SURREY â€” Tsawwassen’s largest owner of real estate will be moving its headquarters to Surrey City Centre in January in order to take competitive advantage of the city’s proximity to public transit.
Century Group president Sean Hodgins said the company had planned to move into the 3 Civic Plaza, but due to several delays that 52-storey tower will not be complete until December 2016. The company recently secured a deal to move into Central City, which is a few blocks away from where the tower will be located.
Hodgins said he thought about moving to Surrey five years ago when the company realized that attracting talent to the organization was difficult because Tsawwassen is relatively isolated from major transportation networks.
"If you find the right person and they happen to live in Burnaby and they show up for the interview at eight o’clock in the morning battling through traffic, you know you almost lose them before you even have the interview," he said.
It soon became apparent that for the company to be attractive they would have be more conveniently located next to public transit. Hodgins said that’s especially true for his younger employees. The company has several young workers who live in downtown Vancouver and don’t drive or own cars.
"I do think it’s going to be the defining thing in real estate in the 21st century, is the access to transit. If we believe that, then we have to live it," said Hodgins, adding Surrey Central SkyTrain station is only a 40-minute ride to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station.
He added that the South Fraser Perimeter Road, which was opened December 2013, will make it easier for those Century employees who call Tsawwassen their home â€” including Hodgins himself â€” to make it to work.
Despite moving headquarters out of Delta, Century intends to continue a strong presence in the community with ongoing support for organizations like the Delta Hospital Foundation and Reach Child and Youth Development Society. The company has made a financial commitment to both groups for the next three years.
Rental properties in Delta will be "business as usual," which includes apartment buildings, offices and retail spaces at Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall. The office telephone, apartment manager contacts, and all emergency numbers will remain the same.
"We’ve still got pretty strong ties to Delta and always will. it’s a move of convenience. We’re really excited about moving to Surrey, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re kind of feeling like we’re living the best of both worlds."
Century Group has several high-profile build and proposed developments in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, including Northgate, Oliva, Heron Cove and Southlands in Tsawwassen, The Ridge and Gulfview in Nanaimo, Ormidale Block in Vancouver, Ocean Walk in Richmond, and Holland Pointe and Citypoint in Surrey.