Surrey invited to MIPIM Cannes – world’s leading property exhibition

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The City of Surrey has been invited to participate at this year’s Les Marché International des Professionels de l’immoblier (MIPIM) – taking place March 13-16 in Cannes, France. Surrey is the only Western Canadian city participating at the conference – but will be joined by Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and the Niagara Region who will also have a presence.

MIPIM is one of the largest and most prestigious real estate conferences in the world. It has been the international stage where Toronto’s Waterfront Project and Montreal’s Downtown Arts & Entertainment District have been profiled and attracted investment. It is also where Bing Thom Architects’ won a Special Jury Award in 2004 for the Central City building – as the world’s best overall new development for its architecture and building innovation.

At this year’s MIPIM, Mayor Linda Hepner has been personally invited to speak on behalf of Surrey in a panel discussion on the topic of City as a Service, the New Urban Reality, as well as participate at a number of related events at the conference. Being invited to participate at MIPIM is an indication of Surrey’s emerging recognition as an internationally relevant city for future growth and investment.

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With more than 24,000 real estate investors from over 100 countries in attendance, MIPIM provides a unique platform for promoting Surrey globally as a place to invest, which can help to accelerate the city’s transformation. In addition to Mayor Hepner’s participation at the event, Invest Surrey & Partners will be showcasing Surrey as North America’s ‘Next Metropolitan Centre’ through a presentation centre to be located in the exhibition area of the main venue. Blackwood Partners, the owners of Central City, will also be attending to promote and attract investment in their upcoming ‘Central City 2’ office tower project.

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Invest Surrey & Partner’s presentation centre at MIPIM 2018

For more on Surrey’s invitation to MIPIM:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2018-R023.pdf

Evolve – Photo Update

WestStone Group’s Evolve in West Village has been progressing at a swift pace lately – having now reached a height of 28 storeys. With 7 more levels to go + a 2-storey rooftop amenity before reaching its final height of 37 storeys – the building should be topped out around mid-april. It can be expected to take another 6-8 months following that to reach full completion – putting an occupancy date somewhere near the end of 2018 / early 2019.

Evolve is Phase 4 of WestStone’s 8-phase, master-planned West Village neighbourhood. It will consist of 389 condo units, 13 townhouse units, and a 3-storey commercial building containing ground-level retail with office above.

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Looking north on 133 St
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Looking east from 133 St
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Looking east through a future pedestrian corridor towards Civic Plaza
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Looking south on 133 St
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Looking east along Central Avenue
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Townhouse units along Central Avenue
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North facade of tower
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3-Storey retail/office component on Central Avenue
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Looking south from parkette at Wave
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Looking south – Wave parkette and public art sculpture in foreground
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South side of office/retail building

For more on Evolve:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7912-0325-00.pdf

Dominion Bar + Kitchen and Civic Hotel nearing completion

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The long awaited opening of Civic Hotel may finally be just around the corner. After numerous delays – having originally been set to open back in November – the hotel is finally showing signs that it is nearing completion. This week, fencing came down from in front of the building’s main lobby and Dominion Bar + Kitchen fronting Civic Plaza. In addition, landscaping has been planted next to Dominion’s patio, and a newly opened portion of Central Avenue. Signage for Dominion has also been installed on the awning.

While no official date has been set for opening, according to the Dominion Bar + Kitchen website, the restaurant is tentatively scheduled to host its first event – a comedy show – on April 21, 2018. The Marriott reservations website is now taking bookings for Civic Hotel for dates beginning on March 28, 2018 (although the available booking date has been pushed back in the past).

Despite looking nearing completion, it seems we will still have to wait another month or two before the hotel and restaurant open. Numerous things remain to be finished on the building including a number of additional signs to be installed, the removal of a construction elevator on the condo portion of the building, the completion of Civic Plaza lane on the north side of the building, the construction of Prado Cafe on the north side, and the finishing of numerous retail units along City Parkway. It is clear now that the building will open in phases – with the Hotel and Dominion Bar + Kitchen opening first, retail units along City Parkway likely following later this spring, the Condo tower by summer, and the 5-storey KPU campus this fall.

