25-Storey ‘Central City II’ Office Tower heads to Council

The much anticipated ‘Central City II’ office tower will appear before Surrey Council on Monday for 1st & 2nd readings, as part of the first Council meeting since the summer break. Designed by ZGF Architects, the 25-storey (116.5m / 382 ft.) building will be the successor to the iconic Bing Thom designed ‘Central City I’, built in 2003, and bring much needed new office space to Surrey City Centre. Taking design cues from the original tower, while at the same time having its own distinctive architectural expression, the new building will be located just to the south-east of Central City I at the corner of King George Blvd and Old Yale Rd.

In all, the building is proposed to include:

  • 567,114 sq.ft. of AAA Office Space and Fitness Club on levels 2-25
  • 16,168 sq.ft. of ground-oriented retail, restaurant, and cafe space
  • Landscaped roof terraces on levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24
  • A new dedication of City Parkway
  • A new private east-west lane along the north side of the building connecting City Parkway to King George Blvd
  • Plazas and Separated Bike Lanes surrounding the building along King George Blvd, Old Yale Rd, and City Parkway
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View looking South along SkyTrain Guideway
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View Looking South-West along King George Blvd
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View looking North-West at corner of King George Blvd & Old Yale Rd
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South and East Elevations
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West and North Elevations

In terms of design, the building consists of a 25-storey tower with distinctive rust-toned metal panels, above a stepped podium, transitioning to different floor plates at levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24. The tower maintains a rounded rectangular form above the podium levels, before transitioning to an elliptical shape – similar to ‘Central City I’ at level 21. Above level 25, the vertical fins extend the curtain wall and frame an additional 2 storeys to conceal the rooftop mechanical equipment, and give the building a 27-storey appearance. The fins also provide space for signage, shown in renderings provided by ZGF, with the Central City logo, similar to the original tower. The bulk of the building’s massing is oriented towards King George Blvd and anchored to Old Yale Rd, creating a strong urban street wall and presence. The building tapers down towards the west, with its 4-storey podium extending to City Parkway, and the SkyTrain guideway.

The main entrance to the building will front onto a new public plaza along Old Yale Rd. This plaza will extend around the building on 3 sides, with retail, restaurant, and cafe space spilling out to activate frontages along City Parkway and King George Blvd. The south-west corner of the site at Old Yale Rd and City Parkway has been identified as a location for a future significant public art piece, subject to separate public art plan process.

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Ground floor Site Plan
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 3
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 5
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 10
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 21

Replacing the former Best Buy store at the corner of the existing mall parking lot, Central City II represents just phase 1 of a master redevelopment plan for the remainder of the Central City Shopping Centre site. More details of that plan will come through future development applications for subsequent phases. Earlier this year, the mall’s owner Blackwood Partners announced plans for a 1.5 storey addition to the existing parkade along University Drive which is expected to get underway in the coming months. Upon completion, this will allow for the closure of rooftop parking above parts of the existing mall along Old Yale Rd and eventual redevelopment of the site across from Holland Park.

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North Surrey Rec Centre to close for ‘Centre Block’ redevelopment

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A date has finally been set for the official closure of the North Surrey Recreation Centre to make way for the site’s long anticipated redevelopment. In a notice posted on the recreation centre website, the facility is planned to close in 2 phases beginning with a decommissioning of the ice rinks in early September, and finally a closure of the remaining portions of the building on December 22. Ice rink programming will move to the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, set to open on September 3 near Scott Road Station. Following that in January, Aquatics programs will move to Guildford Recreation Centre, fitness and multi-purpose activities to North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, and preschool programs to Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

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New North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex

While no timeline has been given for the site’s redevelopment following decommissioning, behind-the-scenes planning work has been underway for years, dating back to 2012. Since then, the City has been working with Simon Fraser University, TransLink, and various architects, planners, and consultants, on a master plan for what is known as the ‘Centre Block’ bounded by Central Avenue to the north, 102 Avenue to the south, University Drive to the west, and City Parkway to the east. Well-positioned adjacent to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station, the site forms a key link between Surrey City Hall / Civic Plaza to the north, and the Central City Complex and beyond to the south.

Back in 2013, Via Architecture prepared a ‘vision’ for what redevelopment could look like in the future. The concept envisioned a numerous mixed-use buildings for the site integrated with a transit-oriented plaza linking City Hall to Central City. The buildings would contain office, university, and retail space. The plan also envisioned:

  • A new bus layover facility to be located on 133A St behind the new SFU Engineering building.
  • A removal and re-configuring of the Surrey Central Bus Exchange – replacing the loop with a new street-oriented exchange along a realigned 102A Avenue and Central Avenue. The 2 streets would be integrated with a new Transit Plaza, designed to accommodate high pedestrian and bus passenger volumes.
Centre Block location between Civic Plaza and Central City
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Early vision for the Centre Block prepared by Via Architecture in 2013

Since the early Via Architecture vision, a more recent planning process has been underway following a Surrey City Development Corp (SCDC) RFP was filled seeking a new firm to undertake detailed master planning work for the Centre Block site. While no plans have been publicly released yet, what is expected is a major overhaul of Surrey Central Station linked with a new transit-oriented plaza connecting Civic Plaza to Central City, and integrated with over 2 million square feet of new office, university, and retail space. With such a large scale, the plan is expected to be completed in phases, with various puzzle pieces and phasing needing to take place before other phases can begin. The first of those pieces is the decommissioning and demolition of the North Surrey Recreation Centre. The second will be the construction of the new bus layover facility on 133 Street, allowing for removal of the current Bus Loop, and re-alignment of 102A Avenue through it.

