Central City II to proceed to Public Hearing

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After being referred back to Staff by Council on September 16 due to a misunderstanding over building height, Central City II returned to Council tonight to receive 1st & 2nd Readings and the OK to proceed to Public Hearing in 2 weeks. No changes were made to the proposal, which will proceed based on its original 25-storey (382′) height. The re-introduced planning report included better contextual information to help convey to the Mayor and Council how the building will fit into the surrounding area, as well as the sheer volume of office space it will contain given its large floor plate. The Mayor and Council had previously sent the application back to staff, having thought the tower would be shorter than the 35-Storey residential towers across the street at King George. McCallum’s arguments included:

  • “This is not a highrise development”
  • “Twenty-five storeys in our City Centre is way too low.”
  • “The towers at King George Station across the street are taller”
  • “We have only a certain amount of land in our City Centre and it’s really important to make sure we use that land appropriately”

In reality, the 25-Storey office tower would be slightly taller than the 35-storey residential tower across the street due to differences between residential and office floor heights. Central City 2 is proposed at 382 ft. while the Infinity tower at Concord Park Place is 377 ft. Further, if Central City II were built today, it would be the 3rd tallest building in Surrey after 3 Civic Plaza (538 ft.) and Park Avenue West (393 ft.). This would not be the case for long however, with 3 other towers currently under construction exceeding the height of Central City 2. Once those are completed, Central City 2 would be the 6th tallest in Surrey, yet still at comparable height to others in the top 5.

  • 3 Civic Plaza (538 ft.)
  • One Central (438 ft.)
  • Park Boulevard (407 ft.)
  • King George Hub B1 (404 ft.).
  • Park Avenue West (393 ft.)
  • Central City II (382 ft.)
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Comparison of Surrey’s tallest towers (built & under construction) with Central City II

Height aside, the sheer volume of office space to be provided by the building will bring a significant boost to the City Centre, where demand is currently high, and vacancy low. Central City 2 is to contain 567,114sq.ft. of class AAA commercial office space, when currently there is a total of just 1.2 million in the entire City Centre. That’s adding half the current amount of office space in City Centre in a single building. In addition, the building is to contain 16,168 sq.ft. of ground floor retail and restaurant space in its large podium spanning an entire city block. A market analysis commissioned by the developer found the amount of proposed space to be adequate in meeting current demand in City Centre.

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Central City 2 (far right) along with conceptual future redevelopment of mall site
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Model of Central City 2 along with conceptual future redevelopment of mall site

More information on the proposal can be found in the planning report below:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7918-0428-00(1).pdf

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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Bosa’s BlueSky towers heading to Public Hearing

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Bosa’s BlueSky Properties received 1st & 2nd readings by Council on Monday night for their upcoming, recently re-branded, ‘BlueSky’ project at 104 Avenue and University Drive. The project, previously thought to become the next phase of ‘University District‘ is now set for Public Hearing and 3rd reading (preliminary approval) on July 9.

Released in the Planning Report to Council on Monday were updated renderings for the project, superseding a previous design from the original 2011 application on the site. As part of the new 2018 application, tower heights have increased to 28 & 37 storeys, and incorporate a more contemporary ‘box-shaped’ architectural design. In addition, a new north-south lane will be dedicated along the site’s eastern property line, as per the City Centre Plan, helping to achieve a finer-grained road network.

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View of proposed towers facing west
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View of proposed towers facing east
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Rendering of 3-storey townhouse podium fronting University Dr
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Rendering of amenity podium with ground floor retail and rooftop pool at 104 Ave & University Dr

Designed by Vancouver’s ZGF Architects, the two condo towers will contain a total of 742 units above a 3-storey townhouse base fronting both 105 Ave & University Dr, and 4-storey amenity podium with ground floor retail and rooftop pool at the corner of University Dr & 104 Ave. The project will create a strong urban streetscape along both University Dr and 105 Ave, and help transition density further northward from the city’s emerging civic core. The project is targeted for completion and occupancy by summer 2022.

For more on the application, the full Planning Report to Council can be found here:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7918-0058-00.pdf