A new industrial development in Queensborough is targeting its first tenant for the summer of 2013.
In 2008, Port Metro Vancouver bought the former International Forest Products site at 501 Boyd St., following the mill's closure a year earlier.
Tom Corsie, Port Metro Vancouver's vice president of real estate, said Port Metro Vancouver entered into a development agreement with the Beedie Development Group to develop a light industrial warehouse distribution facility at the Queensborough site.
"They are a tenant," Corsie said. "The tenant in this case is also building the buildings."
According to Corsie, the site has its "first customer", which is Damco, a member of the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group. He said Damco will provide a distribution facility for Target Canada on 11 acres of the site.
Noting that Target is preparing to launch its Canadian operations, Corsie said construction is set to get underway at the site in the near future. Pre-loading has already taken place at the riverfront site.
"We are really, really pleased with how things are going on that site," he said.
Corsie said Port Metro Vancouver has been working with the Beedie Development Group and come up with a variety of concepts for the site.
"I am very confident this site will be built out within five years," he said.
Todd Yuen, vice president of industrial development with the Beedie Development Group, couldn't confirm Damco's specific tenant, noting the company could provide space for any number of tenants in the building.
"Construction is due to start almost imminently," he said of the building that will be almost 50,000 square feet and completed this summer.
Yuen said Phase 2 of the development is a proposal for a freestanding building of about 300,000 square feet. He said the Beedie Development Group has had "excellent" feedback on the site, which is centrally located and situated on major transportation networks.
If everything goes according to plan, the second building on the site will be built in the fall of 2014. A lengthy preloading process is anticipated for the third phase.
According to Port Metro Vancouver's website, the Beedie Development Group submitted an application to Port Metro Vancouver to develop a light industrial warehouse distribution facility at the site.
While the Beedie Development Group typically has freehold ownership of its properties, Yuen said it embarked on this land lease arrangement with Port Metro Vancouver because of the size and massing of the site.
"You don't see opportunities like that," he said.
As part of the project, Beedie Development Group has commissioned a transportation study of the traffic impacts of the development.
Corsie said it's not anticipated that the site will generate any traffic problems.
"It's a heavy industrial zone," he said. "This is more of a light industrial use."
Bev Grieve, the City of New Westminster's manager of planning, said Port Metro Vancouver isn't required to get development permits from the city for the project, but consults with the city regarding off-site works and infrastructure matters.
"It's federal jurisdiction," Grieve said. "We are in discussions regarding things such as access."
In 2008, Port Metro Vancouver officials stated the site was an important part of its strategy to acquire an additional 1,092 hectares of industrial land over the next 25 years. The property sold for $30.1 million.
Corsie said Port Metro Vancouver was able to purchase the site for a "very attractive" price because of the economics of the time and the mill's financial situation. He said the site had some "positive attributes," including being 50 acres in size, located on the river and in an area served by railroads, centrally located in the region and a reasonable distance from the port authority's four container terminals.