A 26-Storey residential tower proposed at Central Ave and 133 St in the growing West Village neighbourhood received Preliminary Approval following Public Hearing on January 13. The project, named ‘CityWalk’ and being developed by Huacheng Holdings is located directly across from the new West Village District Energy Centre and Park, as well as the recently completed Evolve tower.
Designed by Wilson Chang Architect, the project is to include 223 units within a 26-storey tower above a 4-storey podium with ground-oriented townhouse units at the base fronting along Central Ave and 133 St. The building is intended to transition height from taller towers east of the site, down to a low to mid-rise form west of the site along 132 St at the edge of City Centre.
As part of the Landscape Plan prepared for the site by Vancouver’s ETA Landscape Architecture, a public walkway is proposed along the south side of the building, lending the project its name. This pathway will connect to an existing public walkway across the street to the east between the Evolve and Ultra towers, and eventually extend further east through to Civic Plaza as more projects develop. A green-roof is also proposed as part of the plan on top of the low-rise podium.
Additionally as part of the project, Central Avenue will see its remaining south half dedicated and constructed west of 133 St for the length of the site, inclusive of a separated bike lane to match the already constructed north side of the street.
Having now received 3rd Reading, the project can be expected to receive Final Approval within a year, and completion likely by 2024-5.
A transformative ‘Gateway’ project at the north end of City Centre along King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd received 1st & 2nd Readings at Council on Monday, and will now proceed to Public Hearing on January 13. The project, which has been in the planning stages for nearly 5 years, initially appeared before Council back in April 2018, but was referred back to Staff to work with the applicant on refining the proposal, and to determine a ‘significant amenity contribution’ in exchange for increased density on the site. Since then, the project, designed by Vancouver’s MCM Architects has undergone significant design refinements to create an ‘iconic’ gateway development consisting of 1,040 units within:
37-Storey Residential Tower above a 7-Storey podium
31-Storey Residential Tower above a 6-Storey podium
26-Storey Residential Tower above a 6-Storey podium
Two 6-Storey Low-Rise Residential Buildings
A 5,673 sq.ft. Childcare Facility
A small Cafe
Under the current application however, only the 26-Storey Residential Tower, Childcare Facility, Cafe, and a large ‘Orchard Plaza’ will be built as a first phase at the corner of King George Blvd and Bolivar Rd. The remainder of the development will be subject to future detailed Development Permit applications. The first phase tower will consist of 239 units, with the Childcare Facility and Cafe at its base. The large interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ design by Vancouver’s PWL Partnership Landscape Architects is intended to “celebrate connections to local agriculture” and will incorporate fruit trees within moveable planters, in addition to seating, an open lawn space, playground space, and an interactive stormwater capturing feature.
Overall, the proposal is proposing a blended density of 4.2 FAR on the site, which exceeds the currently permitted 2.5 FAR in that area of the City Centre Plan, intended for 4-6-Storey development. As a condition of allowing the increased density, the developer is offering a significant community amenity contribution above and beyond what is required, as well as providing a significant number of ‘family-sized units’ of 2-bedrooms or larger.
In addition to the development itself, significant upgrades will be made to surrounding streets including an expansive new landscaped sidewalk and separated bike path along King George Blvd, and new dedication and construction of Barker Street to the north.
Vancouver developer Rize is set to bring their latest and most ambitious project to date before Surrey Council on Monday for 1st & 2nd Readings, and approval to proceed to Public Hearing. Passages as it’s called, is a proposed master-planned mixed-use development at 10138 Whalley Blvd consisting of market condos, market rental apartments, retail, and daycare space, all situated within a European-style ‘piazza’ public plaza. In total the project is proposing:
3 High-Rise towers and 1 Low-Rise (6, 23, 32 & 39 Storeys) containing 954 Market Condo Residential Units
A 69,602 sq.ft. Publicly Accessible ‘Piazza’-Style Public Plaza
Designed by London, UK based Alison Brooks Architects, Passages brings a fresh departure from the standard point tower above podium form, commonly found throughout Metro Vancouver. Instead, the project consists of 6 irregularly-shaped buildings of varying heights, clustered around a ‘Piazza’-style public plaza.
The design takes inspiration from coastal BC forests, incorporating references to ‘textured tree bark’ on building facades, and the use of earth tones and materials. Interspersed single and double-storey units are present throughout the towers, adding variation in form and glazing pattern. The 6-storey building is a modern interpretation of the traditional ‘British mansion block’ merged with ground floor townhouses.
The site’s perimeter and courtyard are structured as open, barrier-free spaces that the public and residents can share and enjoy. A series of four distinct piazzas, City Piazza, Park Piazza, Central Piazza and Neighbourhood Piazza, are linked by narrow urban groves between buildings and enriched streetscape edges.
