‘Gateway’ tower proposal receives conditional support of Council

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Proposed ‘Gateway’ tower site on King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd

A controversial proposal for a ‘gateway’ development on King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd at the north end of City Centre received conditional Council support on Monday in concept for its proposed density, but at the same time, was referred back to City staff for further refinement work with the applicant. The developer, an off-shore investor group known as ‘New Great Land Developing’, is proposing to amend both the Official Community Plan (OCP) and City Centre Plan to allow for:

  • One 24-storey residential tower above a 7-storey podium
  • One 24-storey residential tower above a 6-storey podium
  • One 22-storey residential tower above a 6-storey podium
  • Two stand-alone 6-storey residential buildings

The site’s current OCP designation of ‘Multiple Residential’ is proposed to be amended to ‘Central Business District’, while site’s City Centre Plan designation of ‘Residential Low to Mid Rise (2.5 FAR)’ is proposed to be amended to ‘Residential Mid to High Rise (3.5 – 5.5 FAR)’

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Proposed development looking south towards existing City Centre
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Proposed development looking south towards future built-out City Centre

In the Planning Report to Council, City staff gave 3 recommendation options to Council on how to proceed. They included:

Option A:

Refer the application back to staff to work with the applicant to develop the subject site in accordance with the “Low to Mid Rise Residential up to 2.5 FAR” designation in the City Centre Plan.

Option B:

Refer the application back to staff to work with the applicant to develop the subject site with a form of development that achieves a 6-storey form along King George Boulevard, a mid-rise (maximum 10-storey) form in the middle of the site, and a 4-5 storey form adjacent to the existing single family residential lots to the northeast of the subject site.

Option C:

Refer the application back to staff to continue to process the application at the density proposed (4.5 FAR), with the consideration of the provision of a significant amenity contribution above and beyond the required City Centre Amenity Charges and City Centre specific Development Cost Charges, which can be allocated towards amenity needs in the City Centre Plan area.

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Proposed site plan with unique angular floor plates and substantial green roofs

Council gives conditional support for increased density

Despite Staff’s recommendation that Council choose option A, which would comply with the site’s OCP and City Centre Plan designations of ‘Low to Mid Rise Residential up to 2.5 FAR’ – Council voted in-favour of Option C, supporting the applicant’s proposal for amendments to the OCP and City Centre Plan for an increase in density to 4.5 FAR, on the condition of provision of a significant amenity contribution.

A presentation by the applicant’s representative and project architect – Musson Cattell Mackey (MCM) Partnership – argued for the higher density based on the site’s location at the northern ‘Gateway’ to City Centre, proximity to rapid transit, and the fact that 5.5 FAR is already permitted directly to south of the site across King George Blvd. Council agreed that such density would also be appropriate for this site given this context, and would help form a gateway straddling both sides of King George Blvd.

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Subject Site at the north end of the City Centre Plan area (Orange = Low to Mid Rise, Purple = High Rise)

Despite the unique design of the towers as proposed, another condition of Council was that the project undergo further design revision to achieve an even more iconic look, suitable for a ‘gateway’ location, if the increase in density is to be allowed. When the project returns to Council at a later date, its possible that we could see a new design all together, or a just a refinement of what is currently proposed.

For more on the proposal:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0397-00.pdf

5-Storey condo project at Grosvenor Road & Whalley Blvd heads to Council

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A 5-storey condo building proposed for the corner of Grosvenor Road and Whalley Blvd received 1st & 2nd readings at Council Monday night. The project, which was first announced back in April 2017, and is being developed by Tien Sher, will become the developer’s 6th building in the area, after Quattro 1, 2, 3, Balance, and the now under construction Venue. Tien sher’s other major project in the area Whalley District, was recently approved back in June, and should begin construction on its first phase in 2018.

This latest building to be added to Tien Sher’s portfolio in the area will further help to transition the neighbourhood into an up and coming urban district close to Gateway Station. From the planning report to Council, the project is to consist of:

  • 125 Units consisting of 1-bedroom/flex, 2-bedroom/flex, and 3-bedroom apartments

Ground-oriented units are proposed to be oriented toward the street with their own front door, entry gates, and semi-private outdoor space, which will help to urbanize the streetscape that the building fronts. The project is expected to be completed by late 2019.

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Project site within City Centre Plan

For more on the project:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0110-00.pdf

‘Whalley District’ aims to revitalize gateway to City Centre

Developer Tien Sher Group held a packed Town Hall meeting today to present their vision and plans for a revitalized Whalley. Dubbed ‘Whalley District’, the plan is for a development consisting of 3 high-rise condo towers and 1 low-rise condo building over a mix of commercial, retail, community, and plaza space on the south-east corner of 108 Ave and King George Blvd in the historic heart of Whalley. Tien Sher has already developed the neighbouring ‘Quatto’ project at Whalley Blvd and 108 Ave, along with ‘Balance’ on Grosvenor Rd, and the currently under construction ‘Venue’. 

