Low Tide Properties
The Vancouver-based company is turning Great Northern Way into a biotech hub.
Whatever you think of the ‘South Flatz’ nickname, it’s becoming undeniable that the neighbourhood being created around Vancouver’s Great Northern Way is transforming into a go-to destination. And not just for coffee-desperate art students either, despite the presence of Emily Carr University, Kafka’s and Nemesis. Thanks to real estate development and management company Low Tide Properties, the area is also becoming something of a life sciences and biotech hub.
The Vancouver company that’s perhaps best known for being co-founded by Chip Wilson has been playing the long game in securing a plethora of local life sciences companies. Firms like StemCell Technologies and Augurex Life Sciences Corp. have found homes in Low Tide buildings, and its newest, dubbed Lab 29 and set to become operational towards the end of 2026, will likely be no different.
“We target the creative tenant space, of which life sciences and biotech are a big part,” says Low Tide president Andrew Chang. He notes that the company has about 15 life science tenants overall across half a million square feet in Vancouver. “There are two types of life science companies,” he explains. “One are your south of the border national companies that set up offices or facilities here to try and tap into the talent. The other type are way more interesting and local. They tend to generate out of labs like at UBC and become startup companies and grow.”
Chang and his team have worked to create purpose-built life science facilities in their buildings, partly in an effort to keep homegrown talent here. “There haven’t been a lot of life science or biotech specific buildings in Vancouver,” he argues. “Some of these companies, when they grow to a certain size, inevitably they run out of space and have to move outside Vancouver. Or they get bought out by another company south of the border and end up moving. That doesn’t really foster a healthy healthcare hub in the city of Vancouver and the province of B.C.”
Low Tide bills Lab 29 as a “cutting-edge laboratory and office building” that will add to its collection of bio science facilities. What it doesn’t know, at least not yet, is what companies will be occupying the project. “Ideally, we’d like to have a combination of tenants of various sizes—or one anchor tenant that takes up a good chunk of the building and then have the rest be smaller tenants,” says Chang. “We don’t have someone specific in mind at this point, but we feel pretty confident in the quality of the building and in everything that’s going around the False Creek Flats area.”
Part of that, of course, is the development of the new St Paul’s campus, which will have some 1.7 million square feet of hospital space, as well as around 800,000 feet of medical office and research space. “That’s going to have a transformative impact on the area,” says Chang. “And we feel that Lab 29 is ideally located just a few blocks from the campus and also close to Mount Pleasant, which is becoming home to a pretty significant concentration of life science companies.”