Surrey Central Station expansion opens

After nearly 2 years of construction, the Surrey Central Station north station house expansion officially opened to the public this weekend. Designed by OMB Architects, the new 2-storey station house is now the largest entrance at the station, fronting directly onto the corner of Central Avenue and City Parkway across from Civic Plaza.

The new station house features a contemporary, open, and airy design consisting of glass, concrete, and wood materials, as well as a prominent new First Nations art installation suspended from the ceiling – ‘The Sea Captain’ by Marianne Nicolson. A new retail unit has also been added to the station next to the entrance fronting Central Avenue, but has yet to be occupied by a tenant.

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New entrance fronting Central Ave
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Corner of Central Ave & City Parkway
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Looking west down Central Avenue
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New entrance on City Parkway
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New entrance with bike racks and benches on City Parkway
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New ticket and fare gate concourse
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Fare gate concourse and art installation

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Escalator to second floor concourse

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2nd floor concourse
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Wayfinding signage on second floor concourse

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Connection to south station entrance
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New platform level stairs, escalator and elevator

This latest upgrade to Surrey Central Station is just the beginning of an even larger expansion and re-configuration to come in the future. The lands immediately west of the station, where the current North Surrey Recreation Centre and Bus Loop sit – known as the ‘Centre Block’ are expected to be redeveloped in the coming decade. With that will come the removal of the suburban-style bus loop and re-positioning of bus bays onto streets surrounding the station. A major overhaul of the station is expected at that time to modernize and better integrate it into its evolving urban context.

Heritage revitalization at 9656 King George passes ADP

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A heritage revitalization project being proposed by Vancouver developer Rize Alliance at 9656 King George Blvd just north of Surrey Memorial Hospital, received unanimous approval by Surrey’s Advisory Design Panel (ADP) on February 14. The project, which must still appear before Council for approvals, is proposing to restore the 1969-built North Surrey Medical Building, while adding a new ‘twin’ commercial podium, and residential tower to the site.

The North Surrey Medical Building is listed in the Surrey City Centre Plan as a ‘Potential Heritage Resource’. If approved, the project will officially add the building to the City’s Heritage Register, and help to preserve and enhance mid-century heritage within the City Centre – a goal of the City Centre Plan.

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Subject Site at 9656 King George Blvd

Aside from the Heritage Revitalization Agreement for the North Surrey Medical Building, the proposal is seeking to Rezone the subject site from CHI to CD, Consolidate 2 lots into 1, and obtain a Development Permit in order to construct 276 residential units and 1486 sq. m. of commercial space. The new commercial space is to occupy a new ‘twin’ 4-storey podium consisting of ground floor retail and 3 floors of office – adjacent to and resembling the original 1960’s building.

Now that the project has passed ADP – it can be expected to appear before Council within the coming months. More renderings and project details can also be expected at that time.

For more on the proposal: https://apps.surrey.ca/Online-Development-Inquiry/?year=18&seq=0276

Excavation begins for Linea

Excavation got underway this week for Rize Alliance’s 28-storey Linea at 104 Avenue and 133 Street. Linea is phase 2 to its predecessor and twin ‘Wave’ which was completed in 2015. Upon completion, both towers will stand at 28-storeys and feature the same signature curved balconies and orange accents.

In addition to the new tower, Linea will also improve the streetscapes along 133 Street and 104 Avenue with new street-oriented townhouses, add a common outdoor amenity area between the 2 towers, and create a new north-south lane to the east of the site. Completion is expected by early 2022.

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Linea site from Wave tower
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Linea site from 133 Street
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Rendering of Linea and Wave
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Ground level Site Plan of Wave and Linea site
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Rooftop Site Plan of Wave and Linea site

The year ahead – Surrey City Centre in 2019

Happy 2019! As we enter the new year, it’s time for this blog to take its annual look what’s ahead for development in Surrey City Centre over the coming year.

2018 in Review

New Construction

A total of 6 new projects began construction in 2018 – representing 5 high-rises (>6 storeys) and 3 low-rises (4-6 storey). These included:

  • Park Boulevard | Condo | 42 Storeys
  • King George Hub (Phase B) | Condo, Office, Retail | 15, 29 + 40 Storeys
  • City Centre 3 | Office, Retail | 10 Storeys
  • La Voda | Condo | 6 Storeys
  • Fraser Landmark | Condo | 6 Storeys
  • Maverick | Condo | 5 Storeys
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Park Boulevard under construction on Whalley Blvd
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King George Hub (Phase B) under construction at King George Blvd & Fraser Hwy

New Development Applications

Aside from new construction underway,  2018 saw a surge in new development applications. Looking back at the past 3 years, the number of new high-rise development applications submitted in 2018 was double that of 2017, and triple that of 2016. Overall, a total of 23 new applications were submitted in City Centre for both high-rise and low-rise development representing 21 high-rises (>6 storeys) and 10 low-rises (4-6 storeys)This is the highest number of development applications submitted in a single year in City Centre’s history, and included:

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Ahead in 2019

With the surge in new development applications in 2018, and many projects making it through the approvals process, 2019 and the next few years could bring record construction in City Centre. As we enter 2019, numerous projects are already in the marketing stage, and could begin construction by the end of the year, assuming market conditions remain favourable.

