May 31, 2018

Skytrain: “The Big Equalizer”

“The Big Equalizer” is the term a leasing expert coined for the impact that SkyTrain has on the commercial office market. 

From The Sun:

Economic growth boosts demand for suburban office space

Downtown Vancouver is still the region’s premier office district but it is suburban office centres that were the hot properties at the start of this year, according to a new report from commercial realtor CBRE. …

CBRE leasing expert Luke Gibson characterized it as a “flight to quality,” with employers latching on to new buildings with good amenities and access to rapid transit, “which is really what employees are looking for.” …

Gibson said that for some suburban employers, being close to SkyTrain allows them to attract a “broader range of employees” who live farther from the city centre.

Other companies such as tech firms, however, still want to be closer to downtown, but SkyTrain “is the big equalizer.”

More recognition that the regional vision — town centres of mixed use joined by rapid transit — has worked for us. But it takes time.

Like rapid transit itself, the impacts are often not apparent for some time, like station areas on the Expo line still awaiting new and denser development. Eventually it happens, often at a scale not anticipated even by the original authors.

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  1. Skytrain extensions could be funded by employer paid payroll taxes based on the distance employees commute ( transit or car) to their job. It would be an incentive to locate where potential employees live.