The GEC Education Mega Centre project reached a milestone on Oct 2, receiving 1st and 2nd readings before Surrey Council. The proposed 55-storey tower, set to become Metro Vancouver’s 2nd tallest, will now proceed to Public Hearing for 3rd Reading (Preliminary Approval) on October 23rd.
From the planning report to council on Oct 2, the proposed development is to consist of a 55-storey tower with a mix of academic, commercial and residential uses at a density of 12.25 FAR. This will include:
- A 6-storey podium with 486 square metres (5,233 sq.ft.) of ground-level commercial retail space, and 5 storeys of college/academic space, including classrooms and offices.
- 33 floors dedicated to fully-furnished “serviced apartments” for students (subject to a housing agreement to ensure student occupancy)
- 12 floors of flexible accommodation that provide “short-stay” (not more than 182 days in a 12-month period) hotel accommodations
As part of this application, a portion of 102A Avenue will be dedicated and constructed, along with widening along City Parkway. A new signalized intersection at City Parkway and 102A Avenue will also be delivered.
Discounting the land to be dedicated for road, the proposed Education Centre has a net density of 18.25 FAR.
The project is being developed under a partnership between Surrey-based developer WestStone Group, and Vancouver-based CIBT Education Group. CIBT Education Group is an education provider that targets primarily international students, and operates Sprott Shaw College, Sprott Shaw Language College, Vancouver International College and CIBT School of Business, amongst others.
CIBT Education Group offers business and management programs and other vocational programs through these schools. Specifically, the Education Centre is intended to offer programs that will integrate with the services and functions proposed in the City’s Innovation Boulevard plans, including in the fields of medical assistance and facility operations.
As part of the proposal, the project will dedicate approximately 7 metres for the widening of City Parkway, which will be required to accommodate the future LRT line and stop, as well as a new sidewalk and a separated bike lane. A new portion of 102A Avenue will also be constructed along the north property line, and a new lane will be constructed through the podium of the building running north-south towards the rear of the site.
The project will feature an outdoor plaza at the northwest corner of the site, where the building is supported by a 4-storey fork column to create an open, bright, publicly accessible open space.
In order to provide articulation in the tower, differentiation has been introduced at the amenity levels by setting the glass back and opening up the floor plate to provide outdoor amenity space. LED lighting will be provided to highlight the undersides of each amenity level in the tower.
A Commercial Retail Unit (CRU) fronts City Parkway and wraps onto the outdoor plaza to bring additional activity into the space. The main lobby fronts 102A Avenue and also wraps onto the outdoor plaza. A second, smaller CRU fronts 102A Avenue.
The podium and tower base will provide a strong urban edge and street wall along City Parkway and 102A Avenue.
For more information on the project: