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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
PCI Development’s King George Hub project has officially sold out both residential towers within Phase B of the project. The 40-storey tower first went to market in October, quickly selling out, followed by the 29-storey tower in November. Phase B will also include a 15-storey office tower, 2-storey stand-alone restaurant, as well as over 100,000 sq.ft. of retail space integrated with a plaza.
According to the King George Hub Sales Team, over 12,000 people registered as interested purchasers for the 738 units. Given this unprecedented demand for a condo project in Surrey City Centre, units were allocated through a lottery system. Of those units sold:
697 were purchased by local residents
1 in 4 were first-time home buyers
65% of buyers currently live within 20km
30% of buyers currently live in Vancouver
With the success of King George Hub selling out so quickly, PCI developments has indicated that they are now moving forward with plans for Phase C of the project, which should include 1 additional residential tower to the east of the existing Coast Capital Savings headquarters. A future Phase D is set to follow that with space for up to 3 more towers, however detailed plans for both sites have yet to be finalized or released.
With sales now complete, and final approval in place, it is expected that Phase B of King George Hub will begin construction by Spring 2018. This should be joined by Concord Pacific’s 42-storey Park Boulevard project just north of King George Station around the same time, making for 4 new towers starting construction within the area immediately surrounding King George Station. For more on King George Hub:
Anthem Properties’ has given us a first look at the first phase of its much anticipated ‘Georgetown’ development at 102 Avenue between King George Blvd and Whalley Blvd. According to the Fall 2017 Anthem Newsletter, the project, which will include 6 residential towers in total above a mix of office, retail, and townhomes, will begin with a single 30-storey tower above a grocery store and retail at the corner of Whalley Blvd and 102 Avenue. While the render indicates a targeted construction begin date of Summer 2018, it could be more likely 2019 given the project has not yet received preliminary or final approval, and has yet to begin marketing units.
The new tower and retail will replace a standalone A&W restaurant currently on the corner, along with underutilized surface parking. The first phase will also dedicate and construct a new section of 102A Avenue through the site, connecting Whalley Blvd to King George Blvd, and eventually continue west through to the GEC Education Mega Centre and Surrey Central Station. Future phases to the north of 102A will replace the current Save-on-Foods and Canadian Tire stores with a mix of retail, residential, office, townhomes, and plaza space, along with 3 more new streets, including a new section of Central Avenue.
The proposed signage package for 3 Civic Plaza will appear before Council on Monday for approval. The current package is an update to a previous signage package put together back in 2014. The new package presents a more refined and unified look to the signage across the building, which will include signage for:
Dominion Bar & Kitchen
Various Retail Units
Various wayfinding signs around the perimeter of building
Already ahead of the Signage Development Permit approval, the main Civic Hotel logo appeared this week at the top of the 52-storey tower on the north side. A similar logo is also set to be installed on the tower’s south side.