LOOKING BACK/AHEAD: Highrises galore in Metrotown, Brentwood
It may seem that Metrotown and Brentwood town centres are experiencing a spike in developments, but the construction activity is actually spread throughout the city, says Burnaby’s director of planning Basil Luksun.
In fact, over the past five years, Metrotown isn’t even in the top two in any of the density categories, he said.
For low-density projects, the Royal Oak and Edmonds neighbourhoods have been leading the way, for low-rise multi-family development, it’s Brentwood and Royal Oak, and in the high-density highrise category, it’s Brentwood and Edmonds.
But in 2011, Metrotown and Brentwood have certainly garnered their share of headlines.
In Metrotown, there are just over 1,500 housing units under construction right now, with another 1,100 units still going through the city’s rezoning approval process. Over in Brentwood, about 480 units are under construction, with another 1,300 units at the approval stage.
Appia Developments’ project on the southwest corner of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue, dubbed Solo, is a major project that will be phased in, likely built over 10 years depending on market conditions, Luksun said.
Brentwood Town Centre is also getting set for a major makeover with recently released promotional materials for the mall indicating the possibility of six residential towers being added to the 28-acre site ranging in height from 30 to 60 storeys, as well as offices and additional retail spaces.
Luksun noted that, contrary to a recent NewsLeader story, the property owner, Shape Properties, has not yet submitted a master concept plan to city hall for approval. The planning department is working with the company but a public hearing isn’t likely to take place on the project until the middle of 2012.
Once the concept plan is approved, the company would have to apply for rezonings for each phase of the project.
Burnaby city hall has long had plans in place for the Lougheed corridor even before the Millennium SkyTrain line was built, he said. It had planned to add density there back when light-rail was still being considered as it had always envisioned a transit station at Brentwood.
Spurring development in the area is the moving of car dealerships that used to call Lougheed home. Morrey Nissan has moved to new digs off Willingdon and Still Creek, while the Toyota dealership will move nearby into an auto mall under development.
The Carter GM dealership site on the eastern side of Willingdon is also designated for future development but city hall has yet to receive a proposal for that property, Luksun said.
Over in the Metrotown area, a major redevelopment of Station Square Mall is going through the approval process with a plan that includes five towers ranging from 35 to 57 storeys each. The first phase being proposed is for offices and housing along the Kingsway frontage. The developers hope to start construction in 2012 with the entire phased project expected to take about 10 years to complete.
Bosa Properties’ Sovereign, currently under construction at the northeast corner of Willingdon and Kingsway, will be 500 feet tall, with a 169-room hotel topped by 202 units of condominiums. It sold out in six hours last February.
Polygon’s 37-storey Chancellor highrise, next to Bonsor Recreation Centre, also sold out quickly and is under construction, with a 35-storey tower by Concord Pacific Holdings Ltd. set for a site kitty-corner, on the other side of Nelson Avenue. New condo towers are also earmarked for sites on Beresford Street at Dow and Telford avenues.
Metrotower III, the third office tower in the complex adjacent to Metropolis at Metrotown mall, recently announced it will restart construction in January after work was halted due to the effects of the 2008 economic downturn.
Luksun said city hall will be working with TransLink in the new year on a redesign for the Metrotown SkyTrain station to better integrate it with the surrounding area and the planned redevelopment projects.
As it is for the rest of the city, redevelopment is moving ahead according to plans that have been in place for many years.
“Council is very consistent in its application of policies and plans,” he said. “It makes the rules and guidelines for the development community quite clear.”