According to sources working on the project – one reason for the delayed opening of the building has been a water leak, affecting the elevator shaft of the main tower. This has delayed the removal of the exterior construction elevator for several months, as well as the exterior finishing of the north side of the tower, where the future Prado Cafe, and an exterior green wall will be. Rumours on the forum SkyscraperPage this week indicated that the construction elevator may finally be coming down by next week, which would hopefully help wrap up the exterior of the building prior to the hotel’s opening in less than 2 months. Regardless, it seems the building will remain an active construction site (at least on the inside) on the main tower and KPU portion, while the hotel and restaurant open on the other.

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Dominion Bar + Kitchen nearing completion fronting Civic Plaza
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Landscaping along Central Avenue next to the Dominion Bar + Kitchen Patio
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Staircase and entry to Dominion Bar + Kitchen Patio
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New sidewalk along Central Avenue next to Dominion Bar + Kitchen Patio
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Dominion Bar + Kitchen + Civic Hotel Entrance along Civic Plaza Lane
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Daytime shot of Dominion Bar + Kitchen – additional signage for Civic Hotel still to be installed on podium
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Dominion Bar + Kitchen featuring numerous doors/windows which will open to the Plaza
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Civic Hotel Lobby
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Civic Hotel Lobby
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Civic Plaza Lane in front of Hotel Lobby

Hawthorne Park Plan in Perspective

It was misreported this week that hundreds of trees were cut down in Hawthorne Park for light rail transit after drone footage was posted to YouTube showing tree clearing for a new extension of 105A Avenue. The clearing was actually for the 105A Avenue connector project itself – which has been planned for 30 years – and is independent of, and pre-dates the LRT project itself. The new road is however being fast-tracked in advance of LRT, to provide a relief route for traffic once construction begins on 104 Avenue. The road was planned to be constructed regardless of whether LRT, SkyTrain, or no rapid transit was planned at all for 104 Avenue.

In the drone footage and captured images – a large clearing of trees is shown giving the dramatic impression of a clear-cut of the park to make way for the new road (or LRT if you’ve been mislead by headlines). The reality is, this cleared area only represents a small fraction of the park’s vast forested area, and the road itself will only consume a narrow 2-lane wide portion of this, with the remainder to be used for a new aquatic habitat and enhanced environmental area. The cleared area also skirts the edge of undeveloped treed lots to the south – giving the impression of cutting through the middle of the park in this area – when in fact the road runs along the edge of the park.

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Captured image from drone footage showing clearing along southern edge of Hawthorne Park.
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Cleared area in perspective – majority to be used for new aquatic habitat/environmental area. Lands to south are private property outside park designated for future mixed-use.

While the tree clearing for western portions of 105A Avenue does cut more through the park rather than skirt the edge – when put into perspective – this cleared area pales in comparison to the remaining forested lands preserved elsewhere in the park. Further to this – planned expansions of the park, reclaimed green space from relocating the parking lot, and the new aquatic habitat and environmental enhancement area more than offset the impacts of the minor 2-lane collector road that is to be constructed – not to be confused with an arterial road as misreported by the Daily Hive.

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105A connector routing through the southern edge of Hawthorne Park in perspective. Vast majority of park to be preserved, expanded, and enhanced.
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Artist rendering of new 2-lane 105A connector and new aquatic habitat, environmental enhancement area, and future development site south of 105A Avenue outside of Park.
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Artist rendering of new 2-lane 105A connector along edge of Hawthorne Park and new aquatic habitat, environmental enhancement area, and relocated parking lot/reclaimed green space.

The new 2-lane road (planned for 30 years) will not only add much needed east-west capacity to Surrey’s road network between densifying City Centre and Guildford, but also improve accessibility to Hawthorne Park – better integrating it with its evolving urban context, with new gateway features, pathways, and entrances – which will result in more people using and enjoying the park. Today, it remains a largely hidden, underutilized, rural park from a previous era, that is easy to pass by without recognizing it is even there.

It is important to realize, that a road through a park isn’t the end or destruction of Hawthorne Park or a call for protest, particularly when so much value and improvements will be added to offset the impacts. Many world renowned parks have roads through them, and are doing just fine.

Some examples of great parks with roads through them:

  • Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
  • Central Park, New York, USA
  • Tiergarten Park, Berlin, Germany
  • And the list goes on.. and on.

Hawthorne Park will live on, and emerge even better than before.

For more on the 105A Connector and Hawthorne Park Improvements project:

http://www.surrey.ca/city-services/22562.aspx

New renderings released for Whalley District

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New renderings have been released by Adessa Visuals of Tien Sher Group’s upcoming Whalley District near 108th & King George Blvd. The 3-tower project which currently has preliminary approval, is expected to begin on its first phase – a 35-storey condo tower + 6-storey condo low rise with retail at grade – later this year.

