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/

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.

City Centre 3 breaks ground in new Health & Technology District

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Lark Group held a ground breaking ceremony yesterday for their next phase in the Health & Technology District – City Centre 3. The new 10-storey office building will be the latest in a series of 8 planned buildings for the district, home to a network of academics, entrepreneurs, multinational companies, start-ups, and some of the most advanced digital health, wellness, technology, and clinical service organizations in the world.

Situated directly across the street from Surrey Memorial Hospital at 96 Avenue and 137A Street, the tower will contain offices, retail and restaurant services, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, secure underground parking, and a common area rooftop terrace. Completion is expected by 2021.

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The ground breaking ceremony was attended by the newly elected Mayor Doug McCallum, as well as a number of Councillors, representatives from Lark Group, and business leaders involved in the Health & Technology District. While McCallum praised the District as playing “a major contributing role to the economic growth of Surrey” he of course failed to recognize that due to his government’s action, the district will no longer be receiving a rapid transit station as was planned for 96 Avenue with LRT. It’s unfortunate that this significant and growing employment, research, and medical hub will now continue to be serviced by a small bus stop at 96 Avenue and King George Blvd so that SkyTrain can be built along Fraser Hwy serving low density suburban neighbourhoods instead.

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Formerly planned rapid transit station at 96 Avenue in the Health & Technology District that will no longer be built
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Health & Technology District bus stop that will remain as a result of switch to SkyTrain on Fraser Hwy instead

The Health and Technology District is being developed by Lark Group in anticipation of the rapidly growing health and technology sector in B.C. The District has already attracted a large number of innovative health, education and technology organizations to its first 2 buildings – City Centre 1 & 2 – and is becoming a new epicentre for BC’s emerging technology economy.

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View of Health & Technology District along 96 Avenue
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City Centre 3 at 96 Avenue & 137A Street
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Looking north along 137A Street

Rendering released for upcoming tower in West Village

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Rendering of proposed tower from 133A St

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.

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Subject Site within City Centre Plan
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Conceptual plan for ‘Centre Block’ area showing future Covered Bus Layover Facility and Subject Site

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.

Rize Alliance submits application for new 1,070 unit development on Whalley Blvd

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Rize Alliance, the developer behind Wave and the recently released Linea, has submitted an application for their next development in City Centre. Located at 10138 Whalley Blvd just south of 102 Avenue, the project would replace an existing 3-storey walk-up apartment complex built in the 1970’s.

While not many details have been released so far, what is known is that the project is to contain 1,070 units – likely within 2-3 towers above a mixed-use podium base. The subject site is currently designated ‘Residential Mid to High Rise 3.5 FAR’ in the City Centre Plan, and is located just to the south of Anthem Properties ‘Georgetown‘ development, which recently received 3rd reading for phase 1 its 7-tower master-planned community.

The new Rize application is currently under initial review at the City of Surrey. More details can be expected once the project proceeds to Council.

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Subject Site containing an existing 3-storey apartment complex
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Subject site containing an existing 3-storey apartment complex
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Subject site within City Centre Plan

 

City Centre 2 opens in Health & Technology District

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Lark Group’s City Centre 2 held its grand opening today following the completion of the 185,000 square-foot, 12-storey LEED Gold certified office building. City Centre 2 is the second of 8 phases in Lark Group’s vision for an emerging Health & Technology District also referred to as ‘Innovation Boulevard’ just to the north of Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Anchoring City Centre 2 will be Surrey-based Safe Software, who will occupy the top five floors of the tower. Their brand new office space includes a state-of-the-art 4,000 square-foot cafeteria, a 6,000 square-foot roof-top garden terrace and green space with a multi-level deck and walking path, a well as a fully equipped fitness centre and amenities for their employees. Illuminated signage for Safe Software was installed on the top of the tower earlier this year.

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In a speech at today’s opening ceremony, Lark Group president Larry Fisher indicated that construction could be underway on City Centre 3 as early as this summer.