to be fully leased by Q1 2023.

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