(NEW WESTMINSTER NEWS LEADER) — A massive half-million-square foot warehouse is being built in Queensborough, making it the largest one-storey building in the Lower Mainland according to the developers. The 504,000-square-foot warehouse will sit on a 22-acre site and will be used by Kruger Products, a major producer of tissue products. Kruger currently employs about 600 people in New Westminster.
Ryan Beedie, president of Burnaby-based Beedie Group, the developers who purchased the land in 2008, said the new building is 40,000 square feet larger than their previous biggest building, the Brewer’s Distributors warehouse in Port Coquitlam. “Up until a couple of years ago the biggest building we had built in terms of a single phase was 200,000 feet and a typical building is 50,000 to 100,000 square feet,” he said. “So to have something that is a 12-acre building is massive.”
New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright said the city has been working on developing the land with Beedie Group for years, and said Kruger provides both a long-term relationship with the city as well as a continuing source of employment for residents. “The Kruger plant will be a state-of-the-art facility and so that will create more jobs for us,” he said. “And then we’ve still got 10 acres left to put something there that will create more jobs so hopefully we’ll get back up to the high-paying jobs that we had there in the past.”
The development will be built on part of the 40-acre land located next to the Wal-Mart that was purchased by Beedie and Anthem Properties in the spring of 2008 for $40.9 million. The land became available following the 2006 closure of the 92-year-old Western Forest Products sawmill, in which 300 workers lost their jobs. City council was adamant the land remain zoned for industrial development, fearing a loss of industrialized lands and businesses in Metro Vancouver’s urban areas.
Council rezoned the land to light industrial to open the possibility of other developments. Beedie announced in 2009 that American giant Lowe’s Building Supply would construct a 170,000 square foot store on the land, with the building and parking lot covering 13 acres. The store, which began construction in January, is expected to employ 175 people and be an employee training centre for all of Western Canada.
The idea for the warehouse has been in the works for years, but Beedie said all parties came together on an agreement in principle in December. “New Westminster has been very cooperative in terms of getting the approval process going in a reasonable time period, understanding the significance and importance of the project,” said Beedie.
The new development is the best use of industrial land base, Wright said, adding the location is perfect for New Westminster. “The most important thing for the city is we have this affiliation with Kruger and they will be here for many years as one of our industrial-based resources,” he said. The new project is valued in the neighbourhood of $50 million. Construction will begin June 10 and is scheduled to take 10 months to complete.
“The Kruger plant will be a state-of-the-art facility and so that will create more jobs for us”