CIBT’s GEC Education Mega Center Receives City Council Approval at Third Public Hearings

February 23, 2021

Vancouver, B.C., February 23, 2021 – CIBT Education Group Inc. (TSX: MBA, OTCQX International: MBAIF) (“CIBT” or the “Company“) is pleased to report that its flagship project, GEC Education Mega Center®  (the “Project”), received approval from Surrey City Council at the third Public Hearing on February 22, 2021. The Project will now proceed to the Enactment of Bylaw. The Company will prepare the Development Permit application, followed by the Building Permit application. Construction of the Project is expected to commence after the summer of 2021, and the Project is anticipated to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025.

The Company currently operates seven facilities in Metro Vancouver under the GEC® brand and eight additional buildings under development.  The status of the eight buildings are as follows:

  1. Two buildings at GEC Global Education City® (Richmond) are under construction which commenced in June 2020.
  2. One building at GEC® King Edward has completed its demolition; construction is underway.
  3. One building at GEC® Oakridge received its rezoning approval in January 2021; construction is expected to start in 2021.
  4. One building at GEC Education Mega Center® received its rezoning approval on February 22, 2021; construction is expected to start in 2021.
  5. Three buildings at GEC® CyberCity have entered the rezoning application phase; the City of Richmond is currently reviewing the application.

“With new developments in recent months indicating a burgeoning real estate market in Metro Vancouver, we are pleased to receive the approval for our rezoning application for GEC Education Mega Center®,” commented Toby Chu, Chairman, President and CEO of CIBT. “The current trajectory of the local real estate market value is expected to boost our real estate portfolio value as construction costs remain steady while interest rates remain low. These combined effects are expected to lower our construction costs and increase our various projects’ exit-value.

“The real estate market in British Columbia has recently seen a surge in home sales and rising demand for housing properties.  Based on statistics published by the British Columbia Real Estate Association, the province’s real estate boards recorded over 7,000 home sales in January1. In the same month, home sales increased by roughly 50% in Metro Vancouver alone2.”

Mr. Chu added, “The estimated timeline for the completion of our projects is expected to result in the timely possession of rental buildings that can add significant value to our real estate portfolio given the robust education sector and low vacancy rates in rental apartments. With that said, we look forward to starting construction of over 1.135 million square feet of commercial and apartment rental facilities with a development budget of $712 million.”

1. Home sales in BC see record-breaking start to 2021:

2. Metro Vancouver home sales continued strong demand trend in January:

About GEC Education Mega Center®:

GEC Education Mega Center Limited Partnership acquired the Project site in downtown Surrey on August 30, 2019.  The total purchase price was $22.6 million, excluding closing costs. The Project’s rezoning process with the City of Surrey has been ongoing throughout the past few years and during the pandemic.  The Company expended substantial efforts through several value-engineering exercises to reduce costs and increase efficiencies under the academic and multi-family rental environments while satisfying the City of Surrey’s development guidelines. The Project received approval from Surrey’s Urban Design Panel in December 2020, Public Hearing 1 and 2 approval on February 8, 2021, and Public Hearing 3 approval on February 22, 2021. 

The Project will be a 49 storey concrete mixed-used commercial and residential building with 41 residential floors, six commercial and retail floors, two amenity floors, and seven underground parking levels. The building design stands 542 feet tall, making it the fourth tallest building in Metro Vancouver. The Project will comprise 404,249 square feet with 787 bedrooms, including 112 studio units, and accommodate up to 982 occupants. The upper floors will be allocated for residential rental housing and the middle floors for student-centric rental apartments and corporate housing. The lower six floors will accommodate at least five colleges and universities looking to expand their Surrey City Centre presence and a cafeteria-style restaurant with a premium food market on the ground floor.  The Surrey campus of the Company’s education subsidiary, Sprott Shaw College, currently occupies over 10,000 square feet in central Surrey. The plan is to relocate the Sprott Shaw College (Surrey) campus to the Education Mega Center® as an anchor tenant.  The Company has been in discussions with numerous universities and colleges from across Canada and abroad and has received tremendous interest in the Project.

The GEC Education Mega Center® could provide much-needed rental housing to the students studying at the Simon Fraser University Surrey Campus (“SFU”), the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey Central Campus (“KPU”), and other nearby schools.  Furthermore, the Project could also provide rental housing to the estimated 10,000 workers at the expanded Surrey Central Business District (Newslink:  GEC Education Mega Center® is located across the street from the Surrey SkyTrain station (about 20 meters), approximately 150 meters from SFU, 80 meters from KPU, and 100 meters from the Central City Shopping Centre. 

The Project’s total development budget is approximately $270 million. 

About CIBT Education Group:

CIBT is one of Canada’s largest education services and academic real estate companies.  With a global presence since 1994, CIBT employs nearly 600 staff at 46 business locations and operates a global network of 2,500 recruitment agents.  In 2020, the group provided education, recruitment and accommodation services to over 11,000 students. Its real estate portfolio, including operating assets and development budget, exceeds $1.5 billion.

CIBT’s education subsidiaries include Sprott Shaw College (established in 1903), Sprott Shaw Language College, Vancouver International College Career Campus, CIBT School of Business and Global Education Alliance.  These subsidiaries offer over 150 accredited educational programs in healthcare, business, e-commerce, cyber-security, hotel management, language training and recruitment services at 29 locations in Canada and abroad. 

CIBT’s real estate subsidiary, Global Education City Holdings Inc. (“Global Holdings“), develops and manages academic-assets such as student-centric rental apartments, corporate housing, hotel and education super-centres. Under the GEC® brand, Global Holdings provides B2B accommodation service to 72 schools in Metro Vancouver and B2C service to students from 77 countries. The GEC® branded portfolio, including operational and under-construction or development, comprises 11 projects, 16 buildings, spanning over 1.5 million square feet.

CIBT also owns Irix Design Group Inc. (“Irix Design“). Irix Design is a leading design and advertising company services over one hundred corporate clients including CIBT.  Visit us online at

Toby Chu

Chairman, President & CEO

CIBT Education Group Inc.

Investor Relations Contact: 1-604-871-9909 extension 318 or | Email:


Some statements in this news release contain forward-looking information (the “forward-looking statements“). Forward looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and in this news release include, without limitation, statements about plans for the proposed GEC Education Mega Center®, its expected construction start and completion date and the expectation that it will generate significant rental income, the expected timing of the start of construction of GEC® Oakridge, and the expectation that real estate values in Metro Vancouver will remain strong for the next several years. The forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors (collectively, “Risks“) that could cause CIBT’s actual results or achievements to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by forward-looking statements. The Risks include, without limitation, the ability to negotiate and enter into a binding agreement for the construction of the Project on favourable terms, the ability of GEC Education Mega Center Limited Partnership to raise equity investment and secure other required funding to build the Project, usual construction risks, the ability to obtain all required municipal approvals and within the time expected by management, and the ability to fully rent the building upon its completion. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, opinions and expectations of CIBT’s management at the time they are made, and CIBT does not assume any obligation to update its forward-looking statements if those beliefs, opinions or expectations, or other circumstances should change, except as may be required by law.

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