Adessa Visuals specializes in creating photo-realistic architectural renderings for projects across Metro Vancouver. These latest renderings help to bring the project to life and visualize the finished product. From the renderings, it is clear to see how transformative of a project this will be for the area of 108th & King George Blvd – which has become notoriously run-down in recent decades. In addition to condos, the project will also bring retail, community arts space, and an outdoor plaza.

This development will add to developer Tien Sher Group growing number of buildings in the area, having already built the 5-storey Quattro buildings across the street on Whalley Blvd, and set to begin on another 5-storey project across from the site at Whalley Blvd & Grosvenor Rd by next year. Whalley District will be phased, starting with the 35-storey tower at the east end of the site, and then working west to complete the 37-storey, and finally 46-storey signature tower. While the first tower could begin later this year and complete by 2021, it is expected the entire development will not be complete until around 2025.

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View looking North
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View looking north on 107A Ave towards proposed plaza on 136A St
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View looking south from King George Blvd
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View looking west from Whalley Blvd & 107A St at first phase of project featuring a 35-storey condo tower and 6-storey condo building with retail at grade.

For more on the project: http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7915-0305-00.pdf

The year ahead: City Centre’s rapid growth to continue in 2018

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With 2018 now upon us, it’s time for this blog’s annual look at the year ahead to forecast what’s in store over the next 12 months for development in Surrey City Centre. While the past few years have been unprecedented for not only construction in City Centre, but also for rising real estate prices and property values, 2018 shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, 2018 could prove to be another record year for construction starts and rising property values, with up to 10 new towers starting, in addition to a number of 5-6 storey projects, new parks, roads, and the Surrey Central Skytrain expansion.

Continued Construction and Expected Completions

Moving into 2018, a number of major construction projects will continue, with many seeing completion. These include:

3 Civic Plaza

City Centre’s landmark 52-storey, 3 Civic Plaza, will finally see completion in 2018, delayed from its anticipated completion date of November 2017. The project which will contain condos, a hotel, retail space, a restaurant, cafe, and a KPU campus will likely open in phases, with the Autograph-Collection Civic Hotel to open first by early spring. Around the same time, we should see the much anticipated Dominion Bar & Kitchen open, as well as Surrey’s first Prado Cafe, and some new retail along City Parkway. By summer, we should see occupancy of the condo tower, and by fall, the opening of KPU’s new City Centre campus for graduate studies.

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Prime on the Plaza

Located across from Civic Plaza at the corner of University Drive and Central Avenue (formerly 103 Ave), Prime on the Plaza topped out at 37-storeys in December 2017, and is set for completion by the end of the year. In addition to condos and street-front townhouses, the building will also bring new retail to University Drive, and open a new section of Central Avenue as well as a new rear lane.

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SFU Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building

Directly next to Prime on the Plaza, SFU’s new Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building is set to open its doors in September 2018. The project which only began construction in late 2016, has seen rapid progress over the past 12 months, which is expected to continue to meet the project’s scheduled completion date for fall 2018 classes. The late Bing Thom designed building has already become a landmark with its unique facade, featuring pre-cast concrete panels in an irregular shaped pattern.

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Evolve

In West Village, Evolve will continue to rise to its final height of 36-storeys in 2018, to become the 2nd tower in the master planned-community being developed by WestStone Group. While initially anticipated for completion in 2018, there is a chance this project could extend into 2019 given its current progress. When complete the project will contain condos as well as a 3-storey office and retail building, which will form the beginning of a new village commercial hub planned for the area around Central Avenue and 133A St.

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West Village Park & District Energy Centre

Across from Evolve at Central Avenue and 133 St, the new West Village Park & District Energy Centre continues its construction which began in 2017. The innovative new District Energy Centre will provide heat and hot water to surrounding buildings through a central facility that is fuelled by renewable energy sources. Surrounding the facility will be the new West Village Park, which has been designed as a new urban park to serve  residents of the rapidly growing and urbanizing West Village neighbourhood.

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City Centre 2

In the emerging Health & Technology District north of Surrey Memorial Hospital, Lark Group’s ‘City Centre 2’ professional building is expected to complete in early 2018. The 12-storey building is the 2nd in a series of up to 8 towers envisioned for the district, focused as a hub for medical, technology, research, and education related office tenants.

