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Industrial real estate: low-hanging fruit or the genesis of innovation?

Award-winning developer Conwest is pushing boundaries to redefine industrial real estate, backed by forward-thinking and market know-how from the experts at Colliers.

In a rapidly changing world where end users demand more from their spaces, the industrial real estate market is riding the cusp of change. It faces headwinds, such as speed to market, inflation, financing costs and labour shortages, yet its potential is enticing—so much so that people often flock to industrial when other asset classes experience setbacks.

However, the social and economic landscape has changed what success in industrial real estate looks like. “The future is about having the leadership, courage and forward-thinking mindset to innovate within a challenging and complex environment,” says Ben Taddei, partner and chief operating officer at Conwest Developments. “Technology, economy and work-life trends are changing the profile of who is using industrial space and what they need it for. That is reshaping the market.

A changing industrial sector

Ironworks | Conwest Developments

Taddei should know. Conwest is a local, privately-owned developer with over 41 years’ experience throughout the Lower Mainland and a renowned track record of delivering innovative projects. It does so driven by a team of people with the conviction to try something new—even if it is risky.

“Our innovation process centres around developing lasting relationships with like-minded partners who support our willingness to take measured risk to further our success,” Taddei says. “Colliers shares this mentality and offers the expertise to help us remain dynamic and relevant.”

Colliers, a leading diversified professional services and investment management company, has its finger on the pulse of market trends. “This allows us to knowledge share with Conwest so they can anticipate and meet future demand,” says Kirk Kuester, executive managing director at Colliers Vancouver.

The new face of industrial

Riverworks by Conwest Developments
Riverworks | Conwest Developments

There may not be a better example of innovation in industrial real estate than Ironworks, North America’s first stacked commercial-industrial project, which earned ULI’s Global Award of Excellence and Americas’ Award of Excellence in 2023.

Success at Ironworks informed HOUSS—an award-winning mixed-use office, commercial and industrial building in Mount Pleasant that is one of the first to combine all three asset classes. Its highlight is the restoration of an on-site 1901 heritage home that was integrated into the modern design.

Following HOUSS, Conwest and Colliers partnered to develop Riverworks, a state-of-the-art project on southwest Vancouver’s waterfront that stacks two levels of office strata on two levels of industrial and surrounds the end user in plenty of outdoor space, spacious decks and unobstructed water views.

Each project leverages insights from the one before and builds on new ways to develop mixed-use industrial spaces, not just in terms of form and function, but also, in response to specific markets.

“These projects demonstrate where the market has to go to be successful,” Kuester says. “Everyone was waiting for someone else to take that step. Conwest stepped up.”

“Partnering with Colliers has empowered us to deliver some groundbreaking projects in the industrial asset class, propelling us to the forefront of innovation,” Taddei says. “With our shared mindset, we can take bold risks and craft projects that redefine the industrial sector.”

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