‘Central City 2’ mixed-use AAA office tower announced at Invest Surrey keynote event

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Invest Surrey held an inaugural launchpad event today at Surrey City Hall hosted by Mayor Linda Hepner, featuring a number of speakers and panelists, discussing the future of Surrey and investment opportunities in the rapidly growing and changing city. The event was structured around a number of topics throughout the course of the day on the keynote theme ‘Transformation 2.0’ covering:

  • Entertainment & Lifestyle
  • Digital Information & Communication Technology
  • Research & Development/Innovation
  • Industrial, Transportation, & Logistics
  • Housing Diversity

‘Central City 2’ Announced

At the event, a few major announcements were made, including an announcement by Blackwood Partners, owners of the Central City office, shopping centre, and university complex, that they will be moving forward with a successor tower named ‘Central City 2’.

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While few details have been released so far, what is known is that the tower is proposed as a AAA mixed-use office tower at the corner of King George Blvd & Old Yale Rd on the site of what is currently a former Best Buy. The tower is situated directly across from Holland Park as well as King George Skytrain Station to the south. A rendering released at the event shows a oval shaped tower similar to the original Central City tower, fit within a more rectangular outer shell. There is also a large curved podium and generous plaza space meeting the intersection and extending underneath the podium

According to the City Centre Plan, the tower will occupy an entire new block, with a new lane proposed to the north of the building. This proposal sets the stage for the redevelopment of the remaining parking lot along King George Blvd into similar sized blocks, perhaps with a ‘Central City 3’ tower to follow at 102 & King George Blvd in the future.

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‘Central City 2’ site within City Centre Plan

It’s unclear at this time who Blackwood Partners is working with as an Architect, or partnering developer, or how soon this proposal could get moving. As of now, no application has yet to appear on Surrey’s COSMOS mapping information system. The project also has yet to appear before Surrey’s Advisory Design Panel (ADP), meaning the design pictured in the rendering could still undergo revision.

Upon submission of an application, it could likely take up to 2 years before we see construction begin, and another 2-3 years to build. The project could perhaps move faster if fast tracked under Surrey’s Nexus program, but likely completion won’t be until the early 2020’s.

New Art Gallery Announced

In addition to the ‘Central City 2’ office tower announcement, it was also announced that the Surrey Art Gallery will be relocating to Surrey City Centre as a new ‘Interactive Art Museum’ slated to become the largest of its kind in Canada.

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More details on both the ‘Central City 2’ tower and new Interactive Art Gallery as they come.

For more on Invest Surrey’s event today:

https://investsurrey.ca/launchpad

3D VR Render released of Innovation Boulevard – Health & Technology District

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A 360 VR rendering has been released by Vancouver-based VR/AR company Stambol Studios, which specializes in creating “hyperrealistic immersive experiences”. According to their website, Stambol also has an office in the very Health & Technology District featured in the 360 VR rendering.

In the 360 VR rendering which can be found here, a glimpse is given into the future of the emerging Health & Technology District at the south end of City Centre near 96th Avenue and 137 St. The hyperrealistic rendering shows the existing City Centre 1, and currently under construction City Centre 2 buildings, along with the recently approved City Centre 3 – all by the developer Lark Group.

The rendering also provides a first glimpse at a future phase of the district, presumably City Centre 4 & 5, shown north of City Centre 2 along 137 St. These towers appear to be taller than their predecessors, and also have a shared podium, suggesting they would be built as a single phase. Lark Group was quoted in a Business in Vancouver article back in March, to have plans for up to 8 towers in the district, which spans from Surrey Memorial Hospital north to Fraser Hwy.

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Looking north on 137 St from City Centre 3 towards City Centre 1, 2 and future phase.
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Future Health & Technology District phase to north of City Centre 2
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Future Health & Technology District phase to north of City Centre 2
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View looking north from 96th Ave & 137th St towards City Centre 3

https://www.stambol.com/webvr-360/health-tech-district/

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

Development Application submitted for Veterans Village Tower

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According to an article published this week in the Surrey Now-Leader, a development application has finally been submitted for the much anticipated Veterans Village project on the site of the Whalley Legion at 13525 106 Ave. First announced back in 2015 as a 2-tower project resembling the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, the project has since gone through 2 major design revisions to become what is now a much less ambitious single-tower project.

The new design by Wensley Architecture still incorporates reference to the Vimy Memorial, but has been significantly scaled-back from the previous 2-tower concept. The proposal now more closely resembles the City Centre I & II towers by the same developer and architect near Surrey Memorial Hospital. The tower is intended to serve as a facility where veterans, soldiers and emergency first-responders will be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health-related concerns. It will also include a research and rehabilitation centre, as well as temporary housings for patients and their families, a healing garden and new legion lounge.

 

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Original concept for Veterans Village from Fall 2015

Aside from the design of the building itself, the project will be transformative for the area it is located within. Situated on 106 Ave between City Parkway and 135A St, the project is adjacent to the infamous 135A Strip to the east, with its homelessness and drug problems. To the west however is Tom Binnie Park, the BC Lions Training Facility. In response to this interface, the building is proposed to face west and front onto City Parkway, with its back and a temporary parking lot to face the east side of the site along 135A St until homeless problems can be addressed. The City of Surrey currently has a number of initiatives underway to address the problem on 135A, which includes new shelters and interim housing for this population elsewhere in the city.

As per the City Centre Plan for the area, a new east-west road (106A Ave) is proposed to be dedicated along the north side of the project, and shown in project renderings. This would result in the building site being surrounded by roads on all 4 sides. The project’s City Parkway frontage will further develop this key urban street running north-south through City Centre connecting Gateway to Surrey Central.

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Site of proposed Veterans Village within City Centre Plan

According to the Surrey-Now Leader article, the project is expected to be fast-tracked through the City approvals process under the newly implemented ‘Nexus’ program, and appear before Council by February. If all goes well, the project could break ground as early as Spring 2018.