Weekly Buzz: Mixed-use redevelopments

Western Canada's top commercial real estate stories, featuring coverage on new developments in Vancouver, Victoria and Ladner

Western Investor
May 24, 2019

Adrian Lam, Times Colonist


The week’s top stories focus on redevelopment news from Vancouver to Ladner and over onto the island. Most of the redevelopments include mixed-use components. A development in Ladner and one in Mount Pleasant are drawing mixed reactions and debates on heritage status, while a Vancouver development is set to become to first Passive House residential highrise in the city.

Here is Western Investor’s pick of the most buzzworthy commercial real estate stories.


Two-tower residential project heads to Development Permit Board – Vancouver Courier

The Alberni Street project is seeking to become the first residential Passive House highrise in Vancouver.

The plan to build two residential towers — one 43 and the other 48 storeys — connected by six-storey podium on Alberni Street goes before the City of Vancouver Development Permit Board May 27.

Landa Global Properties and Asia Standard Americas are behind the project, which was designed by architecture firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership (MCM).

The buildings will sit on Alberni Street between Broughton and Nicola streets in Vancouver's West End.

The development features 580 units, including 129 replacement rental units with 10 per cent secured at below-market rental rates, as well as a 56-space daycare on the seventh floor.

Rezoning for the site was approved on Sept. 18, 2018. The development permit application was submitted Dec. 21. The Urban Design Panel reviewed the application on April 3, 2019, supporting it with recommendations.

The project is seeking to become the first residential Passive House highrise in Vancouver.

Mark Thompson of MCM said one of the primary goals of the development was to create a residential feel and character.

“The last thirty years of construction in Vancouver has witnessed the rise of a thicket of glass towers. However, it is important to remember that for 100 years before then, almost all buildings, including residential buildings, in Vancouver were masonry structures with ‘punched’ windows,” Thompson wrote in a design brief for the development application.

[Vancouver Courier]


Ladner Village redevelopment gets another extension – Delta Optimist

Delta council recently granted another six-month extension to the current owner of heritage building in Ladner.

It’s going to take a while longer before the old Billie’s Barbershop building in Ladner Village is replaced with a multi-storey structure.

Delta council recently granted another six-month extension to the current owner of the heritage building and adjacent empty lot to fulfill the requirements for final redevelopment approval.

It’s been two years since council gave conditional approval following a public hearing to a rezoning application for a new two-and-a-half-storey mixed-use building in the 4800-block of Delta Street.

A staff report notes that according to the applicant, additional time is needed to allow the current owners to find a suitable local development partner to assist in the project.

“The project is still on track to retain the approved design, but with the slowing economy, finding a local partner who will value the significance of investing on Delta Street will still take a bit of effort,” a letter from architect Wesley Wollin notes.

One of the small, narrow lots where the new structure would be constructed is currently occupied by the heritage building that until most recently had been home to the barber shop.

The building at 4868 Delta St. is on Delta’s heritage inventory but is unnamed, simply listed as a commercial building circa 1918.

There are significant heritage buildings on the street, including the former McCrea’s Pool Hall and former municipal hall, but the little retail building that had many businesses operating out of it over the decades wasn’t targeted for preservation.

The new building would have 3,714 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 6,846 square feet of residential area on the upper floors. The residential area would consist of four two-bedroom plus den units.

[Delta Optimist]


Redevelopment raises discussion about lack of industrial space and meaning of 'heritage' – Vancouver Courier

A Proposed Mount Pleasant project would save heritage buildings but displace tenants, bottle return depot.

The dearth of industrial space in Mount Pleasant and whether “heritage” includes both buildings and people were among issues touched on at a public hearing last week involving a development proposal for a site on Carolina Street at East Broadway.

But the May 14 hearing wasn’t to approve or reject the project — that's up to the Director of Planning — it revolved around whether to add The Carolina, a historic building that was constructed in 1926, to the Vancouver Heritage Register (VHR) in the “B” evaluation category and to designate its exterior as protected heritage property. (The Director of Planning couldn't make a decision until the heritage designation was addressed.)

The city received eight pieces of correspondence in support of the proposal and nine against.

Under current zoning, The Carolina could be knocked down and the site redeveloped without council approval with a floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.0.

Rather than do that, Port Living’s development permit application, which was endorsed by both the Vancouver Heritage Commission and the Urban Design Panel, proposes a mixed-use development with a 10 per cent increase in the overall floor area in return for designating and retaining the heritage building. The cost to the applicant of the proposed on-site heritage conservation is estimated at $954,352, according to a city report.

If the Director of Planning approves the project, it would result in a six-storey building with 65 condo units, retail and artist space at grade level, and the retention of The Carolina. An existing two-storey, single-family heritage home from 1895 on the site — the Connacher Residence on East Broadway, which is on the VHR as a “B” listing  — would also be relocated to the rear of the property.

Council voted in favour of granting The Carolina heritage protection at the May 14 hearing, with only COPE Coun. Jean Swanson in opposition.

The decision came after council heard from several speakers including a renter living in the Connacher Residence for 15 years who will be forced out due to the redevelopment, as well as the owner of the recycling centre on the site whose business will have to relocate.

It’s their predicaments that produced the bulk of the discussion.

Andrew Lee, the owner of the Return-it Depot, told council his low-income clients depend on the service to collect refunds to help them get by, some of his staff are low income and need the work, and there will be environmental consequences if he has to shut down.

He’d been told he would need to be out by August, but he hasn’t been able to find another industrial space in the neighbourhood — he needs between 2,500 and 5,000 square feet to accommodate sorting and storage areas. He’s considered moving into retail space, but that would require a change of use, which he was warned could cost him between $200,000 and $300,000 for requirements such as new sprinklers, an impossible amount of money for a small business owner.

“For over a year, I’ve been struggling, not being able to sleep, trying to find any industrial space that might be available,” he said.

[Vancouver Courier]


Victoria considers making green spaces no-build zones; could nix pool plan – Times Colonist

City council is trying to figure out where to build a replacement facility for Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre.

Victoria might have to abandon the idea of building a new Crystal Pool on Central Middle School grounds if a motion proposed by councillors Marianne Alto and Sharmarke Dubow passes today.

The motion proposes a number of criteria for locating new city facilities — like the pool — including that they not be built on existing green space.

Victoria has been looking to find a site for a new pool complex since council abandoned the idea of building it in Central Park adjacent to the existing pool.

Concerns from neighbours about loss of greenspace and potential parking impacts prompted council to talk to RG Properties about locating the new pool on the Save On Foods Memorial Centre parking lot.

Unable to reach a deal, city staff were directed to explore other options for a pool location that might include complementary uses such as affordable housing, green space, childcare and parking.

That resulted in a proposal to put the new pool on the playing field west of Central Middle School — an option Mayor Lisa Helps called exciting, especially with the potential for shared use with the school district.

But conversations with neighbourhood groups have resulted in “a consistent message sent to city council that existing parks shouldn’t be reduced by building any type of facilities inside the parks,” Alto said. “I’m not sure that all of council is going to agree with that,” she said.

Her motion calls on council to hear from the North Park Neighbourhood Association at its June 6 committee of the whole meeting and refer consideration of the pool site to a future meeting, to be determined by council.

[Times Colonist]

Copyright © Western Investor

Email to a Friend

Most Popular
Get the WesternInvestor.com Newsletter