First Brentwood mall tower approved

Burnaby Coun. Pietro Calendino -
Burnaby Coun. Pietro Calendino
— image credit:

The first tower in the redevelopment of Brentwood mall is a go.

Burnaby council gave approval in principle Monday to the rezoning that will allow the first highrise in Phase 1 of the 28-acre site to go ahead.

Mall owner Shape Properties Corp. plans to build a 53-storey tower on top of a three-storey commercial podium at the southwest corner of the mall property at Willingdon Avenue and Lougheed Highway. The tower itself will be located at the corner of Willingdon and Halifax Street.

It will include 591 apartment units, of which 300—on the first 25 floors—are intended to be rental units owned and operated by Shape and its funding partners.

The decision comes despite concerns raised by Burnaby residents at the public hearing in February around public consultation, density, traffic, and other potential impacts on the area.

A city staff report responded to the concerns, noting the site was identified for high-density residential back in 1996 as part of the Brentwood Town Centre Development Plan.

The master plan approved earlier for the site calls for 11 residential towers and two office towers in total. The tallest buildings would be closest to the corner of Willingdon and Lougheed and sloping downwards as they approach the single-family neighbourhood to the north.

It also allows for two proposed towers within Phase 1 to be up to 70 storeys. The proposed first tower is lower than that, the report said.

Numerous traffic studies have been done on the site and "it is not anticipated that there will be a significant impact to traffic and street parking on adjacent residential streets to the north and northwest." The developer is required to analyze traffic of  surrounding roads both before and after people move in to the highrise and respond to any unforeseen impacts, it said.

The "development proposal remains supportable."

Mayor Derek Corrigan noted that while media reports often point out opposition to a project, the record shows many at the public hearing were in support of the development.

Indeed, there were 53 written and verbal submissions in support and 28 expressing concerns, according to the report.

There is a "spectrum of opinion on issues like this," Corrigan said.

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said he supported the project but will continue to keep an eye on reducing the impact on transit users. Construction has required the bus loop on mall property be removed, and bus stops moved to adjacent streets.

Coun. Pietro Calendino said construction naturally causes inconvenience but noted there will be benefits to transit users. The distance to the SkyTrain station from new bus stops will be shorter than those for the bus loop. And the developer is giving money to TransLink to build a new elevator to the station to improve access for people with disabilities.

"That's a positive we cannot really forget," Calendino said. "It's something that does not exist now that will exist in the near future."

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