Transformative ‘Gateway’ Project proceeds to Public Hearing

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.

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View looking south on King George Blvd from Bolivar Rd
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View looking south along Barker St from Bolivar Rd
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View of interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ from Barker St
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Close-up view of interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ with interactive stormwater feature
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View of Cafe and plaza at corner of King George and Bolivar within Phase 1
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Public realm entry into interior of site from King George Blvd
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View looking north along King George Blvd of landscaped sidewalk and bike path
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Proposed Phasing Plan
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Landscape Site Plan

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.

For more on the application:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0397-00.pdf

New application submitted for mixed-use project at Gateway

A new application (19-0095) has been submitted for a mixed-use project near Gateway Station at 10925 University Drive. According to application details, the applicant is seeking to Rezone and Subdivide the site into 2 new parcels to allow for approximately 500 residential units and 1580m2 (17,000 sq.ft.) of office space within 1 mid-rise and 1 high-rise building.

The subject site is currently made up of 2 existing lots adjacent to the 22-storey ‘Observatory’ condo tower built in 1995. The site was originally intended for a twin of that tower back in the 90’s – similar to the ‘Cornerstone 1 & 2’ towers just to the south – but the project never completed. The site has since sat vacant for over 2 decades now. This new proposal will also include in the site area an existing single family lot fronting 133A Street.

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Subject site – vacant land next to existing condo towers built in 1990’s
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Looking south towards subject site
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Looking north-west towards subject site
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Subject site within City Centre Plan

As per the City Centre Plan, the site is currently designated ‘High-Rise 5.5 FAR (with 20% allowable increase to 6.6 FAR)’. It is located directly across University Drive from the currently in-process application (18-0388) which is proposing a pair of 28 & 30 Storey residential towers.

For more on the application:

https://apps.surrey.ca/Online-Development-Inquiry/?year=19&seq=0095

‘Gateway’ tower proposal receives conditional support of Council

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Proposed ‘Gateway’ tower site on King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd

A controversial proposal for a ‘gateway’ development on King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd at the north end of City Centre received conditional Council support on Monday in concept for its proposed density, but at the same time, was referred back to City staff for further refinement work with the applicant. The developer, an off-shore investor group known as ‘New Great Land Developing’, is proposing to amend both the Official Community Plan (OCP) and City Centre Plan to allow for:

  • One 24-storey residential tower above a 7-storey podium
  • One 24-storey residential tower above a 6-storey podium
  • One 22-storey residential tower above a 6-storey podium
  • Two stand-alone 6-storey residential buildings

The site’s current OCP designation of ‘Multiple Residential’ is proposed to be amended to ‘Central Business District’, while site’s City Centre Plan designation of ‘Residential Low to Mid Rise (2.5 FAR)’ is proposed to be amended to ‘Residential Mid to High Rise (3.5 – 5.5 FAR)’

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Proposed development looking south towards existing City Centre
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Proposed development looking south towards future built-out City Centre

In the Planning Report to Council, City staff gave 3 recommendation options to Council on how to proceed. They included:

Option A:

Refer the application back to staff to work with the applicant to develop the subject site in accordance with the “Low to Mid Rise Residential up to 2.5 FAR” designation in the City Centre Plan.

Option B:

Refer the application back to staff to work with the applicant to develop the subject site with a form of development that achieves a 6-storey form along King George Boulevard, a mid-rise (maximum 10-storey) form in the middle of the site, and a 4-5 storey form adjacent to the existing single family residential lots to the northeast of the subject site.

Option C:

Refer the application back to staff to continue to process the application at the density proposed (4.5 FAR), with the consideration of the provision of a significant amenity contribution above and beyond the required City Centre Amenity Charges and City Centre specific Development Cost Charges, which can be allocated towards amenity needs in the City Centre Plan area.

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Proposed site plan with unique angular floor plates and substantial green roofs

Council gives conditional support for increased density

Despite Staff’s recommendation that Council choose option A, which would comply with the site’s OCP and City Centre Plan designations of ‘Low to Mid Rise Residential up to 2.5 FAR’ – Council voted in-favour of Option C, supporting the applicant’s proposal for amendments to the OCP and City Centre Plan for an increase in density to 4.5 FAR, on the condition of provision of a significant amenity contribution.

A presentation by the applicant’s representative and project architect – Musson Cattell Mackey (MCM) Partnership – argued for the higher density based on the site’s location at the northern ‘Gateway’ to City Centre, proximity to rapid transit, and the fact that 5.5 FAR is already permitted directly to south of the site across King George Blvd. Council agreed that such density would also be appropriate for this site given this context, and would help form a gateway straddling both sides of King George Blvd.

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Subject Site at the north end of the City Centre Plan area (Orange = Low to Mid Rise, Purple = High Rise)

Despite the unique design of the towers as proposed, another condition of Council was that the project undergo further design revision to achieve an even more iconic look, suitable for a ‘gateway’ location, if the increase in density is to be allowed. When the project returns to Council at a later date, its possible that we could see a new design all together, or a just a refinement of what is currently proposed.

