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B.C. government buying ICBC headquarters near SeaBus for housing development

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With ICBC confirming its headquarters will be moved off the North Shore, the province announced Monday it will buy the waterfront property near Lonsdale Quay to create hundreds of homes.

Premier David Eby announced the province's purchase during a morning news conference, saying the new housing development will be close to a transit hub, including the SeaBus terminal.

Eby said the goal is to make transit-oriented housing "attainable across the income spectrum."

"One of the things that often happens with these government sites or sites that are close to the water is they get developed into luxury executive condos that don't fit the needs of the people that actually use transit and would benefit from the amenities that are here," he said. "We're going to ensure that this building and this site gets used to build a more livable community for everybody here on the North Shore."

The province will partner with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples, as well as TransLink and the City of North Vancouver on the project.

It's expected the property will have market and below-market homes, as well as amenities like child care, health care and public spaces.

"This property is an ideal place to build homes near a world-class transit hub, where people can easily access the daily necessities of life and have the option of using affordable efficient public transit to get around," Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said in a statement. "The purchase of this ICBC building and land is another example of our commitment to finding creative solutions to address the province’s housing shortage."

The province said the purchase is part of a $394-million commitment to develop thousands of homes near transit in the next 10 to 15 years. The NDP government said it aims to buy up land near existing and future transit hubs. Similar projects have been announced in Port Moody and Saanich so far. 

ICBC explained its hybrid work model has meant its North Vancouver headquarters were operating at less than half capacity on most business days. As a result, it's moving to a new office near the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station. 

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