‘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/

PHOTO UPDATE: SFU Surrey Expansion

SFU’s first phase of expansion in Surrey continues to progress quickly at University Dr and 102 Ave. The building has now reached 2 levels in height north of its future atrium, while a double height first floor and lecture theatre are under construction on its southern portion. To the north behind it, Prime on the Plaza also continues to rise, now at a height of 10 storeys.

SFU’s Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building is the first of a planned 3 phase expansion of the campus on the parking lots surrounding Central City. A residence tower is also planned next to this current phase on the remaining portion of the site framed by the ‘L’ shape of the building, fronting 102 Ave. It is expected that the Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building will be completed as early as spring 2018, and open for classes by fall 2018.

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‘Invest Surrey’ Strategy launches at annual State of the City Address

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Today, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner held the 3rd annual State of the City address at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel. This year the focus of the event was on economic growth and the transformation of the city, as it evolves into Metro Vancouver’s 2nd designated metropolitan centre. As part of the address, the city launched the Invest Surrey initiative, a 10-year economic strategy outlining how the city is positioning itself to attract investment and develop into a robust, diverse, and innovative economic engine within the region.

As part of the address, the Mayor spoke on the rapid change that has been happening in Surrey City Centre over the past few years, and the anticipated acceleration of that growth over the next decade. Five investment themes were identified for the future of the city which include:

  • Entertainment/Lifestyle,
  • Digital and Information, Communications Technology,
  • Smart Cities,
  • Transportation & Logistics, and
  • Research & Development/Innovation

Over the next 10 years, Surrey City Centre is to increasingly become a centre for major employment, services, higher-density housing, commercial, cultural, entertainment and institutional activities, connected to the rest of the region by SkyTrain, LRT, and Frequent Transit Network routes. City Centre will be home to a diverse population, including new immigrants & established residents, young professionals, families & children, youth, and seniors.

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The Mayor highlighted a ‘NEXUS’ program for streamlining transformative development within the City Centre. A number of ‘transformative’ projects were identified as already being part of the program, receiving fast-tracking through the approvals process. These include:

  • SFU’s new Bing Thom Architects designed Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building currently under construction.
  • Lark Group’s Legion Veteran’s Village project at 106 Ave & City Parkway which will include Legion space, veterans and market housing, and a centre for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder research and treatment for veterans and first responders.
  • Concord Pacific’s already approved 42-storey Park Boulevard project. When complete it will be Canada’s first interactive illuminated residential tower, lighting up in sync with the arrival of SkyTrains at King George Station.
  • Anthem Properties’ 2 million sq.ft. City Centre development which is set to transform the current Save-on-Foods/Canadian Tire site at King George Blvd and 102 Ave. The project will bring a new mixed-use neighbourhood to the site, complete with 7 residential towers, commercial, and office space, retail shops, a restaurant row and vibrant urban green spaces.

Also highlighted were the emerging City Centre hubs for Education, Finance, Government, and Innovation. These include Innovation Boulevard, the University District, the Financial District, and the Government Hub:

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Over the next 10 years, these hubs are expected to grow and form synergies between each other, transforming Surrey City Centre into a robust economic engine, and distinct metropolitan centre, attracting people and business from across the region.

Full State of the City Address video: http://www.surrey.ca/city-government/23396.aspx

For more on Invest Surrey visit: https://investsurrey.ca

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https://investsurrey.ca/s/01-Building-the-Next-Metropolitan-Centre-Realizing-Surreys-Economic-Opportunities.pdf

PHOTO UPDATE: Prime on the Plaza

Reliance Properties and MacDonald Development’s Prime on the Plaza is beginning to rise quickly now over University Drive. Over the past month the building’s 4-storey townhouse / retail podium has taken shape, with work on the tower floors now progressing at a rate of about 1 floor per week. With the tower now 7 floors above ground, and 30 floors left to go, it could reach it’s final height by the end of the year, in roughly 30 weeks or 8 months.

To the adjacent south of the project, SFU’s Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building also continues to progress quickly, with that project now 1 floor above ground for much of the site, and work beginning on the 2nd floor.

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