What was a big pile of steel laying on the ground at a building site in the BCR Industrial Park in Prince George a few weeks ago has now been welded and bolted together to create the iron structure to support a 66,000 square-foot warehouse being built on speculation.
By sometime next spring, tenants will be moving into the building at 8875 Willow Cale Rd., the latest project in an ambitious plan by John Brink’s Interior Warehousing division to expand the city’s storage space capacity.
The building material supplier, Colony of Vancouver, utilized pre-engineered steel for the beams and girders that are made in the United States using recycled metal from scrapped vehicles.
Like building a toy Meccano set, construction crews from Sapphire Steel of Edmonton quickly began assembling the pieces Nov. 10 and already the building’s skeleton is now place.
“In just over three weeks, considering the crews are from out of town and the cold weather we’ve been having, it’s amazing what they’ve done,” said Interior Warehousing project manager Dave McWalter. “I have nothing but admiration for those guys.”
The building will serve as general storage for a more than one or more tenants.
“There’s no specific tenant that we’re aware of, but it’s a big building, a big open space,” said McWalter.
Foundation construction started in May and the concrete walls that support the steel structure are sunk 10 feet into the ground. The site preparation was done by K2 Contracting of Prince George. The south end of the lot is crossed by a BC Hydro transmission line and rezoning was required to allow the building footprint to come closer to that line.
The building is about two-thirds the size of the 100,000 square-foot Costco building on Range Road. The new warehouse is about 400 feet long and 180 feet wide, until it narrows. The triangular-shaped lot required a reduced width at the north end of the building.
The rest of the steelwork and roof is scheduled to be completed by the end of January and it will be ready for occupancy by April of May.
Interior also plans to develop an adjacent piece of property east of the current construction site at 1077 Boundary Rd., to build a 244,000 square-foot warehouse. That project won’t likely get started until well into 2023.
“This is the first one that’s going up, and it’s all local people who have designed it,” said McWalter.
One of the designers is Prince George mayor Simon Yu, whose company, Simon and Co. Structural Engineers, was involved in the design stage before he was elected mayor in October.
The Brink Group of Companies intends to build one million square feet of new warehouse space in Prince George over the next five years.
McWalter said there is a need for more warehouse space as the local economy diversifies to better serve the city in its position as the service and distribution hub of northern B.C.
“It’s just a different economy in terms of overnight deliveries,” said McWalter. “If you use Amazon, you get those overnight deliveries are so fast, it amazes me every time it shows up on my doorstep, and it’s people like that who will be needing storage in this city.
“A lot of it may be unheated storage [space] for pulp, treated lumber, chips. If you go back to the city and drive all the way on Boundary [Road] you can see all the new building going up. It’s amazing what’s happening in the BCR Industrial Park and they all create jobs.”