Potential Construction Starts 2019

  • One Central | Mixed-Use | 44 Storeys
  • Park George | Condo | 35 + 39 Storeys
  • University District (Phase 2) | Mixed-Use | 28 + 37 Storeys
  • King George Hub (Phase C) | Rental | 34 Storeys
  • Avani Centre | Hotel, Condo | 30 Storeys
  • Georgetown (Phase 1) | Mixed-Use | 30 Storeys
  • Linea | Condo | 28 Storeys
  • The Holland | Condo | 25 Storeys
  • Veterans Village (Phase 1) | Mixed-Use | 26 Storeys
  • Centra | Condo | 23 Storeys
  • Camilla Residences | Seniors Housing | 5 Storeys
  • 14008 108 Avenue | Condo | 5 Storeys
  • Parker by Mosaic | Condo | 4 Storeys

Aside from construction starts, the following projects are expected to complete in 2019:

Expected Construction Completions 2019

  • Prime on the Plaza| Mixed-Use | 37 Storeys
  • Evolve | Mixed-Use | 36 Storeys
  • SFU Sustainable Energy + Environmental Engineering Bldg | 5 Storeys
  • HQ by Porte| Condo | 6 Storeys
  • Aspire| Condo | 6 Storeys
  • Surrey Central SkyTrain North Station House
  • West Village Park + District Energy Centre
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Prime on the Plaza under construction at University Dr + Central Ave
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Evolve under construction at 133 St + Central Ave
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SFU Sustainable Energy + Environmental Engineering Building – set to open Fall 2019
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West Village Park + District Energy Centre
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Surrey Central SkyTrain – North Station House

New Development Applications in 2019

If the trend over the past 3 years is any indication, 2019 could be another strong year for development applications in City Centre. Many projects are known to be in the planning stages, but yet to submit applications. Will 2019 see a continued surge in development applications, a levelling off, or a slow down compared to 2018? We shall see over the next 12 months.

For more info on all active development applications in City Centre:

https://urbansurrey.com/surrey-city-centre-active-projects/

Development Application submitted for Central City 2

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Blackwood Partners has submitted a development application for the much anticipated Central City 2 office tower – proposed for the corner of King George Blvd and Old Yale Road on the site of a former Best Buy. The 25-storey tower designed by ZGF Architects is to be built to Class AAA and LEED Platinum standards and contain over 500,000 SF of office space, and 20,000 SF of ground level retail.

The proposed design of the tower has undergone considerable revision since first announced back in November 2017. The tower now features copper / reddish toned shading fins on its exterior, and a refined, more cohesive massing and podium. The tower also features expansive green roof decks, premium fitness facilities for office tenants, bike lockers, electric vehicle charging, high-speed elevators, and a ground level urban plaza, anchored by a restaurant, café, and retail.

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New plaza at corner of Old Yale Road & City Parkway
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Conceptual ground level floor plan
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Office tower views
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Premium fitness facilities for office tower tenants

Following the completion of the original Central City office tower and SFU campus back in 2003, Central City 2 will form the next phase of a long-term vision to redevelop the remainder of the Central City Shopping Centre site. While just conceptual at this point, the long-term plan would see the remaining parking lots to the north redeveloped with mixed-use development and new streets. The mall itself is envisioned to be reconfigured to include a number of new tower sites, and a large new plaza entrance fronting Holland Park on Old Yale Road – mirroring the existing Central City Plaza to the north and creating a connection through the mall linking the city’s civic core to Holland Park.

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Along with the recently submitted development application, Blackwood Partners has also now begun marketing the tower for lease, and will be opening a presentation centre in the Central City Shopping Centre in early 2019. The current leasing brochure can be found here.

Council delays King George rental tower renewal project

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A proposal to revitalize an existing rental tower and create 63 new rental units at King George Blvd & 98th Avenue was stalled by Surrey’s new Council on Monday, after being denied 1st & 2nd readings for not looking satisfactory enough, in Council’s opinion. The application, which is proposing to convert an existing 3-storey commercial building on site to rental residential, and upgrade the exterior of the 18-storey tower behind it, was sent back to staff to work with the applicant on unspecified revisions.

Designed in partnership with MCM Architects and PWL Landscape Architects, the project would bring a welcome facelift to the existing buildings on site, originally completed in 1982, as well as improve the surrounding streetscape. Aside from aesthetic upgrades, the primary objective of the project is to create 63 new rental units on site through the conversion of the existing 3-storey commercial building along King George Blvd. Details of the proposed upgrades include:

  • Modernization and conversion of the existing low-rise commercial building to rental residential. Exterior cladding to be replaced with new materials consisting of high quality white fibre cement panels, and charcoal seam metal cladding.
  • Landscaping along King George Blvd enhanced and modified to suit residential use and layout
  • New plaza at the north-east corner of the site to help activate the streetscape along King George Blvd
  • The existing 18-storey tower to receive new exterior paint and glass balcony rail replacements with colour enhancements.
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Proposed exterior upgrades and residential conversion along King George Blvd
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Elevation of proposal looking north along King George Blvd

Despite the high quality materials proposed, and thoughtfully designed plan which works within the given site constraints, Council was of the opinion that the design was not suitable enough to be allowed to proceed. Without giving any specific recommendations on how to improve the design, the project was sent back to staff to work with the applicant on revisions to the plan, despite staff already working closely with the design team to date. The building’s modernization, and the delivery of new rental units to City Centre is now delayed pending unclear revisions, until the project can return to Council for consideration once again.

The conversion is supported by Surrey Staff as the existing commercial building has long suffered from poor vacancy rates and high tenant turn-over due to physical attributes of the building, and its poor integration with the neighbourhood. The proposed residential use is seen as appropriate for this location, being across from a SkyTrain station and the developing context of the area.

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Proposed site plan including public realm and streetscape enhancements

The Surrey Village Tower currently contains 227 rental units in the existing 18-storey tower, managed by RealStar. The addition of the proposed 63 new units would bring the total rental units to 290.