Wow! There’s an ‘Elephant in the room’… And in Burnaby, no less!
And a TigerShark… dining!
(NoteToSelf: ‘Doing Lunch’ with sharks inevitably ends poorly.)
RazorWire? In the Lower Mainland?
Everything you’ve just seen (and will see) was photographed, “OnLocation!” in Beautiful Burnaby’s LakeCity & environs.
Our explorations begin with a very special and particularly privileged corporate EconomicMigrant peculiar to BC’s LML… The ‘RunAway’ HollyWood Production.
Ooooh, Goody!!! HollyWoodNorth at work!… Or as the BurnabyHillBillies are wont to say, “MovieStars&SwimmingPools!” Let’s go have a look, shall we?
Darn&DoubleDarn… No celebrities and PublicParking’s a little scarce. Fortunately, we’re on foot today.
Hmm… No Stars here, either! – but somewhere, somebody’s definitely making a killing on OrangeTrafficCones and associated signage.
Definitely no ‘parking chaos’ on this BackLot (and as it turns out, no “Chaos” anymore either – but we’ll get back to that in a moment).
Yep. Ain’t no doubt ‘bout it. Them HollyWoodNorth Moguls – rather like their CounterParts in the CityOfAngels – just love designated private parking spots. But, Hey!? What’s that BigOrangeSign in the background all about?
That’s what. The RazorWireEconomy of vacant, disused industrial & commercial space (and by implication, vanishing enterprise, transient jobs & ‘DisposableWorkers’).
Indeed, although this particular venue was briefly resurrected as a temporary sound stage and production facility for the short-lived CBS television series, “Chaos”… Only 13 episodes and about as many weeks later and it’s just one more, “HereToday & GoneTomorrow”, “NowLeasing!” story.
And that, DearReaders is how it usually works in HollyWoodNorth – where indigenous production is virtually non-existent and the principal attractions to foreign producers of ’run-away’ productions were the Loonie@.65USD, weak local craft guilds and generous public subsidies.
So. There it is. Your visual harbinger of the HollowedOut, ‘MovieSet’/Facade economy so emblematic of our province’s graft-ridden, peculiar political economy of Construction&RealEstate, HumanTrafficking and ‘Horticulture’.
A terrible pity. And as for that forest of superfluous DesignatedParkingSignage? Well, never mind – because it makes great kindling for the CampFires ‘O The HomeLess who actually inhabit the parklands nearby.
Nothing screams out, “OpenForBusiness!” like barbed wire, chainlink and DisposableWorkers on picket duty. All that’s missing are the Pinkertons.
OK – so here’s the skinny on LakeCity’s vacant industrial/commercial premises – and it’s hardly a, ‘solitary building here&there’ kind ‘o thing… Warning: you might want to flip through these “quickly” – ‘cause there sure are a lot of them!
It’s simply amazing how quickly it adds up… 1200SqFt up there…
Becomes 2200 SqFt over here…
5,500 SqFt down the street…
10,463 SqFt around the corner…
12,500 SqFt KittyKorner from SkyTrain ‘University’…
To 15,500 SqFt…
To 60,000 SqFt…
To 63,000 SqFt (in this instance, former home to “Chaos”). See where this is going?…
Indeed, some developments have so much vacant space on offer – they have circumspectly chosen not to advertise the available square footage…
OK – this is just one district in Burnaby. If we throw in the rest of the LML – how many Millions ‘O Square Feet of commercial space are currently sitting vacant?
Sadly, and with few exceptions, the only thing growing around these industrial premises and accompanying LeasingEnticements is the grass.
As most of you have already surmised – each one of these vacant properties was once home to a business. And although Nemesis knows the ‘ordinary’ businesses that once occupied these premises don’t enjoy the Cachet/Buzz ‘o ShowBiz, they did for the most part, provide people with worthwhile, stable employment of a type not found in the GlamIndustries.
Perhaps there’s a lurking labour economist or econometrician in the audience who could provide us with a rough guide to the solution of: (x)[SqFtVacant] = (y)[JobsGone] ???
The SmallPrint on this Cushman&Wakefield signage reads, “Global Real Estate Solutions” – and that’s your next clue… Hmm. Perhaps it should say, “Arbitrage” instead of “Solutions”? Works with people and, apparently, RE too.
Ok – this is way too depressing. Time to board SkyTrain and GetGoin’.
Oops. SkyTrain’s ProductionWayUniversity Station is rubbing our noses in it, too. Three years after completion and they’re still flogging space in this development. Well, at least some of that OfficeSpace is furnished (locally sourced & ‘lightly used’ LakeCity disposals, ‘Nem’ wonders?).
Even TheResidentials’ are vying for our eyeballs & a piece of the action. To wit, a transit bench featuring the balding, collective rictus of ColdWellBanker’s “LoveTeam”.
Wandering towards the escalator and trying to ignore the commercial hoardings – for my own private amusement I briefly envisage LakeCity’s FarFuture…
A park like landscape where FlyingCars compete for AirSpace with children’s Frisbees … Where SFU’s Industrial & Urban Archaeologists of tomorrow are momentarily perplexed upon discovering the corroded remnants of sentinels, elephants, and a tiger shark… beneath a discarded transit shelter apparently dedicated to the Arcane&Taboo Rituals of RE’s “LoveTeam”.
Yikes! Startled BackToReality by yet more RezCouture/RE AgitProp.
I guess that when it comes to Vancouver, there’s really no escaping it.
Photos and commentary for the ‘BlastRadius’ series by ‘Nemesis’.
[Images Ⓒ2011 ‘Nemesis’ – All Rights Reserved]