For more on the proposal:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0397-00.pdf

5-Storey condo project at Grosvenor Road & Whalley Blvd heads to Council

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A 5-storey condo building proposed for the corner of Grosvenor Road and Whalley Blvd received 1st & 2nd readings at Council Monday night. The project, which was first announced back in April 2017, and is being developed by Tien Sher, will become the developer’s 6th building in the area, after Quattro 1, 2, 3, Balance, and the now under construction Venue. Tien sher’s other major project in the area Whalley District, was recently approved back in June, and should begin construction on its first phase in 2018.

This latest building to be added to Tien Sher’s portfolio in the area will further help to transition the neighbourhood into an up and coming urban district close to Gateway Station. From the planning report to Council, the project is to consist of:

  • 125 Units consisting of 1-bedroom/flex, 2-bedroom/flex, and 3-bedroom apartments

Ground-oriented units are proposed to be oriented toward the street with their own front door, entry gates, and semi-private outdoor space, which will help to urbanize the streetscape that the building fronts. The project is expected to be completed by late 2019.

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Project site within City Centre Plan

For more on the project:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0110-00.pdf

‘Whalley District’ aims to revitalize gateway to City Centre

Developer Tien Sher Group held a packed Town Hall meeting today to present their vision and plans for a revitalized Whalley. Dubbed ‘Whalley District’, the plan is for a development consisting of 3 high-rise condo towers and 1 low-rise condo building over a mix of commercial, retail, community, and plaza space on the south-east corner of 108 Ave and King George Blvd in the historic heart of Whalley. Tien Sher has already developed the neighbouring ‘Quatto’ project at Whalley Blvd and 108 Ave, along with ‘Balance’ on Grosvenor Rd, and the currently under construction ‘Venue’. 

While news of the development is not new, having been under application since 2015, what is new is their now announced plans to partner with a local arts group to bring a significant arts component to the project as a means to revitalize and bring culture to the Whalley area. It is expected that community space will be provided in the development for the non-profit arts group and their programming.

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At the meeting, Tien Sher presented their plans for the introduction of a pedestrian-only street through the centre of the development dubbed the ‘Flamingo Block’ on what would be future 136A St. The Flamingo name comes from the long-standing Flamingo Hotel which has been on the site since the 1950’s, but will be torn down to make way for the development. At present, the City of Surrey wishes to see this as a future road open to traffic, however Tien Sher is leading a petition to build it as a pedestrian-only street where public art, cultural programming, and gathering could take place. This would compliment an additional proposed plaza/park on the corner of 108 & King George, also to be build as part of the development.

The project, which is expected to appear before council for preliminary approvals and public hearing before summer, is to be built in phases beginning with a 6-storey condo building with retail below along Whalley Blvd at the east end of the site. This will then be followed by phases 2-4 consisting of a 35-storey, 37-storey, and lastly a 46-storey condo tower(s) above commercial, retail, and arts/community space. It is expected that the first phase of the project will break ground by Spring 2018.

In the meantime, the arts group is looking to engage arts initiatives around the City Centre right away, and is seeking anyone who would like to become involved. Ideas for arts initiatives that can be introduced in the City Centre are wide ranging, from murals, public art, beatification projects, community groups, activities, and more.

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For more information on Whalley District, to get involved, and to sign their arts & culture petition, visit: http://whalleydistrict.com

For more information and to get involved with the Flamingo Square Arts Connection, join their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Flamingo-Square-Arts-Connection-754586634722551/

Tien Sher submits application for new 5-Storey residential development

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A new development application has been submitted by Tien Sher Group for a 5-storey 122 unit condo building at 13660 Grosvenor Rd on the corner of Whalley Blvd. This application adds to Tien Sher’s growing presence in the neighbourhood, having already developed the 4-6 storey Quattro development at 108th & Whalley Blvd, the 4-storey Balance development on Grosvenor Rd, and the 5-storey, under-construction Venue development on 108th Avenue. Tien Sher also has under application their landmark 41, 35, 30, and 28-storey mixed-use development on the south-east corner of 108th & King George Blvd, which is expected to proceed in phases over the next decade.

At this time, there are no further details on the latest 5-storey development, but it appears based on the application that the building is being proposed as entirely residential with no retail component. Tien Sher’s previous Quattro development a block away provides a precedent as to the built form this project is likely to take. Given the project’s location, it is possible that the City will request that ground-level retail be included along Whalley Blvd similar to Quattro. It would make sense in this location, given the site’s proximity to 108th and King George, and existing commercial land-use directly across the street.

As proposed, this project will continue the 5-6 storey street wall established along Whalley Blvd by Quattro to the south, and add to the densification of the area in the vicinity of Gateway Station. The site is designated low-mid rise 2.5 FAR under the City Centre Plan.

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Site of proposed 5-Storey development at Grosvenor Rd & Whalley Blvd

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Tien Sher’s Quatto Development at 108th & Whalley Blvd

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Overview of Tien Sher development projects in the vicinity

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Tien Sher’s proposed 41, 35, 30 & 28-Storey mixed-use development currently under application at 108th & King George.

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Subject Site in relation to other Tien Sher projects in area.