Frequently Asked Questions
What is SCDC?
Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC) is a for profit real estate development company operating in the City of Surrey. It is governed by an independent Board of Directors, and its sole shareholder is the City of Surrey. SCDC’s mission is to ‘make Surrey better for its citizens through real estate’. This aligns with our vision for the next ten years which is to ‘undertake ten significantly scaled and catalytic projects that will positively impact the city financially, socially, economically, environmentally and aesthetically.’
When was SCDC created?
The City of Surrey created SCDC in 2007 and has been operating successfully for 12 years.
How is SCDC governed?
SCDC is governed by an independent board of seven directors of whom two are directly appointed to represent the shareholder, the City of Surrey.
Is SCDC profitable?
Yes. Since incorporation in 2007 through to the end of the 2018 fiscal year, SCDC’s cumulative profits were over $60 million.
How does SCDC operate?
SCDC operates under the business practices consistent with a private sector real estate company. This includes having an expert, non-political board of independent directors.
In which parts of British Columbia is SCDC active?
SCDC only develops real estate within the City of Surrey.
What type of projects does SCDC undertake?
SCDC is involved in all real estate asset classes. To date, SCDC has been involved in a range of real estate development activities including different types and forms of housing, industrial lands, institutional projects, commercial buildings, a hotel, as well as purchasing investment retail properties.
What are the benefits of SCDC to the City?
In addition to providing the City with a financial return in the form of an annual dividend, SCDC assists the City in achieving strategic community objectives, such as growing the tax base, and helping Surrey grow into a more economically, socially and environmentally complete community.
How is SCDC funded?
SCDC funds its annual operating costs from real estate activities.
How much has SCDC paid to the City in dividends?
To date, SCDC has paid $27.0 million in dividends to the City of Surrey with an additional $4.5 million scheduled to be paid in December 2019. These funds have contributed to the City’s budget for a number of important initiatives as determined by Mayor and Council including the City’s new Operations Centre, the North Surrey Arena replacement, the biodiversity conservation program, technological infrastructure and library capital improvements.
How does SCDC acquire land?
SCDC purchases surplus land from the city at fair market value, based on an independent appraisal. SCDC also makes strategic land purchases in the broader marketplace.
How does SCDC finance its projects?
SCDC finances its projects through a combination conventional financing, line of credit and preferred shares.
Is SCDC subsidized by the City?
No. SCDC generates adequate real estate profits to cover its operating costs and even pay a dividend back to the City.
Is SCDC part of the City?
Although SCDC is wholly owned by the City, it operates independently and at arm’s length from the City. SCDC has separate processes, policies and premises. As such, the City is not involved in the day-to-day management of SCDC. As SCDC’s sole shareholder, the City does indirectly influence SCDC by approving its Strategic Plan and through a Partnering Agreement as well as providing final approval for projects undertaken. It is in this way that SCDC aligns its goals with those of the City of Surrey.
Why does the City need a private development company?
In addition to generating revenue for the City, through owning SCDC, the City can accelerate strategic positive growth and attract quality private and public sector development. SCDC regularly partners with private sector developers on projects.
What does SCDC do that the private sector cannot do?
SCDC is uniquely positioned to act as a catalyst to deliver visionary, high-quality and profitable projects that are aligned with Mayor and Council’s development priorities. This allows the City to stimulate economic growth and community-building in Surrey in a focused and efficient way. As a result, SCDC has been a market leader in stimulating development activity in specific areas of the city targeted for growth. The company frequently engages in partnerships with private development companies to bring these city-building projects to market, thereby utilizing private sector expertise to help deliver public priorities. Through this process, SCDC maximizes returns on surplus city lands, accelerates the growth of the tax base and delivers transformative projects to benefit the citizens of Surrey.
Does SCDC get special treatment in the approval process?
No. SCDC must go through the same approval processes and pay the same fees as any real estate developer in the City of Surrey.
What is the portfolio value of SCDC’s assets?
SCDC’s current portfolio is valued at approximately $180 million.
Couldn’t the City’s Real Estate department do the same work that SCDC is doing?
The City’s Real Estate department is responsible for managing the real estate assets that the City requires to operate. This includes acquiring land for city uses such as roads, parks, civic facilities and other infrastructure. SCDC on the other hand, is an active development company that focuses on improving and unlocking the value of land in order to provide additional revenue to its shareholder (the City) and to actively improve the City, economically, socially, environmentally and aesthetically.
SCDC, the Economic Development department and the Real Estate department often work closely together as they have complementary skills and expertise.
How many staff are at SCDC?
There is currently a compliment of 10 staff at SCDC.
How can I join the Board at SCDC?
There are currently no board vacancies, but any vacancies are posted on the City of Surrey, SCDC and the Institute of Canadian Directors websites. Candidates for independent Board positions are vetted by the Board of Directors who make recommendation to the Shareholder for approval.