With the North Surrey Rec Centre decommissioning now in sight, the pieces are finally coming together to make the Centre Block redevelopment a reality. While the project is likely to take at least a decade to build-out, we could see the start of application activity related to it in the coming year.

For more on the North Surrey Recreation Centre closing:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2019-R133.pdf

Concord Pacific an applicant in pair of submissions for towers on 105 Ave

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Two separate Development Applications have been submitted for a pair of projects between University Dr & City Parkway and 105 Ave & 105A Ave, just to the south of the BC Lions Training facility.

According to Surrey’s COSMOS, the application on the westerly block is to allow for 873 residential units (approximately 2 towers above podiums), while the application on the easterly block is to also allow for 2 towers above podiums with no unit count given. The applications are also proposing OCP and City Centre Plan amendments to re-designate the sites from 3.5 FAR to 5.5 FAR to allow for increased density. Interestingly, the applicant on the easterly site is listed as Concord Pacific – indicating a new venture for them in Surrey City Centre, to follow their existing ‘Park’ development near King George. The applicant on the westerly site is listed as IBI Group, although the applications could be related.

The subject sites have been vacant grassed lots for decades, and are bisected by the SkyTrain guideway between Surrey Central Station and Gateway Station. While the area may feel vacant now, just to the south across 105 Avenue, Bosa’s 28 & 37-storey University District towers are expected to begin construction within the next year. Also just to the north at City Parkway and 106 Avenue, Lark Group’s 20-story Legion Veteran’s Village project is now under construction.

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Site looking north-east from University Dr & 105 Ave
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Site looking south-east from University Dr & 105A Ave
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Site looking south from 105A Ave
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Site looking south-west from 105A Ave & City Parkway
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Site looking north from 105 Ave
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Site’s within City Centre Plan
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Birds-eye view of Sites

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/

Surrey invited to MIPIM Cannes – world’s leading property exhibition

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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.

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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.

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Invest Surrey & Partner’s presentation centre at MIPIM 2018

For more on Surrey’s invitation to MIPIM:

http://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2018-R023.pdf

The year ahead: City Centre’s rapid growth to continue in 2018

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With 2018 now upon us, it’s time for this blog’s annual look at the year ahead to forecast what’s in store over the next 12 months for development in Surrey City Centre. While the past few years have been unprecedented for not only construction in City Centre, but also for rising real estate prices and property values, 2018 shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, 2018 could prove to be another record year for construction starts and rising property values, with up to 10 new towers starting, in addition to a number of 5-6 storey projects, new parks, roads, and the Surrey Central Skytrain expansion.

Continued Construction and Expected Completions

Moving into 2018, a number of major construction projects will continue, with many seeing completion. These include:

3 Civic Plaza

City Centre’s landmark 52-storey, 3 Civic Plaza, will finally see completion in 2018, delayed from its anticipated completion date of November 2017. The project which will contain condos, a hotel, retail space, a restaurant, cafe, and a KPU campus will likely open in phases, with the Autograph-Collection Civic Hotel to open first by early spring. Around the same time, we should see the much anticipated Dominion Bar & Kitchen open, as well as Surrey’s first Prado Cafe, and some new retail along City Parkway. By summer, we should see occupancy of the condo tower, and by fall, the opening of KPU’s new City Centre campus for graduate studies.

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Prime on the Plaza

Located across from Civic Plaza at the corner of University Drive and Central Avenue (formerly 103 Ave), Prime on the Plaza topped out at 37-storeys in December 2017, and is set for completion by the end of the year. In addition to condos and street-front townhouses, the building will also bring new retail to University Drive, and open a new section of Central Avenue as well as a new rear lane.

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SFU Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building

Directly next to Prime on the Plaza, SFU’s new Sustainable Energy & Environmental Engineering Building is set to open its doors in September 2018. The project which only began construction in late 2016, has seen rapid progress over the past 12 months, which is expected to continue to meet the project’s scheduled completion date for fall 2018 classes. The late Bing Thom designed building has already become a landmark with its unique facade, featuring pre-cast concrete panels in an irregular shaped pattern.

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Evolve

In West Village, Evolve will continue to rise to its final height of 36-storeys in 2018, to become the 2nd tower in the master planned-community being developed by WestStone Group. While initially anticipated for completion in 2018, there is a chance this project could extend into 2019 given its current progress. When complete the project will contain condos as well as a 3-storey office and retail building, which will form the beginning of a new village commercial hub planned for the area around Central Avenue and 133A St.

