Downtown finance HQ to create hundreds of new jobs, woo professionals to Victoria
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
Published February 22, 2017
Hundreds of finance and real-estate management professionals will add to the make-up of downtown Victoria’s workforce with the relocation of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation’s (bcIMC) headquarters to downtown Victoria, Citified has learned.
Currently based out of Burnside-Gorge’s Selkirk Waterfront community with offices in multiple markets across Canada, bcIMC is an institutional investor tasked with managing nearly $124-billion in net assets for British Columbia’s public sector pension plans, public trusts and insurance funds.
The organization will consolidate its Victoria operations into a 13-storey complex at 750 Pandora Avenue currently under construction as part of a joint development partnership between Victoria-based Jawl Properties and bcIMC. And according to sources familiar with its expansion plans, bcIMC will more than double its local workforce of some-200 employees with the hiring of several hundred workers to staff its growing in-house operations, including those of its newly-formed QuadReal Property Group real-estate management firm.
Although bcIMC representatives were unwilling to respond to enquiries pertaining to the organization’s relocation to downtown Victoria and its hiring plans, sources familiar with the expansion and relocation say that in addition to creating new local positions, bcIMC intends to relocate staff from several Canadian offices to its new Victoria headquarters by early 2018. The exact volume of transplants – many hailing from Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary – could itself represent a significant number of workers.
News of bcIMC’s move to downtown Victoria and its workforce expansion ties in with the issue of an under-supply of high-end real-estate throughout the region.
With housing inventory at record lows and luxury new-build residences already selling at rates between $800 and $1,000 per square foot, the arrival of a sizable number of well-paid professionals could push those rates even higher, according to real-estate industry analysts.
Demand for high-end executive rental housing is also expected to spike with the new arrivals and usher in even more pressure on new-build rental rates throughout the urban core of the region.
As Victoria’s housing supply struggles to keep up with demand, the changing economic and social make-up of the Capital Region could lead to what some analysts say is a new pricing reality, fuelled by retirees, wealthy professionals, and secondary (even tertiary) population growth resulting from the relocation of one part of a family that entices the relocation of other family units.
The recent surge in Vancouverites securing Victoria’s high-end luxury real-estate, such as the penthouse units at 595 Pandora’s City View Collection and the Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s waterfront condominiums, could be clues that the new economic reality on southern Vancouver Island is already taking shape well ahead of bcIMC’s relocation and its expected effects on the local market.
Experts agree that given the population growth over the last five years, and given the low volume of new-build housing in the region coupled with ultra-low re-sale housing inventory, Victoria real-estate prices will continue to escalate well into 2018 and homebuyers should plan accordingly. C
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