Development Challenges Creates Adaptive Success at 785 Derwent Way

By RCG Group

Annacis Island welcomes new addition
Our 2023-completed Delta property is the first new industrial development on Annacis Island in over five years. Developed, owned and operated by RCG Group, this 56,734 SF space boasts top-tier features, a unique design story and a commitment to sustainability.

Creative design overcomes challenges
Despite its prime location at the intersection of Derwent Way and Audley Boulevard, the irregularly shaped 3.3-acre site faced significant challenges. Rights of way for BC Hydro, Southern Railway and Metro Vancouver (GVS&DD) impacted about 38% of the land, restricting the building’s design, location and footprint.

RCG Group capitalized on this obstacle. We strategically utilized every square foot of the encumbered land to create essential features such as:

  • Easy access: site ingress/egress and drive aisles
  • Efficient loading and unloading: maneuvering space and access to loading bays
  • Convenient parking: ample parking for staff and visitors
  • Safe pedestrian access: dedicated walkways for safe movement

Overcoming delays and achieving success
The project faced additional hurdles when Metro Vancouver required the expansion of its existing rights of way and the completion of protective works for its underground pipeline. This resulted in a two-year design process and an eight-month construction delay. The RCG development team persevered and adapted the original plans to accommodate the expanded right of way. We resubmitted the building permit application and completed construction within an impressive 11 months.

Development and construction costs remained within budgeted estimates, facilitated by the expert guidance of ABBARCH Architecture and Prism Construction.

Designed for durability, functionality & curb appeal
785 Derwent Way utilizes tilt-up concrete panels, steel columns, open web steel joists and a metal deck roof, ensuring long-lasting strength and minimal maintenance needs—ideal for industrial use. The double-story interior provides flexibility for various industrial uses, allowing for mezzanine offices and service spaces while maximizing ground floor space with minimal column obstruction. The development also sets a new standard for functional industrial spaces in Metro Vancouver, with features that include:

  • 32′ clear warehouse ceiling heights
  • LED lighting with motion sensors
  • ESFR sprinklers
  • 50′ x 47.5′ column spacing
  • 9 dock level loading doors and 3 grade level loading doors
  • 600v 600amp 3-phase power supply
  • Two points of site access and egress

Beyond functionality, the building boasts a visually-striking facade featuring:

  • Concrete portals for marked entry points and potential signage locations
  • A finely detailed curtain wall and fenestration that create a modern aesthetic
  • Recessed panel modelling and entrance canopies that add visual interest
  • A bold colour scheme that highlights entrances, grabbing attention

Sustainable features and future-proof design
The development incorporates various sustainable elements to ensure the building remains relevant and adaptable in the years to come, such as:

  • Landscaping with existing trees
  • Reused soil from Metro Vancouver’s excavation
  • Energy-efficient building mechanics and electrical design
  • LED lighting with motion sensors
  • Roughed-in infrastructure for future EV charging stations

Development financial & performance summary
The property underwent redevelopment using internal corporate funds. The property was successfully leased to a single tenant, exceeding initial lease rate projections. Tenant access began on March 1, 2023, accommodating specific requests, such as 2’ x 16’-wide grade doors, without additional costs or construction delays.

Overall, 785 Derwent Way stands as a testament by RCG Group to creative problem-solving, efficient design and a commitment to building a sustainable future for industrial spaces in Metro Vancouver. SVP Gordon Walker sums it up best:

“785 Derwent will be in our company’s portfolio for decades to come and embodies the quality and stature of investment property we seek to purchase or build.”