The Landscape Architect on the project is Vancouver’s PWL Partnership tasked with designing the publicly accessibly open spaces comprised of the four landscaped piazzas. These spaces are animated with community agricultural gardens, an urban square with seating, a children’s play area, a great lawn for event and performance space, a yoga and exercise zone, a community harvest table, and an outdoor barbeque and games table space to encourage the public and residents to interact and socialize.
Passages will replace two existing and aging, wood-frame, 4-storey apartment buildings known as Fraserview Court, built in the 1970’s. Rize is proposing to offset the loss of the 154 existing rental residential units on site by providing 172 new rental residential units in two new 13-Storey concrete mid-rises as part of re-development. These rental units will be secured for a period of 20-years, through a Housing Agreement with the City. Rize is also assisting existing residents facing displacement through a City policy directed Tenant Relocation and Assistance Plan.
The project is proposed to be built in 3 phases, which includes:
Phase 1 (Targeted Completion: May 2023)
13-Storey Mid-Rise with Market Rental Residential (88 Units), Ground Floor Cafe, and Daycare
23-Storey High-Rise with Market Condo Residential (212 Units)
Phase 2 (Targeted Completion: June 2024)
6-Storey Low-Rise with Market Condo Residential (66 Units)
32-Storey High-Rise with Market Condo Residential (304 Units), and Ground Level Retail
Phase 3 (Targeted Completion: August 2024)
13-Storey Mid-Rise with Market Rental Residential (84 Units), and Ground Level Retail
39-Storey High-Rise with Market Condo Residential (372 Units)
In terms of approvals, the development is seeking:
City Centre Plan amendment to increase density on the site from 3.5 FAR to 5.5 FAR
Official Community Plan amendment to increase density on the site from 3.5 FAR to 5.5 FAR
Rezoning from Multiple Residential 45 Zone to Comprehensive Development Zone (Based on RM-135 & C-8)
Subdivision from 1 to 3 lots
Development Permit to allow for 3 High-Rise Buildings, 2 Mid-Rise Buildings, and 1 Low-Rise Building.
After being referred back to Staff by Council on September 16 due to a misunderstanding over building height, Central City II returned to Council tonight to receive 1st & 2nd Readings and the OK to proceed to Public Hearing in 2 weeks. No changes were made to the proposal, which will proceed based on its original 25-storey (382′) height. The re-introduced planning report included better contextual information to help convey to the Mayor and Council how the building will fit into the surrounding area, as well as the sheer volume of office space it will contain given its large floor plate. The Mayor and Council had previously sent the application back to staff, having thought the tower would be shorter than the 35-Storey residential towers across the street at King George. McCallum’s arguments included:
“This is not a highrise development”
“Twenty-five storeys in our City Centre is way too low.”
“The towers at King George Station across the street are taller”
“We have only a certain amount of land in our City Centre and it’s really important to make sure we use that land appropriately”
In reality, the 25-Storey office tower would be slightly taller than the 35-storey residential tower across the street due to differences between residential and office floor heights. Central City 2 is proposed at 382 ft. while the Infinity tower at Concord Park Place is 377 ft. Further, if Central City II were built today, it would be the 3rd tallest building in Surrey after 3 Civic Plaza (538 ft.) and Park Avenue West (393 ft.). This would not be the case for long however, with 3 other towers currently under construction exceeding the height of Central City 2. Once those are completed, Central City 2 would be the 6th tallest in Surrey, yet still at comparable height to others in the top 5.
3 Civic Plaza (538 ft.)
One Central (438 ft.)
Park Boulevard (407 ft.)
King George Hub B1 (404 ft.).
Park Avenue West (393 ft.)
Central City II (382 ft.)
Height aside, the sheer volume of office space to be provided by the building will bring a significant boost to the City Centre, where demand is currently high, and vacancy low. Central City 2 is to contain 567,114sq.ft. of class AAA commercial office space, when currently there is a total of just 1.2 million in the entire City Centre. That’s adding half the current amount of office space in City Centre in a single building. In addition, the building is to contain 16,168 sq.ft. of ground floor retail and restaurant space in its large podium spanning an entire city block. A market analysis commissioned by the developer found the amount of proposed space to be adequate in meeting current demand in City Centre.
More information on the proposal can be found in the planning report below:
The much anticipated ‘Central City II’ office tower will appear before Surrey Council on Monday for 1st & 2nd readings, as part of the first Council meeting since the summer break. Designed by ZGF Architects, the 25-storey (116.5m / 382 ft.) building will be the successor to the iconic Bing Thom designed ‘Central City I’, built in 2003, and bring much needed new office space to Surrey City Centre. Taking design cues from the original tower, while at the same time having its own distinctive architectural expression, the new building will be located just to the south-east of Central City I at the corner of King George Blvd and Old Yale Rd.
