The Marriott Autograph Collection, Civic Hotel officially opened on Wednesday, becoming the first hotel in Surrey’s new City Centre. While the hotel is now accepting bookings after being delayed for months, much of the building remains under construction. Aside from the condominium and KPU portions of the building which are expected to open later this year, the hotel’s outdoor pool, fitness centre, spa, and rooftop amenity spaces are also yet to open. Dominion Bar + Kitchen did open along with the hotel however, and has already become a hot spot bustling with activity. Prado Cafe while close to completion, is expected to open in the coming weeks.
As for the hotel’s lobby fronting onto Civic Plaza, the high columned ceilings, beautiful detailing, woodwork, art, and lounge spaces create a strong sense of place, flooded with natural light through the podium’s glass curtain wall. The Prado Cafe blends in seamlessly with the lobby, rather than functioning as a stand-alone cafe like their other locations.
Already, only being open a few days, the hotel and restaurant has brought new energy to the area, which will only grow once the rest of the building opens, and bookings begin to fill up for hotel guests and conferences. Bookings for rooms, as well as meetings and other events can be made through the Civic Hotel website https://civichotel.ca. More info on Dominion Bar + Kitchen can be found at https://dominionkitchen.com
Rize Alliance has begun pre-sales on the second phase of their 2-tower project at 133 St & 104 Ave in the growing West Village neighbourhood. The first phase of the project – the 28-storey ‘Wave’ condo tower – was completed back in 2014, with the second phase originally set to be called ‘Wynd’. Four years later, that name has now changed with the launch of a new marketing campaign and registration site set up for phase 2 under the name ‘Linea’.
With phase 2 of the project having already been approved as part of the original application for the site, Linea is likely to proceed with construction soon after sales. Despite the name change, the tower will retain its originally approved design – a twin of the Wave tower – featuring distinctive curved balconies and vibrant orange accents on the building’s exterior. Not only will Linea bring a twin tower to the development, but it will also complete the site which has been sitting vacant for years, bringing a new row of urban street-fronting townhouses along both 133 St and 104 Avenue, and a substantial outdoor amenity area / park. The website for the project www.liveatlinea.com is now open for registration offering 1, 2 & 3 bedroom condos and townhouses.
A development application has been submitted for Phase ‘C’ of PCI Group’s ‘King George Hub’ at Fraser Hwy & King George Blvd next to King George Station. Details of the application indicate that Phase ‘C’ will consist of a single 34-storey mixed-use tower just to the east of Phase ‘A’ – the landmark 10-storey Coast Capital Savings headquarters built in 2014. No renderings of the tower have been released at this time, but the project is proposed to contain 363 residential units above 10,000 sq.ft. of ground-level retail.
With the application just submitted, it is expected that Phase ‘C’ will not likely begin construction until around 2020/21, around the time when Phase ‘B’ reaches completion. It could however be fast-tracked to begin sooner, given the strong response for Phase ‘B’ – which sold out both its residential towers in a matter of days. Phase ‘B’ is set to begin construction in the coming months, and will contain 29 & 40-storey residential towers, a 15-storey office tower, a 2-storey (9,376 sq.ft.) standalone restaurant next to the Coast Capital Savings Headquarters, and 112,535 sq.ft. of retail.
Following Phase ‘C’ will be the final phase of King George Hub – Phase ‘D’. No details of Phase ‘D’ have been released yet, but this last piece of the site at the corner of Fraser Hwy and Whalley Blvd is expected to add 2-3 more residential towers above retail. Full buildout of all phases is expected to be complete around 2025, and will be accompanied by numerous other surrounding projects – also expected to complete within that timeframe.
The long-awaited first phase of Surrey’s LRT is a go-ahead, following today’s announcement of an agreement between the provincial government and the Mayor’s Council to fund the project. Billed as the largest transit and transportation investment in the history of the Metro Vancouver region, the plan will see:
Construction of the Surrey Guildford-Newton Light Rail (LRT)
Construction of Millennium Line Broadway Extension
Significant upgrade of existing Expo-Millennium Lines to expand capacity to meet and improve the customer experience
An 8% increase in bus service to address overcrowding, reduce wait times and bring bus services to communities with limited service
Improvements to sidewalks, bikeways, multi-use pathways and roadways
According to the media release, delivery of these projects will be funded by:
$1.6 billion in fare revenues expected from higher ridership resulting from service expansion in Phase Two, TransLink resources and efficiencies.
A 2% increase to all transit fares over two years beginning in 2020.
Parking lot sales tax increase of 15 cents per hour for an average $5 per hour parking.
$5.50 increase in property taxes per average household each year or about 46 cents a month, beginning in 2019.
About $300 to $600/unit increase to the Development Cost Charge on new residential developments depending on type of dwelling.
Revenue from a variety of transit-related commercial opportunities.
Construction by 2019 – Phase 1 Completion by 2024
While federal matching of the provincial funding still needs to be finalized, it is expected that the first phase of the Surrey LRT line between Guildford – City Centre – Newton will likely be under construction by late 2019, with completion by 2024. Not only will the project bring a new a rapid transit line to the South Fraser, it will also be a game-changer in how it will integrate with, and transform the neighbourhoods it passes through. In conjunction with the City Centre Plan and the Guildford-104 Avenue Plan, LRT corridors will be gradually transformed with 4-6-storey density along each route, with higher density mixed-use nodes at key intersections and throughout City Centre, Guildford Town Centre, and Newton Town Centre.
