PHOTO SERIES: Civic Plaza Festive Lights

The official lighting of Surrey’s Christmas Tree was held back on November 19th as part of the city’s 6th annual Tree Lighting Festival. Since then, the 55 foot tree along with other festive lighting has lit up the plaza, in what is one of the best Christmas Tree displays to be found anywhere, and arguably the best in the Metro Vancouver area. The tree itself is billed as BC’s tallest Christmas Tree, and is a must see for anyone that hasn’t yet in person.





2nd Crane added at SFU Surrey Expansion

Over the past weekend a 2nd tower crane was added at the SFU Surrey expansion project, bringing the total number of cranes in the immediate vicinity to 5, and the total number in City Centre to 8. While the building under construction will only be 5 storeys in height, its large footprint and accelerated construction schedule are both likely reasonings for the addition of a 2nd crane. It is also worth noting that the building will be higher than a typical 5 storey building, with a planned height of 35m (115′) according to a Surrey Planning Report. For comparison, this is closer in height to a 9 or 10 storey condominium building.

This newest crane adds to the growing number of cranes in Surrey’s rapidly changing skyline. The number of cranes currently up is unprecedented in the city’s history, and a visible sign that development within City Centre is now accelerating. Given the large number of development applications already underway for future towers, the sight of cranes across Surrey’s skyline will likely only continue to grow in the coming years.




Veterans Village gets a Re-Design

Further to news earlier this month on the moving forward of the Veterans Village Project, on the site of the Whalley Legion, more details were released late last week showing a major re-design of the project.

The previous concept prepared by Michael Green Architecture for a twin-tower development has since been replaced by a single, ‘stepped’ tower concept over what appears to be a 2-storey podium. In addition, a large portion of the site is shown to be dedicated as an open plaza/park space, forming what would be Surrey’s equivalent to Victory Square in Downtown Vancouver. The proposed plaza would provide a new space for Remembrance Day ceremonies in Surrey and serve as a permanent memorial space.

Despite the reduced scope of the project from a twin tower concept to a single tower, the project continues to take design inspiration from the twin tower Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. As depicted in the concept, the tower features 2 red decorative beams running up the height of the tower, reminiscent of the memorial. Still no confirmation on height, however a Surrey Now article mentions a height of between 16-28 storeys.

While no application has yet been submitted on the project, the developer Lark Group, hopes to begin site preparation and construction by as early as Spring 2017. The project is said to still be seeking funding sources, some of which could come through Federal Infrastructure funding, currently being lobbied for.


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Government Funding Announced for SFU Surrey Expansion

The much anticipated government funding for the SFU Surrey expansion was finally announced today at a much-publicized event on the Surrey campus. At the event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Christy Clark announced Federal and Provincial funding in the amount of $45 million each to the project. This funding will go towards the already underway first phase of a 3-phase expansion of the campus, with an additional $26 million from SFU and donors to fund future phases 2 and 3 on the remaining recreation centre surface parking lots.

While today’s announcement was news to many, UrbanSurrey first reported on the SFU expansion back in early June 2016 after a development application was submitted by SFU on the subject site at University Drive and 102 Avenue. Since then, today’s announcement has revealed that the new building is on track to open in Spring 2018, and that it will house the proposed Energy Systems and Environmental Engineering Program – an interdisciplinary engineering stream that will support the clean tech and sustainable energy sector.

New renderings were also released today, similar to those posted by UrbanSurrey back in July. The Bing Thom designed building will be a great addition to the City Centre as part of a rapidly changing University Drive.




Crane Installation at SFU Surrey Expansion

The fast moving SFU Surrey expansion project, which began excavation just 2 months ago, has now installed its crane. The 5-storey, Bing Thom Architects designed Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building project is proceeding at a rampant pace to meet an April 2018 deadline for substantial completion. As of now, the north end of the site adjacent to the under construction Prime development is nearly completely dug, with just the south end remaining to be dug before construction can commence on the underground levels of the building.

Today’s installation adds to the growing number of cranes in Surrey City Centre, which now has a total of 7 cranes, with 1 more likely on the way within the next month. The presence of this many cranes represents the largest construction boom ever experienced in the City Centre, and a sign that momentum is picking up for development in the area. The next 5-10 years are likely to bring more transformation to the area than its seen in its entire history.




Whalley Legion Twin Tower ‘Veterans Village’ project moves forward

Initially announced back in the Fall 0f 2015, the Whalley Legion Veterans Village project took a major step forward today, announcing a partnership with Surrey-based developer Lark Group, to develop twin towers on the site of the existing Whalley Legion at 13525 106 Ave.

As per the news release, the twin tower project of unspecified height will be a multi-purpose facility and a centre of excellence in clinical and rehabilitation services for Veterans and first responders. It will offer a mixture of social and affordable housing, assisted living, a therapeutic centre, community gardens, research centre, and space for the delivery of health care programs and services.

The news release states that the next step in the process is to work with Lark Group to finalize the scope of the project, and it is expected that site preparations and construction could be underway by spring 2017. This timeline seems ambitious given there has yet to be a development application submitted for the project, and given the time necessary to move the application through the approvals process. With Lark Group as the partnering developer however, the project is now very likely to move forward, given Lark Group’s experience in developing large projects in Surrey, most notably the City Centre 1 and City Centre 2 office towers adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Aside from being a major redevelopment of the Whalley Legion itself, the iconic twin tower concept for the project designed by Michael Green Architecture could be a catalyst for rejuvenation of the area between 104th Avenue and 108th Avenue. The project is located directly adjacent to Surrey’s notorious 135A “Strip”. So far not many details have been released on the towers themselves, only that the design is conceptual, and that it will be greater than 20 storeys in height. When complete, the facility will be the first of its kind in Canada.




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