Hotels, shops, entertainment proposed for Richmond’s Night Market site

Hotels, shops, entertainment proposed for Richmond’s Night Market site

‘Duck Island represents one of the largest economic development project in Richmond, since the building of YVR’ – developer

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The site of Richmond’s Night Market could become home to a $4-billion development to turn the land into a year-round tourist and entertainment destination.

Earlier this month, Richmond city council approved rezoning the land from industrial to high-rise, commercial and institutional use, and a public hearing will be held on Tuesday.

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The site, almost eight hectares (20 acres), would house 3.4 million square feet of mixed-use space if developed, including five-star hotels, an entertainment district, shopping, a 300-slip marina, and conference centre.

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It would be one of the largest economic developments in Richmond’s history, according to a spokesman for the developer, at least since the building of Vancouver International Airport.

The developers have invited the Night Market to continue as a tenant.

“The development is poised to generate more than 11,000 jobs on-site while contributing tens of millions of dollars annually to the city and province,” Kevin McNaney of Jingon International Development said in an email.

The development of an entertainment destination would “mark a transformative moment for Richmond,” he added.

The property was valued at more than $150 million during a 2020 lawsuit, but would be worth “many times that amount if successfully rezoned and developed,” the court heard.

And it is relatively easy to get to for visitors. The location is minutes from the airport, a half-hour drive from the U.S. border, and 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver on the Canada Line.

Jingon formed a joint venture with Cayan Group, a real estate investment and development company that focuses on the Middle East, as co-developer.

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According to the development partners, Duck Island will create the Lower Mainland’s largest cluster of hotels outside of downtown Vancouver, citing a recent Destination Vancouver study showing Metro Vancouver will need at least 20,000 more hotel rooms in the coming decade to meet projected demand.

The developers are working in conjunction with the Hilton chain of hotels and Musqueam Nation.

Cayan’s involvement marks its first foray into North America. It plans to include a performing arts centre, art galleries, community police office and city-operated fire hall at the site.

“With a proven track record alongside Hilton Worldwide, it’s an immense honour to contribute to the transformation of Richmond into a true jewel of the Lower Mainland and Western Canada,” said Cayan Pacific chairman Ahmed Alhatti.

Duck Island is part of Lulu Island after being joined with Lulu since 1972. The final vestige of Duck as its own island is a small slough and marsh near River Rock which once formed part of the channel that separated the two islands, according to the Richmond archives.

It was purchased by Jingon in May, 2011.

“Duck Island has all the elements to become a leading international commercial hub and a premier entertainment complex, including multiple hotel brands that can attract business and leisure travellers from every segment,” said Matt Wehling, senior vice-president for North America with Hilton, which operates 180 hotels in Western Canada with another 90 under development.

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