Blackwood Partners has submitted a development application for the much anticipated Central City 2 office tower – proposed for the corner of King George Blvd and Old Yale Road on the site of a former Best Buy. The 25-storey tower designed by ZGF Architects is to be built to Class AAA and LEED Platinum standards and contain over 500,000 SF of office space, and 20,000 SF of ground level retail.
The proposed design of the tower has undergone considerable revision since first announced back in November 2017. The tower now features copper / reddish toned shading fins on its exterior, and a refined, more cohesive massing and podium. The tower also features expansive green roof decks, premium fitness facilities for office tenants, bike lockers, electric vehicle charging, high-speed elevators, and a ground level urban plaza, anchored by a restaurant, café, and retail.
Following the completion of the original Central City office tower and SFU campus back in 2003, Central City 2 will form the next phase of a long-term vision to redevelop the remainder of the Central City Shopping Centre site. While just conceptual at this point, the long-term plan would see the remaining parking lots to the north redeveloped with mixed-use development and new streets. The mall itself is envisioned to be reconfigured to include a number of new tower sites, and a large new plaza entrance fronting Holland Park on Old Yale Road – mirroring the existing Central City Plaza to the north and creating a connection through the mall linking the city’s civic core to Holland Park.
Along with the recently submitted development application, Blackwood Partners has also now begun marketing the tower for lease, and will be opening a presentation centre in the Central City Shopping Centre in early 2019. The current leasing brochure can be found here.
A proposal to revitalize an existing rental tower and create 63 new rental units at King George Blvd & 98th Avenue was stalled by Surrey’s new Council on Monday, after being denied 1st & 2nd readings for not looking satisfactory enough, in Council’s opinion. The application, which is proposing to convert an existing 3-storey commercial building on site to rental residential, and upgrade the exterior of the 18-storey tower behind it, was sent back to staff to work with the applicant on unspecified revisions.
Designed in partnership with MCM Architects and PWL Landscape Architects, the project would bring a welcome facelift to the existing buildings on site, originally completed in 1982, as well as improve the surrounding streetscape. Aside from aesthetic upgrades, the primary objective of the project is to create 63 new rental units on site through the conversion of the existing 3-storey commercial building along King George Blvd. Details of the proposed upgrades include:
Modernization and conversion of the existing low-rise commercial building to rental residential. Exterior cladding to be replaced with new materials consisting of high quality white fibre cement panels, and charcoal seam metal cladding.
Landscaping along King George Blvd enhanced and modified to suit residential use and layout
New plaza at the north-east corner of the site to help activate the streetscape along King George Blvd
The existing 18-storey tower to receive new exterior paint and glass balcony rail replacements with colour enhancements.
Despite the high quality materials proposed, and thoughtfully designed plan which works within the given site constraints, Council was of the opinion that the design was not suitable enough to be allowed to proceed. Without giving any specific recommendations on how to improve the design, the project was sent back to staff to work with the applicant on revisions to the plan, despite staff already working closely with the design team to date. The building’s modernization, and the delivery of new rental units to City Centre is now delayed pending unclear revisions, until the project can return to Council for consideration once again.
The conversion is supported by Surrey Staff as the existing commercial building has long suffered from poor vacancy rates and high tenant turn-over due to physical attributes of the building, and its poor integration with the neighbourhood. The proposed residential use is seen as appropriate for this location, being across from a SkyTrain station and the developing context of the area.
The Surrey Village Tower currently contains 227 rental units in the existing 18-storey tower, managed by RealStar. The addition of the proposed 63 new units would bring the total rental units to 290.