Developers discover B.C.'s Aldergrove: New housing, industrial on way - Fifth Avenue REM mediaiqdigital tracking pixel
Home Buying, Market Intelligence, Real Estate News | November 18, 2022

In 2010, B.C.’s Langley Township amended its community plan for the Aldergrove area, a Fraser Valley community about 60 kilometres east of Vancouver straddling its municipal border with the City of Abbotsford.

The idea was to update the policies governing real estate uses in the neighbourhood, create specific development zones and prepare for potential future growth.

That planning is bearing fruit today, as both residential and commercial/industrial developers seek opportunities amid tight urban markets, low vacancy rates in both sectors and a rapidly growing population in and around Metro Vancouver.

Aldergrove, suddenly, is becoming a relative hotbed of activity. Among the projects is the redevelopment of the former Aldergrove Mall property, as well as several light industrial developments. New jobs and new residents are coming.

“Based on the growth we are seeing in other areas of Langley, we felt now was Aldergrove’s time to shine,” said Janda Group’s Amanda Dhillon, discussing the local firm’s plans for a mixed-use multiresidential redevelopment of the mall.

“Our goal was for the project to inspire a sense of belonging and connection. We wanted to bring something that the entire community could embrace. Alder Grove Town Centre offers the opportunity to get into a truly master-planned community.”

The Aldergrove Town Centre redevelopment

Like some other car-centric suburban malls that have fallen upon hard times, the tired and mostly vacant retail space couldn’t compete with destination power centres near the freeway exits farther north. Built in 1977, the mall has been owned by Janda Group since 2008.

Family-owned Janda Group reached into the past to give the new Alder Grove Town Centre its brand identity, starting with adopting the original two-word, 19th-century spelling for the community. Even today, Aldergrove is a bit of a trip back in time; its two best-known attractions are the Greater Vancouver Zoo and the Twilight Drive-In Theatre.

Although not currently connected to Vancouver’s rapid transit SkyTrain system, Alder Grove Town Centre takes its design cues from similar projects throughout the Lower Mainland.

The five-building, pedestrian-oriented development will offer street-level boutiques, professional services and office space along with a two-storey day care.

The 194-unit residential portion features a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes in buildings of up to 10 storeys. The larger homes — targeted at young families — are in short supply throughout the Lower Mainland.

Janda Group’s portfolio, and Aldergrove

Aldergrove Town Centre represents a bit of a departure for Janda Group, which boasts an eclectic business portfolio including land development forays from Williams Lake, B.C. to Sacramento, Calif. Janda owns four day-care operations and has even made a foray into vertical agriculture.

Janda Group’s most significant holding is currently in pre-sale.

Located in Surrey City Centre’s bustling urban hub, Janda Tower is a 36-storey, mixed-use high-rise consisting of 332 condominiums atop a commercial podium with ground-oriented retail, 26,000 square feet of office space and a day care.

Committed to building communities as opposed to providing housing, Janda Group is a values-based company that pursues organic growth by targeting local buyers and investors, Dhillon said. That’s why it feels Alder Grove is a perfect fit.

“We primarily are seeing purchasers from the Langley and Surrey areas. These purchasers are seeing the growth potential in Aldergrove and have found Alder Grove Town Centre to be a value compared to other areas in Langley.”

Three of the four Alder Grove residential buildings are sold out, primarily to investors who recognize Aldergrove’s growth story and prospective homeowners attracted by features such as air conditioning and on-site storage solutions not offered by competing product at Alder Grove Town Centre’s price point.

Aldergove’s industrial resurgence

The community has also caught the eye of industrial investors, as noted in Frontline Real Estate Services’ recent Aldergrove Industrial Market Report 2022. It explores how Aldergrove can transition from a semi-agricultural region with helter-skelter commercial and industrial buildings.

“Surrounded by white-hot industrial submarkets, namely West Abbotsford, Gloucester, Port Kells, and Campbell Heights, Aldergrove’s industrial potential has often been overlooked,” the report states.

“However, within the last year, this critical submarket is beginning to receive attention akin to its neighbours. In 2010, the Township of Langley amended the Aldergrove Community Plan’s formal declaration of goals, objectives, and policies, which are intended to guide development within the Aldergrove Urban Area.

“Specific guidelines for the location, form, and character of future real estate developments were outlined in four specially-designated Development Permit Areas (A, B, C and D).

“We are seeing landowners capitalizing on under-utilized industrial development land, which is evidenced by the three recently filed development permit applications that are finally advancing the industrial potential within the Aldergrove Community Plan.”

Frontline knows the market well. It was founded as the first full-service, end-to-end boutique commercial real estate agency in the Fraser Valley, said Braydon Hobbs of the firm’s industrial sales and leasing division.

“Back in the 1990s, very few Fraser Valley realtors were doing any commercial and industrial land. Frontline was established to fill in that space in the market.”

Three upcoming industrial developments

The three projects cited in the report are:

Hobbs said business owners/entrepreneurs are the target market for these new industrial parks.

“The math on cap rates and leasing doesn’t work right now for investors in this area,” he said. “These are local business owners looking to relocate to a cheaper alternative to neighbouring markets. These are companies that need 20,000 square feet of space and are willing to buy it now.”

There are challenges, however, including infrastructure which also needs to be upgraded.

“If it was easy to build on, it would be built-out by now. Sanitary servicing along Fraser Highway — the main arterial — is maxed out.”

The project closest to completion is owned by Vancouver-based Beedie, a well-known developer with a history of successful industrial strata developments. Frontline will be handling sales for its development.

“The three projects highlighted in our report are in the planning and development pipeline. What’s happening in this part of Aldergrove is a revitalization story,” Hobbs said. “Once a couple of attractive projects are completed and reputable companies purchase space, you’ll see good things happening through the entire community.

“Quality communities grow where people go and people go to where the jobs are.

“These projects will definitely assist in effecting the changes that the Township of Langley sought when it amended its community plan over a decade ago. It’s taken a while to get there, but we’re confident that the transition is well underway.”

This post was original posted on and written by Steven Threndyle

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