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Development now encroaching on Vancouver gas stations

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A combination of ever-rising land values and high-density zoning in Vancouver’s major corridors will convince more gas companies to sell their fuelling stations in the city, according to a commercial real estate analyst.

“Gas stations are typically located in prime areas on corners of major crossroads, and just the opportunity costs of capital that’s built within those sites, and how it’s been growing over the years — it makes sense to me,” Colliers International manager of market intelligence for Western Canada Curtis Scott told The Province. “From a real estate standpoint, you’re unlocking a lot of capital. It’s a unique opportunity.”

Scott noted that higher-density developments are now moving into major corridors and mass transit lines in the city. He added that mixed-use towers will most likely be erected on many of the former gas station sites.

Earlier this month, Chevron Canada’s announced its intent to sell and close five more gas stations in Vancouver.

“Of those five stations, two have ceased operations, and the deals have completed,” Chevron Canada spokesman Adrien Byrne said. “The other three are under offer, but we anticipate that offer to continue, and then we’ll be ceasing operations … over the next four to six weeks.”

“While our primary business is obviously selling fuel, successful businesses as they are, it makes more sense for these particular properties to divest them for another purpose and redevelopment,” Byrne explained.

Recently, Chevron sold its downtown station at 1698 West Georgia Street, a parcel valued at $32.8 million by B.C. Assessment. Media reports estimated the deal to be as high as $72 million.