The recent announcement of the sale of the iconic Molson Brewery, located at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge, is raising questions about the fate of this prime Kitsilano land.

Vancouver’s burgeoning craft brewing industry has contributed to Molson Coors’ decision to cease its beer bottling operations in December 2014 – and ultimately to this sale. The sale of the 55-year-old brewery is speculated to be approximately $200 million.

The 500,000-square-foot brewery is the largest in Western Canada. It has a production capacity of over 2.2 million hectolitres of beer per year, or about 600 million cans. It sits on 7.6 acres of valuable Kitsilano real estate. To the west it is bordered by Burrard Street and the bridge; to the north is Squamish Nation traditional territory; on the south sits the Seaforth Armoury; and to the east is the end-of the-line for the 11-kilometre long Arbutus rail corridor.

Molson’s and Seaforth Armoury on Burrard Street, 2015 (Photo: C. Hagemoen)

Molson’s and Seaforth Armoury on Burrard Street, 2015 (Photo: C. Hagemoen)

The site is currently zoned for industrial use. To change the zoning to residential use, the new owner will need the approval of Vancouver’s city council and potentially the province. Before receiving council’s approval, the owner will also have to file a land rezoning application, along with organizing a public hearing and any other community consultation.

The new owner hasn’t been identified and no development plans have been announced. There will be many considerations for the owner if they are considering rezoning this parcel of land for residential use, the most liable option to recover the price of the sale.

Adjacent to the site is Squamish Nation traditional territory and plans have been announced for a mixed-use commercial and residential development. In addition, there is no transit hub near the site and traffic already is highly congested.

The brewery was first built in 1953 and the Molson family purchased it in 1958. Since then, the brewery has been an important job-generator in Vancouver and it would be a shame to lose this potential.

As a Kitsilano resident, what do you think would be a good option for the use of this land? Will you miss the malty aroma the brewery produces or is Kitsilano ready for a something new?

Last modified: October 27, 2020

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