Walmart to spend $175 million on high-tech Surrey warehouse
The Commercial Real Estate industry in British Columbia is booming. Right here in Prince George, we have new buildings going up and a revitalized downtown. Provincially Walmart is getting in on the action:
Walmart Canada will spend $175 million to build a high-tech and highly automated perishables distribution centre in Surrey’s Campbell Heights Business Park, which the company is describing as a “flagship” example internationally.
They’re calling it a fulfilment centre. At 300,000 square feet, about the size of 3½ CFL-sized football fields including the endzones, the facility will be smaller than a typical Walmart distribution centre. But senior vice-president John Bayliss said the advanced technology allows Walmart to shrink the footprint by about 30 per cent.
“We’ve wanted to find a way to better serve our customers in British Columbia for a long time,” Bayliss said. He said the biggest challenge was finding a site in the Lower Mainland’s high-priced real estate market.
Walmart has been serving its 60 B.C. stores from facilities in Calgary and a third-party warehouse in Richmond, but Bayliss said the company wanted a better option for the growth it is experiencing west of the Rockies.
“We needed to add capacity,” Bayliss said. “Our choice was expanding where we are, or adding a node in B.C.”
“And using technology, we’ve been able to build that new node.”
In an emailed statement, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said the city welcomes Walmart’s project, which she termed “a significant, positive economic impact on our community.”
Hepner said the facility’s more compact design “is a novel, forward-thinking approach,” to help conserve the region’s rare industrial land.
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