Mason Link Development has released a rendering of one of their upcoming projects in City Centre at 133A St & Central Avenue (future). The tower, which is not yet under application (but should be soon), is to be located just behind the new SFU building, replacing some of the last remaining single family homes in the area, and closing the last remaining portion of former 103 Avenue.
In the rendering released, a 26-storey tower is depicted above a townhouse podium fronting 133A St. At the north end of the site, there will be some dedication for the new alignment of Central Avenue. This corner is designated for mixed-use under the City Centre Plan – so retail is possible on the Central Avenue frontage. To the south of the site, there are plans for a covered bus layover facility – which when complete – will allow for the removal of the Surrey Central Bus Loop and re-development of the ‘Central Block’ where the Rec Centre and Bus Loop currently sit. To the east of the site is the currently under construction Prime on the Plaza, and new north-south green lane.
While an application has yet to be submitted, the subject site has been fenced off for a number of months now, with Mason Link signage posted. If an application is submitted within the next year, sales / construction can be expected to commence sometime in the early 2020’s.
Since my last post on the differences between the proposed LRT and SkyTrain generated much discussion – I felt it would be good to highlight in more detail – the key land-use, route, and scope differences between the 2 routes, and why SkyTrain down Fraser Highway – makes no rational sense from a land-use or planning perspective.
LRT (Phase 1)
The proposed LRT route along 104 Avenue and King George Blvd serves Surrey’s City Centre, 2 largest Town Centres, and 2 most urban corridors, designated to handle the bulk of Surrey’s urban growth and revitalization over the next few decades. The 104 Avenue and King George Corridors contain numerous major trip-generating destinations which include:
Surrey City Centre – would be served by 4 LRT stations
Guildford Town Centre – Largest Town Centre in Surrey with existing high-rise residential, hotels, offices.
Guildford Shopping Centre – 3rd largest shopping centre in Metro Vancouver
Guildford – 104 Avenue Corridor Plan – Currently underway land-use plan which will direct increased density, growth, and revitalization along this key corridor linking City Centre and Guildford – would be served by 4 LRT stations.
Surrey Memorial Hospital – As well as the emerging Health & Technology District surrounding it would be served by 96th Avenue Station
Bear Creek Park / Surrey Art Gallery – and surrounding area would be served by 88th Avenue Station
Newton Industrial Area – Large employment area consisting of light industrial, business parks, commercial – would be served by 2 LRT stations.
In addition LRT would create 2 vibrant multi-modal transfer hub stations at Surrey Central and King George – integrated into new urban plazas.
SkyTrain (Phase 1?)
While it is unclear how far down Fraser Hwy SkyTrain could be extended given current funding, an extension to Langley is unlikely within the 1.65 Billion approved budget. As such, the Fraser Highway SkyTrain line would have to be phased, with Phase 1 likely going as far as Fleetwood, and future extension to Langley at a later undermined date (by 2030?). Such a SkyTrain extension down Fraser Highway makes absolutely no rational sense from a land-use or planning perspective. Fleetwood is Surrey’s smallest Town Centre, with no plans for any significant increases in density or growth. Fraser Highway is also a very low density, predominantly single family / strip mall corridor with few trip-generating destinations along the route. The only nodes of significance are:
Fleetwood Town Centre – Smallest of Surrey’s Town Centres. The current Fleetwood Town Centre Plan designates this area for modest urban growth, consisting of townhouses, village like commercial, and some 4-6 storey apartments.
RCMP E-Division / Jim Pattison Outpatient – The only major destinations along this route would be at the 140th & Fraser Hwy station (assuming a station is proposed at this location)
152 & Fraser Hwy Commercial Area – Currently a low-density strip mall area with no current land-use plans underway for revitalization. A land-use plan to change the density in this area would be necessary given the introduction of rapid transit to the area. This would present a major change to the Surrey OCP and where future density/growth directed to in Surrey.
In addition, a Fraser HighwaySkyTrain extension would lack any vibrant multi-modal transfer hub stations centered on plazas. A missed opportunity for city building / urban revitalization.
LRT is scheduled to begin construction in 2019 with the 10.5km Phase 1 completed by 2024.
SkyTrain would need to start from scratch in 2019, beginning with at least 2 years of design, planning, consultation. New land-use plans would have to be initiated along the route – as land-use must be planned in cohesion with rapid transit. A 5.5 km Phase 1 extension of SkyTrain to Fleetwood could likely be completed by 2026.
By 2030 – assuming a second round of funding is made available – there are 2 possible scenarios for rapid transit in Surrey:
Scenario 2 would see 15.5km of rapid transit built serving only the Fraser Highway corridor to Langley. Guildford and Newton – Surrey’s 2 largest and most urban centre’s would have no rapid transit. While Doug McCallum does mention a future SkyTrain extension down King George Highway to Newton – this is unlikely until the Langley extension is complete – so post 2030.
Best way to spend $1.65 Billion?
Each of these scenarios costs the same $1.65 Billion price tag.
Which option do you think provides more value to Surrey?
Which option will result in the most rapid transit for Surrey by 2030?