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West Village Park & District Energy Centre

Across from Evolve at Central Avenue and 133 St, the new West Village Park & District Energy Centre continues its construction which began in 2017. The innovative new District Energy Centre will provide heat and hot water to surrounding buildings through a central facility that is fuelled by renewable energy sources. Surrounding the facility will be the new West Village Park, which has been designed as a new urban park to serve  residents of the rapidly growing and urbanizing West Village neighbourhood.

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City Centre 2

In the emerging Health & Technology District north of Surrey Memorial Hospital, Lark Group’s ‘City Centre 2’ professional building is expected to complete in early 2018. The 12-storey building is the 2nd in a series of up to 8 towers envisioned for the district, focused as a hub for medical, technology, research, and education related office tenants.

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Surrey Central SkyTrain Station expansion

The Surrey Central SkyTrain expansion project began in 2017, and is set for completion sometime in late 2018. The project will bring a new north entrance to the station at the corner of Central Ave and City Parkway directly across from the new Civic Plaza. Designed by omb Architects, the same firm responsible for the recent upgrade of Joyce Station, the new station house will feature a contemporary design with high quality materials and lighting.

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Various 5-6-Storey projects

A number of 5-6-storey projects will continue construction and complete within 2018. These new 5-6-storey buildings are helping to infill and urbanize areas throughout City Centre, and transition density from higher-density towers to lower-density single family neighbourhoods. They also provide for a diverse range of housing in the City Centre.

New Construction Starts

With many major projects wrapping up in 2018, the year ahead will mark the start of a new wave of major construction starts. 2018 could likely see the most towers under construction of any year in Surrey’s history with up to 10 new towers potentially starting this year. These include:

King George Hub

Site clearing for King George Hub began in late 2017, following selling out both of its residential towers in record time in the fall. The project will feature 40 & 29-storey condo towers, a 15-storey office tower, 2-storey stand-alone restaurant, a future LRT station, as well as over 100,000 sq.ft. of retail space integrated with a plaza. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020.

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Park Boulevard

Concord Pacific’s 42-storey Park Boulevard tower featuring a signature lighting feature is expected to break ground in early 2018, with an estimated completion in late 2020. It will complete the Park Place plaza adjacent to King George Station.

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GEC Education Mega Centre

Set to become the 2nd tallest tower in Metro Vancouver after the Shangri-la, the 55-storey GEC Education Mega Centre is expected to start construction in 2018 on the site of the former Stardust Roller rink. The roller rink is currently under a lease extension which expires in January. Demolition and site clearning could begin soon after, likely by spring. When complete the tower will bring 55 floors of student residences, student hotel, college space, office space, and retail.  It is estimated to be completed by 2021.

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Whalley District

Tien Sher Group’s long awaited Whalley District will be a transformative project for the area of 108th Avenue & King George Blvd – the historic heart of Surrey which has become notoriously run-down in recent decades. The 3 tower project ranging from 35-46 storeys is expected to start with a 35-storey tower and 6-storey condo/retail building near Whalley Blvd & 107A Ave this year.

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Veteran’s Village

The Whalley Legion may finally see redevelopment begin in 2018 with the long-awaited Veterans Village project. The 15-storey tower, which has seen major design revisions since initially proposed, is set to house a research, rehabilitation, and care centre for veterans and their families.

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West Village 5 (44-Storey Rental)

Set to become the largest all-rental tower in City Centre, and likely the largest in Metro Vancouver, the yet-to-be-named ‘West Village 5’, will be the 3rd tower in WestStone Group’s master planned community of West Village. Construction could begin in 2018 or early 2019, around the same time that Evolve (West Village 4) wraps up construction.

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Hampton by Hilton Hotel / Condo

Receiving Preliminary Approval in 2017, with project renderings featuring a Hampton by Hilton branded hotel, this project at 98th Avenue and King George Blvd will likely see final approval in 2018, with construction possible later in the year, if not 2019. The striking design of the tower will be welcome infill for the currently vacant lot, and potentially be the 5th tower to start construction in the immediate vicinity of King George Station in 2018.

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City Centre 3

The 3rd tower by Lark Group in the new Health & Technology District will also likely see final approval in 2018. While start of construction is a possibility for later in the year, a 2019 start could be more likely. Similar to City Centre 1 & 2, this latest tower will provide 10-storeys of office space for medical, technology, and education related uses, as well as ground floor retail.

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Various 5-6-Storey projects

In addition to the tower projects starting in 2018, it is expected that the following 5-6 storey projects will also get underway:

Beginning Sales

In addition to projects starting construction in 2018, a number of other major projects are likely to begin sales, given the hot condo market in the area, and its attractiveness in affordability and value compared to Vancouver. These include:

New Announcements

Aside from all the activity of continued construction, anticipated starts, and new sales, 2018 will also certainly include many new project announcements, and more details on existing announcements, as the rapid growth and transformation of City Centre continues.

For a full list and map of all active and future projects underway in City Centre, see the Active Projects Page