In all, the building is proposed to include:
567,114 sq.ft. of AAA Office Space and Fitness Club on levels 2-25
16,168 sq.ft. of ground-oriented retail, restaurant, and cafe space
Landscaped roof terraces on levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24
A new dedication of City Parkway
A new private east-west lane along the north side of the building connecting City Parkway to King George Blvd
Plazas and Separated Bike Lanes surrounding the building along King George Blvd, Old Yale Rd, and City Parkway
In terms of design, the building consists of a 25-storey tower with distinctive rust-toned metal panels, above a stepped podium, transitioning to different floor plates at levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24. The tower maintains a rounded rectangular form above the podium levels, before transitioning to an elliptical shape – similar to ‘Central City I’ at level 21. Above level 25, the vertical fins extend the curtain wall and frame an additional 2 storeys to conceal the rooftop mechanical equipment, and give the building a 27-storey appearance. The fins also provide space for signage, shown in renderings provided by ZGF, with the Central City logo, similar to the original tower. The bulk of the building’s massing is oriented towards King George Blvd and anchored to Old Yale Rd, creating a strong urban street wall and presence. The building tapers down towards the west, with its 4-storey podium extending to City Parkway, and the SkyTrain guideway.
The main entrance to the building will front onto a new public plaza along Old Yale Rd. This plaza will extend around the building on 3 sides, with retail, restaurant, and cafe space spilling out to activate frontages along City Parkway and King George Blvd. The south-west corner of the site at Old Yale Rd and City Parkway has been identified as a location for a future significant public art piece, subject to separate public art plan process.
Replacing the former Best Buy store at the corner of the existing mall parking lot, Central City II represents just phase 1 of a master redevelopment plan for the remainder of the Central City Shopping Centre site. More details of that plan will come through future development applications for subsequent phases. Earlier this year, the mall’s owner Blackwood Partners announced plans for a 1.5 storey addition to the existing parkade along University Drive which is expected to get underway in the coming months. Upon completion, this will allow for the closure of rooftop parking above parts of the existing mall along Old Yale Rd and eventual redevelopment of the site across from Holland Park.
A date has finally been set for the official closure of the North Surrey Recreation Centre to make way for the site’s long anticipated redevelopment. In a notice posted on the recreation centre website, the facility is planned to close in 2 phases beginning with a decommissioning of the ice rinks in early September, and finally a closure of the remaining portions of the building on December 22. Ice rink programming will move to the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, set to open on September 3 near Scott Road Station. Following that in January, Aquatics programs will move to Guildford Recreation Centre, fitness and multi-purpose activities to North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, and preschool programs to Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.
While no timeline has been given for the site’s redevelopment following decommissioning, behind-the-scenes planning work has been underway for years, dating back to 2012. Since then, the City has been working with Simon Fraser University, TransLink, and various architects, planners, and consultants, on a master plan for what is known as the ‘Centre Block’ bounded by Central Avenue to the north, 102 Avenue to the south, University Drive to the west, and City Parkway to the east. Well-positioned adjacent to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station, the site forms a key link between Surrey City Hall / Civic Plaza to the north, and the Central City Complex and beyond to the south.
Back in 2013, Via Architecture prepared a ‘vision’ for what redevelopment could look like in the future. The concept envisioned a numerous mixed-use buildings for the site integrated with a transit-oriented plaza linking City Hall to Central City. The buildings would contain office, university, and retail space. The plan also envisioned:
A new bus layover facility to be located on 133A St behind the new SFU Engineering building.
A removal and re-configuring of the Surrey Central Bus Exchange – replacing the loop with a new street-oriented exchange along a realigned 102A Avenue and Central Avenue. The 2 streets would be integrated with a new Transit Plaza, designed to accommodate high pedestrian and bus passenger volumes.
Since the early Via Architecture vision, a more recent planning process has been underway following a Surrey City Development Corp (SCDC) RFP was filled seeking a new firm to undertake detailed master planning work for the Centre Block site. While no plans have been publicly released yet, what is expected is a major overhaul of Surrey Central Station linked with a new transit-oriented plaza connecting Civic Plaza to Central City, and integrated with over 2 million square feet of new office, university, and retail space. With such a large scale, the plan is expected to be completed in phases, with various puzzle pieces and phasing needing to take place before other phases can begin. The first of those pieces is the decommissioning and demolition of the North Surrey Recreation Centre. The second will be the construction of the new bus layover facility on 133 Street, allowing for removal of the current Bus Loop, and re-alignment of 102A Avenue through it.
With the North Surrey Rec Centre decommissioning now in sight, the pieces are finally coming together to make the Centre Block redevelopment a reality. While the project is likely to take at least a decade to build-out, we could see the start of application activity related to it in the coming year.
For more on the North Surrey Recreation Centre closing: