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Crucial Burnaby Edmonds site sold to developer

The Value Village property in Burnaby
The Value Village property in Burnaby's Edmonds area has been sold to developers.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

The Burnaby Value Village site at Kingsway and Edmonds Street has been sold to a developer, the latest step in the area's revitalization.

Cressey Developments' purchase of the three-acre property closed last week, confirmed Hani Lammam, Cressey's vice-president of development.

The site has been acquired for redevelopment, "but our plans are very preliminary at this stage," Lammam said. "It could be mixed-use, it could be pure commercial, it's probably too early to say at this time."

Value Village would remain as a tenant for the time being, he said. Once the leasing agreements are worked out Cressey would then work towards an application for rezoning.

"What we're looking to do, of course, is to look in the neighbourhood, understand the neighbourhood, try and figure out what the community is looking for and try and fulfill that need."

Vancouver-based Cressey Developments started out in 1969 as a builder of multi-family residential projects but in the past 10 years has diversified into developing retail, office, hotel, industrial and mixed-use projects throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Washington state, according to its website.

Among its current projects is the planned redevelopment of the Ridge Theatre site on the west side of Vancouver.

According to Burnaby's director of planning, Basil Luksun, under the Edmonds Town Centre Plan, the Value Village site is designated for future high-density, mixed-use development.

Burnaby Coun. Paul McDonell said what city hall is trying to do on larger redevelopment sites is to have open space, with outdoor cafes and gathering places where people can just sit and talk.

"We want a real community-type development."

McDonell said he could see something on the Edmonds site similar to what is being proposed as part of the transformation of Station Square mall up the road on Kingsway. If approved, that 12-acre property could eventually be home to five residential towers, pedestrian shopping streets, retail and offices.

Eventually, he said, all four corners of the intersection at Edmonds and Kingsway will be redeveloped. Bosa Properties' condominium towers and the Tommy Douglas Library behind it have dramatically changed that corner that was long a vacant lot. The Rona store site will likely be redeveloped, he said, and city hall has yet to decide what to do with the Edmonds senior centre site when the centre moves early next year into the new Edmonds Community Centre, currently under construction.

Redevelopment of the Value Village site will be "huge" for the community, bringing more people into the area and adding to the city's tax base, McDonell said.

He expects more change will come to the neighbourhood once the city completes its update to the Edmonds-Sixth Street plan sometime in late summer or early fall.

"Developers, everybody's holding off, I think, waiting to see what kind of design we're coming up with."

Burnaby city hall will also factor into the changes, he said, noting that it's been buying up properties off Edmonds Street over the past eight or nine years with the intention of building off-street parking lots to serve local shops, restaurants and other businesses, just like in the Heights neighbourhood along Hastings Street.

As for Value Village, a company official did not return messages by the NewsLeader's requesting comment on the land sale and the Burnaby store's future.

However, back in March, a City of New Westminster planning report stated that the proponent of a new building in Queensborough, Beedie Development Group, is proposing to include Value Village as a tenant.

The Beedie proposal is for a 45,530-square-foot building between Starlight Casino and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. Value Village would take up 30,000 square feet of the space, the report said. Its Edmonds and Kingsway store is less than six kilometres away.

But it will be some time before Beedie can start construction. It still needs to get all the required approvals from New Westminster city hall and to preload the part of the property on which it plans to build.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twittter.com/WandaChow

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