Which option will best integrate with the neighbourhoods it passes through, create a sense of place, and be a catalyst for vibrant communities? Rather than just a means of by-passing Surrey to get somewhere else.
Which communities should be prioritized for rapid transit?
BlueSky Properties held a public sales launch event yesterday for the upcoming Phase 2 of University District. While the project is to include 2 towers above townhouses along University Drive between 104 Ave and 105 Ave, sales have so far only been opened for the shorter 28-storey north tower. It is expected that once that tower sells out, sales will then open for the taller 37-storey south tower.
Of the 322 homes released for sale in the north tower, it appears that most 1-bedroom units have already been sold out as of the public launch date – with prospective buyers asked to inquire with the sales team about availability. What remains are:
Junior 2-bedrooms (646 – 732 SF) priced from $569,900
2-bedrooms (764 – 850 SF) priced from $609,900
Townhomes (1249 – 1636 SF) priced from $799,900
If you’re looking for a 1 bedroom, you may have to wait for the launch of tower 2.
Expected to be complete by end of 2022, the 28-storey north tower will feature air conditioning in all units, 4 elevators, enhanced bike storage facilities, and more. While it isn’t clear whether the south tower will be constructed and completed within the same time frame (pending sales), it appears the commercial / amenity building at 104 Avenue and University Drive would be. In addition to retail at ground level, this building will feature a fitness centre for residents, outdoor rooftop pool, bbq and dining terrace, lounge and entertainment areas, and more.
Aoyuan Canada has launched a registration page for their upcoming 44-storey condo project at Central Ave & 133A St in West Village. Previously dubbed ‘West Village 5‘ – the tower is the 5th phase of the master planned ‘West Village’ neighbourhood being developed by Weststone Group. The tower was initially proposed as an all rental building back in 2017, but later switched to market housing after being taken over by Aoyuan in 2018.
According to the One Central website, the tower will include 550 units, and is expected to be completed by 2022. The project will also feature ground level retail space.
Bosa Properties has submitted an application for their next phase of University District, to be located on the former Brick / Sears outlet site just north of the Safeway near 104 Avenue and City Parkway. This next phase is to follow Phase 2, known as ‘Blue Sky‘ which is currently in pre-sales and expected to begin construction in 2019.
Details of the new application indicate that the project is proposing 1,134 residential units and 104,300 SF of commercial space. This is likely to translate into up to 4 residential towers above podiums and significant commercial / retail space.
The site, which includes 2 properties – 13583 104 Ave & 13550 105 Ave spans an entire block, with frontages on 104 Ave, 105 Ave and City Parkway. The site also spans 2 designations under the City Centre Plan – with the south portion of the site designated for Mixed-Use/High-Rise (5.5 FAR), and the north portion designated for Mixed-Use/High-Rise (3.5 FAR). The City Centre Plan allows for density bonuses of 20%, meaning the project FAR will likely be proposed higher than what is designated.
The subject site is a key location in City Centre, in the civic core, just to the north of City Hall and Civic Plaza. Well-fitted to a project at this high profile location, the applicant on the file is Perkins + Will, a renowned international architecture and urban design firm with an office in Vancouver.
In development of the site, the project will also dedicate and construct a new urban ‘green lane’ running east-west across the site, as well as re-align the intersection of 104 Avenue and City Parkway. This will result in a continuous City Parkway between Surrey Central and Gateway – and help bridge the gap between these 2 areas of City Centre.
PCI Developments is moving ahead with the next phase of its master-planned King George Hub development at King George Station. Following the success of ‘Phase B’ which is currently under construction, ‘Phase C’ will add a 34-storey rental apartment tower with ground floor retail to the site just east of the completed Coast Capital Savings headquarters (Phase A).
Originally planned to be an office tower site, ‘Phase C’ is to include 371 residential units, above 9,322 SF of ground floor retail. Phase C will complete the northern street edge of the internal road on site known as ‘George Junction’, as well as the Coast Capital Plaza next to Phase A. The completed plaza is intended to allow for retailer displays and seating, while serving as a direct pedestrian connection through the Hub development to King George Station.
In terms of architecture, the tower’s design references the pair of 29 & 40-storey residential towers currently under construction as part of Phase B, with a similar wide rectangular floor plate, and prominent canopy at the top of the tower. Phase C differs however with a more ‘playful’ design, featuring shifting coloured balconies every other floor for visual interest, and a light grey window wall running down the narrow north and south sides of the tower. Punctuated black-framed windows and white paneling cover the wider east and west facades.
The retail podium of the tower also aims create visual interest and promote a human-scale environment through varied heights and materials used for each of the retail units. This reinforces a small-scale retail rhythm along the street for a comfortable and pleasant pedestrian experience.
Phase C marks the second to last phase of King George Hub – to be followed by Phase D on the remaining lands on the east end of the site. Phase D is expected to include up to 3 additional towers, bringing the total number of towers within King George Hub to 9. While it is unclear when Phase D will move forward, Phase C is expected to begin construction by next year, with occupancy targeted for summer 2022.