Downtown Vancouver BIA is Vancouver’s largest BIA, with more than 7,000 businesses and a residential catchment area of almost 110,000 people. While the majority of businesses are professional and technical services, the BIA supports a lively entertainment district, and a vibrant and growing retail sector with some of the most upscale establishments from around the world.
With an abundance of young working professionals living within the BIA’s downtown peninsula residential catchment area, thousands of daytime workers and weekend visitors, and proximity to transit, Downtown’s attractiveness allows for premium lease rates for office and retail space.
Population by Age
A total of 108,218 residents live within the downtown peninsula residential catchment area. This population grew 12% between 2011 and 2016 and has substantially more residents aged 20 to 34 as compared to Vancouver and Metro Vancouver.
Language & Ethnic Origin
English is the dominant language spoken in the home (76%), which is 10% higher than both city and region. Just 13% of Downtown peninsula residential catchment area residents report Chinese origins, compared with Vancouver (28%) and Metro Vancouver (21%).
Area residents are mostly young, working professionals. In fact, less than 5% of residents in the downtown peninsula are under 20 years of age. This is reflected in the average household size of just 1.6 persons. Residents are more likely to be male (53%) and single (55%).
Education & Occupation
A well-educated area, 32% of residents have a Bachelor’s degree, while 18% have achieved education beyond that level. The dominant occupation is in sales & service (22%), but this figure is lower than Vancouver (24%) and Metro Vancouver (24%).
Income & Spending
The dominant household income is $100,000 to $124,999, matching the figure for both city and region. The average annual expenditure per household in the Downtown peninsula ($76,538) is notably lower than that of Vancouver or in Metro Vancouver, which likely relates to smaller household sizes.
97% of the Downtown Vancouver BIA is zoned Downtown Development (DD), which ensures the highest standards of design and amenity. 99% of total building square footage is dedicated to commercial use, while there are 196 office spaces occupying more than 23 million sq. ft.
Unsurprisingly, almost all the dwellings downtown are apartments (98%), significantly higher than Vancouver (80%) and Metro Vancouver (58%). 68% of all residents are renters. 33% of housing in the BIA has been built since 2001, reflecting the massive housing redevelopments taking place.
Downtown Vancouver is perhaps the city's best connected BIA through transit. It's a central hub for all SkyTrain Lines and the Seabus.
Doing Business Here
The total number of businesses within the Downtown Vancouver BIA is 7,070. Downtown’s dominant industry is professional, scientific & technical services (31%). Home to the B.C. headquarters of all major banks, Downtown’s next most common business types are finance and insurance (11%) and retail (11%).
Commercial Business Size
Despite the presence of major employers like Amazon, Deloitte and TELUS, 49% of downtown BIA businesses have fewer than five employees. 41% of businesses are considered “small businesses” with 5-50 employees.
Though higher than Toronto, office lease rates are still some of the lowest in North America. Retail vacancy rates in the BIA are slightly below the regional average (3.4%) and Canadian average (4%).