A Public Information Meeting is being held Thursday to present a revised concept for a 3-tower ‘gateway’ project proposed for the north end of City Centre at King George Blvd and Bolivar Rd . The project, which initially appeared before Council last April, has been undergoing revisions ever since, after being sent back to staff to work with the applicant on refining the plan. The project is situated on a site designated for 4-6 storey (2.5 FAR) density under the City Centre Plan, therefore an amendment is required to permit the proposed towers (with a density of up to 4.2 FAR).
The revised plan, being put forth by a developer known as ‘New Great Land Developing’ and designed by Vancouver’s MCM Architects, features 3 staggered towers ranging in height from 23 to 34 storeys above 6 storey podiums along King George Blvd, as well as 2 additional 6-storey buildings along Barker Street. While the general concept is similar to that presented in April, the buildings have been revised to now resemble a ‘stacked box’ design, integrated with a high quality public realm at the base of the site designed by Vancouver’s PWL Landscape Architects. This includes a proposed ‘gateway’ plaza at the corner of Bolivar Rd and King George Blvd, an interior courtyard, and public pedestrian connection through the site linking King George Blvd to Barker Street.
While plans at this stage are still preliminary, subject to more detailed design, it is anticipated that the project will be primarily residential focused with a mix of market condos, rental units, and some limited commercial space for a cafe and neighbourhood-serving retail. A cafe / restaurant is envisioned to help enliven the public realm / pedestrian area through the site.
Following Thursday’s Public Information Meeting, the project will continue with more detailed design in preparation for appearance before Surrey’s Advisory Design Panel (ADP) likely sometime in the Spring. It is expected that the project will be ready to return to Council for preliminary approval by Summer or Fall 2019.
For anyone interested in attending the Public Information Meeting – it is being held Thursday, November 29 between 5-7pm at the Whalley Legion at 13525 106 Ave.
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)’
In the Planning Report to Council, City staff gave 3 recommendation options to Council on how to proceed. They included:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.