A new tier of rapid transit for Metro Vancouver
LRT will introduce a new layer of rapid transit service to Metro Vancouver that is complimentary to SkyTrain. It will serve as a more localized, finer-grained service, compared to SkyTrain which can be seen as more of a regional commuter train service. Tiered transit systems are common around the world, with various forms of rail combining to form an intricate and dynamic transit network. A good example of this is Berlin, Germany where there are 4 tiers of rail within its robust transit network. These include:
Regional Train (Comparable to WestCoast Express)
S-Bahn (Suburban service)
U-Bahn (Urban service – Comparable to SkyTrain)
MetroTram LRT (Fine-grained urban service)
All of these lines converge at hub stations, with each tier serving a specific purpose.
Example – Tiers of Rail Transit in Berlin
Surrey LRT will bring the first fine-grained rail service to Metro Vancouver – appropriate for routes that are more localized, and less regional – such as the Guildford-City Centre-Newton line – but connecting to SkyTrain for regional commuter travel at hub stations. It is likely that we could see LRT build elsewhere in the region following Surrey, given its cost-effectiveness and appropriate scale for many other parts of the region.
The City of Surrey held a public open house last week on the in-progress, Guildford Town Centre – 104 Avenue Plan. The plan, which has been under study since last year, is seeking to define a vision and prepare a long-range land-use plan to guide future growth along the 104 Avenue Corridor and Guildford Town Centre areas.
Presented to the public at the open house last week were 2 land-use concept options, along with a proposed street network, bicycle and pedestrian network, and parks and open space concept.
Land-Use Concept Option 1: Focused Growth
Land-Use Concept Option 1 seeks to focus growth and density in key areas of the plan, such as along 104 Avenue and areas surrounding Guildford Town Centre. The plan envisions:
A continuous stretch of 6-storey mixed-use/apartments (Dark orange) along 104 Avenue
Mid to high-rise mixed-use (pink) at 104 Ave & 144 St.
Mid to high-rise along 104 Ave east of 148 St and to the north and east of Guildford Town Centre – with the tallest tower heights (purple) concentrated on the former Sears site.
4-storey apartment areas (light orange) dispersed throughout the plan area
Townhouses (yellow) in a few areas
Single Family housing preserved in a number of areas, mostly west of 148 St.
Land-Use Concept Option 2: Dispersed Growth
Land-Use Concept Option 2, while very similar, seeks to disperse growth and densities over the plan area, with lower intensities of density, but increased density covering more area. This includes:
A wider continuous stretch of 6-storey mixed-use/apartments (Dark orange) along 104 Avenue
Mid to high-rise mixed-use (Pink) to the north and east of Guildford Town Centre.
4-storey apartment areas (light orange) more widely dispersed throughout the plan area
Townhouses (yellow) more widely dispersed across the plan area
Slightly less preserved Single Family housing.
Proposed Street Network
The proposed street network adds a number of new local and collector streets to improve connectivity through a finer-grained network. One of these new collectors is the currently underway 105A Avenue connector project which will provide an alternate east-west route to 104 Avenue linking City Centre to Guildford. A long-range new street network is shown on the site of Guildford Town Shopping Centre – envisioning the future redevelopment of this mall into an urban district far into the future – similar to the vision for the Metropolis at Metrotown Shopping Centre site in Burnaby under the Metrotown Plan.
Proposed Bike and Pedestrian Network
The proposed bike and pedestrian network creates a number of new multi-use paths and road-separated bike lanes improving connectivity throughout the plan area. Pedestrian and cycling crossings at busy intersections would be enhanced under the plan to improve safety and streetscape integration. Existing bike lanes would be upgraded to be physically separated from the road.
Proposed Parks and Open Space
The proposed parks and open space plan illustrates how parks, habitat areas, and the city’s Green Infrastructure Network will be integrated into the plan area. A key feature of the plan is a ‘Green Loop’ pedestrian and cycling network stretching east-west with north-south connections – improving non-automobile connectivity in the area and connecting the many parks. In addition to existing parks shown in light green, many new parks are shown in dark green, including expansions to Hawthorne Park.
Future Light Rail Transit (LRT)
An integral part of the 104 Avenue – Guildford Town Centre Plan area will be the new LRT line linking City Centre to Guildford along 104 Avenue, and further south to Newton. This urban-style, low floor, LRT system will not just be a rapid transit line passing through the area, but a fully streetscape-integrated, centrepiece of the 104 Avenue corridor. Combined with a continuous 6-storey mixed-use density along 104 Avenue, the corridor will be transformed into a transit/pedestrian-oriented and prioritized streetscape, similar to precedents in Europe and elsewhere around the world. The LRT will support the densities along the the 104 Avenue Corridor, and integrate seamlessly into the community – unlike SkyTrain which bisects and has a negative visual and physical impact on the streetscape.
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.