Vancouver’s False Creek Flats has been poised for years to become the city’s hot new tech zone or its third downtown or … well, something.
But, until recently, changes have been ad hoc and scattered randomly throughout this 450-acre tract of land just east of Vancouver’s main downtown that is home to rail lines, warehouses with rusting metal roofs, industrial operations of various descriptions, car-repair shops, a big-box hardware chain, and a lot of campers parked on the streets where the city’s not-quite-homeless have been taking up residence.
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It was in the late 1990s when the city council of the day rezoned part of the Flats for high tech in the hopes that it would become home to the then-exciting dot-com industry. That idea collapsed when the dot-com bubble burst.
In the mid-2000s, it was called Vancouver’s “third downtown,” as planners encouraged new enterprises to move beyond the central business district and central Broadway – still the region’s two biggest office and employment centres. But there was little takeup.