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Surrey Central SkyTrain Station expansion

The Surrey Central SkyTrain expansion project began in 2017, and is set for completion sometime in late 2018. The project will bring a new north entrance to the station at the corner of Central Ave and City Parkway directly across from the new Civic Plaza. Designed by omb Architects, the same firm responsible for the recent upgrade of Joyce Station, the new station house will feature a contemporary design with high quality materials and lighting.

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Various 5-6-Storey projects

A number of 5-6-storey projects will continue construction and complete within 2018. These new 5-6-storey buildings are helping to infill and urbanize areas throughout City Centre, and transition density from higher-density towers to lower-density single family neighbourhoods. They also provide for a diverse range of housing in the City Centre.

New Construction Starts

With many major projects wrapping up in 2018, the year ahead will mark the start of a new wave of major construction starts. 2018 could likely see the most towers under construction of any year in Surrey’s history with up to 10 new towers potentially starting this year. These include:

King George Hub

Site clearing for King George Hub began in late 2017, following selling out both of its residential towers in record time in the fall. The project will feature 40 & 29-storey condo towers, a 15-storey office tower, 2-storey stand-alone restaurant, a future LRT station, as well as over 100,000 sq.ft. of retail space integrated with a plaza. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020.

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Park Boulevard

Concord Pacific’s 42-storey Park Boulevard tower featuring a signature lighting feature is expected to break ground in early 2018, with an estimated completion in late 2020. It will complete the Park Place plaza adjacent to King George Station.

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GEC Education Mega Centre

Set to become the 2nd tallest tower in Metro Vancouver after the Shangri-la, the 55-storey GEC Education Mega Centre is expected to start construction in 2018 on the site of the former Stardust Roller rink. The roller rink is currently under a lease extension which expires in January. Demolition and site clearning could begin soon after, likely by spring. When complete the tower will bring 55 floors of student residences, student hotel, college space, office space, and retail.  It is estimated to be completed by 2021.

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Whalley District

Tien Sher Group’s long awaited Whalley District will be a transformative project for the area of 108th Avenue & King George Blvd – the historic heart of Surrey which has become notoriously run-down in recent decades. The 3 tower project ranging from 35-46 storeys is expected to start with a 35-storey tower and 6-storey condo/retail building near Whalley Blvd & 107A Ave this year.

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Veteran’s Village

The Whalley Legion may finally see redevelopment begin in 2018 with the long-awaited Veterans Village project. The 15-storey tower, which has seen major design revisions since initially proposed, is set to house a research, rehabilitation, and care centre for veterans and their families.

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West Village 5 (44-Storey Rental)

Set to become the largest all-rental tower in City Centre, and likely the largest in Metro Vancouver, the yet-to-be-named ‘West Village 5’, will be the 3rd tower in WestStone Group’s master planned community of West Village. Construction could begin in 2018 or early 2019, around the same time that Evolve (West Village 4) wraps up construction.

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Hampton by Hilton Hotel / Condo

Receiving Preliminary Approval in 2017, with project renderings featuring a Hampton by Hilton branded hotel, this project at 98th Avenue and King George Blvd will likely see final approval in 2018, with construction possible later in the year, if not 2019. The striking design of the tower will be welcome infill for the currently vacant lot, and potentially be the 5th tower to start construction in the immediate vicinity of King George Station in 2018.

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City Centre 3

The 3rd tower by Lark Group in the new Health & Technology District will also likely see final approval in 2018. While start of construction is a possibility for later in the year, a 2019 start could be more likely. Similar to City Centre 1 & 2, this latest tower will provide 10-storeys of office space for medical, technology, and education related uses, as well as ground floor retail.

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Various 5-6-Storey projects

In addition to the tower projects starting in 2018, it is expected that the following 5-6 storey projects will also get underway:

Beginning Sales

In addition to projects starting construction in 2018, a number of other major projects are likely to begin sales, given the hot condo market in the area, and its attractiveness in affordability and value compared to Vancouver. These include:

New Announcements

Aside from all the activity of continued construction, anticipated starts, and new sales, 2018 will also certainly include many new project announcements, and more details on existing announcements, as the rapid growth and transformation of City Centre continues.

For a full list and map of all active and future projects underway in City Centre, see the Active Projects Page