While news of the development is not new, having been under application since 2015, what is new is their now announced plans to partner with a local arts group to bring a significant arts component to the project as a means to revitalize and bring culture to the Whalley area. It is expected that community space will be provided in the development for the non-profit arts group and their programming.

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At the meeting, Tien Sher presented their plans for the introduction of a pedestrian-only street through the centre of the development dubbed the ‘Flamingo Block’ on what would be future 136A St. The Flamingo name comes from the long-standing Flamingo Hotel which has been on the site since the 1950’s, but will be torn down to make way for the development. At present, the City of Surrey wishes to see this as a future road open to traffic, however Tien Sher is leading a petition to build it as a pedestrian-only street where public art, cultural programming, and gathering could take place. This would compliment an additional proposed plaza/park on the corner of 108 & King George, also to be build as part of the development.

The project, which is expected to appear before council for preliminary approvals and public hearing before summer, is to be built in phases beginning with a 6-storey condo building with retail below along Whalley Blvd at the east end of the site. This will then be followed by phases 2-4 consisting of a 35-storey, 37-storey, and lastly a 46-storey condo tower(s) above commercial, retail, and arts/community space. It is expected that the first phase of the project will break ground by Spring 2018.

In the meantime, the arts group is looking to engage arts initiatives around the City Centre right away, and is seeking anyone who would like to become involved. Ideas for arts initiatives that can be introduced in the City Centre are wide ranging, from murals, public art, beatification projects, community groups, activities, and more.

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For more information on Whalley District, to get involved, and to sign their arts & culture petition, visit: http://whalleydistrict.com

For more information and to get involved with the Flamingo Square Arts Connection, join their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Flamingo-Square-Arts-Connection-754586634722551/

Tien Sher submits application for new 5-Storey residential development

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A new development application has been submitted by Tien Sher Group for a 5-storey 122 unit condo building at 13660 Grosvenor Rd on the corner of Whalley Blvd. This application adds to Tien Sher’s growing presence in the neighbourhood, having already developed the 4-6 storey Quattro development at 108th & Whalley Blvd, the 4-storey Balance development on Grosvenor Rd, and the 5-storey, under-construction Venue development on 108th Avenue. Tien Sher also has under application their landmark 41, 35, 30, and 28-storey mixed-use development on the south-east corner of 108th & King George Blvd, which is expected to proceed in phases over the next decade.

At this time, there are no further details on the latest 5-storey development, but it appears based on the application that the building is being proposed as entirely residential with no retail component. Tien Sher’s previous Quattro development a block away provides a precedent as to the built form this project is likely to take. Given the project’s location, it is possible that the City will request that ground-level retail be included along Whalley Blvd similar to Quattro. It would make sense in this location, given the site’s proximity to 108th and King George, and existing commercial land-use directly across the street.

As proposed, this project will continue the 5-6 storey street wall established along Whalley Blvd by Quattro to the south, and add to the densification of the area in the vicinity of Gateway Station. The site is designated low-mid rise 2.5 FAR under the City Centre Plan.

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Site of proposed 5-Storey development at Grosvenor Rd & Whalley Blvd

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Tien Sher’s Quatto Development at 108th & Whalley Blvd

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Overview of Tien Sher development projects in the vicinity

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Tien Sher’s proposed 41, 35, 30 & 28-Storey mixed-use development currently under application at 108th & King George.

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Subject Site in relation to other Tien Sher projects in area.

PHOTO UPDATE: Gateway Place by BOSA

BOSA Properties’ Gateway Place is nearing completion at 108 Ave & City Parkway near Gateway Skytrain Station. The 5-storey office and retail building which began construction back in 2015 was originally scheduled for completion in Summer 2016, but with slow-pace of construction, is now more on track for a Summer 2017 completion. When finished, the building will house 4 levels of office over ground floor retail, with a Nesters Market, Shoppers Drug Mart, and TD Bank already signed on as tenants.

Designed by IBI Group Architects, the building will bring an improved urban streetscape to the area, with high quality landscape design and materials to be included as part of the sidewalk along City Parkway. The building will also feature a living green wall along its western side facing Station Tower and the SkyTrain. The building is Phase A of a 3-Phase development which will see 2 high-rise residential towers constructed directly north of the retail podium along City Parkway as future Phases B and C.

Construction Progress: February 2, 2017

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Project Renderings

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