Friday, September 30, 2011

More on Solo District in Burnaby Now article

The Solo District project on the SW corner of Lougheed and Willingdon received more coverage in the following Burnaby Now article.  The story highlights the issue of businesses being displaced by construction of residential high-rise towers in the Brentwood neighbourhood.  While the story below only mentions GoodYear Tire Centre on Willingdon Ave, nothing has yet been mentioned about Milestones restaurant (NW corner of the project site) which has been in the neighbourhood since at least the 1990s.

A proposal for a large development in Brentwood has a local business owner concerned for the future of his automotive shop.
Randy Wong, owner and manager of Goodyear Ultimate Source Automotive at 2075 Willingdon Ave., is worried a mixeduse development planned for the corner of Willingdon Avenue and Lougheed Highway will push out his business.
Wong spoke about the issue at a public hearing on the rezoning for the development at Burnaby's city hall on Sept. 20.
"We've been there since 1988," he said in a phone interview last Thursday, adding the business has nearly 10,000 customers. "It's a matter of, if you're getting pushed out, where do you go?"
He is also concerned about the effect the situation might have on his employees. The automotive centre has nearly 20 employees at this time, he said, and also provides training opportunities for students in local high school and post-secondary automotive repair programs.
He is worried businesses like his will be pushed out of the city, as happened in Vancouver, said Wong, who has owned the business since 1993.
Wong has been looking for another space in the area for some time now.
"It's difficult to find something in comparison with what we have," he said, adding finding a property that offers longterm leases in the area is a challenge, as well.
As he has spent many years building the business there, Wong said he would like to stay in Brentwood.
The developer, Chris Dikeakos Architects, did not respond to requests for an interview.
Wong was on his way to speak with the city's director of planning and building,
Basil Luksun, when he spoke with the NOW.
Luksun spoke about the development in a phone interview last week.
The development would consist of four apartment buildings ranging in height from 39 storeys to 48 storeys, a 13-storey office tower, and retail and commercial space at the ground level, according to a report by Luksun.
The site is currently home to an auto dealership with vehicle storage space, a restaurant, an auto repair shop and other generalized light industrial/manufacturing facilities.
Businesses leasing property where the development is slated to go in would be governed by their individual lease agreements, Luksun said, something the city isn't involved in.
Now that council has heard the comments from the public hearing, he said, the rezoning for the development will be considered by council and could go to second reading.
Mayor Derek Corrigan spoke to the issue this Monday in a phone interview.
"We're looking at other areas we can designate for that kind of growth," he said of businesses such as Wong's. Corrigan used the example of Morrey Nissan, which he said wasn't pushed out of the city but instead was moved closer to the highway.
The point is to move businesses that service cars and car owners out of residential neighbourhoods to areas where cars are, such as along the highway, he explained.
"Goodyear and other (similar businesses) can expect that people are going to drive where they are and not take transit," Corrigan said.
The proposed Brentwood development includes plans to include two-zone bus passes for two years with 15 per cent of the residential units.
The developer also plans to put in twice the required bicycle parking spaces and participate in a car-sharing program.
The development would span 6.65 acres from Lougheed Highway to a lane north of Dawson Street, and from Willingdon to Rosser avenues.
If the rezoning goes through, the development would fall under the city's new 's' zoning designation.
The new zoning, introduced last winter, allows for greater density in some multi-family residential districts districts in exchange for building space or money that goes to the city for community and non-profit space.
Developers can then build taller towers in the four city centres, helping Burnaby deal with the population increase expected throughout the region, as mentioned in Metro Vancouver's regional growth strategy, according to the city.
Metro Vancouver has predicted that the 2006 population of 2.2 million people in the region will increase to 3.4 million people by 2041.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another mention of Solo District in article

An article mentioning Solo District from

Appia Proposing High Density Brentwood Development

Proposed mixed-use plan includes 1,350 units in four towers ranging from 39-48 storeys

Appia Developments has submitted a proposal to the City of Burnaby to rezone a 6 acre site at the Southwest corner of Lougheed and Willingdon to allow four residential high-rise apartment buildings ranging in height from 39 storeys to 48 storeys (in a mixed-use tower with a thirteen storey office component). The total density would be 1.9 Million square feet, or 7.1 FAR.
The proposed development also includes approximately 250,000 sq.ft. of office, and about 112,000 sq. ft. of commercial/retail fronting all bounding streets and the internal private road (Sumas Street). The proposed development is centred around a new public realm which includes significant plaza and green open/gathering space.

Not clear if Zellers a Target

According to the following Vancouver Sun story, Target Corp has added 84 Canadian Zellers stores to the list of stores either slated to become a Target store or to be sold to another American retailer such as Walmart.  After not making the list earlier in the year, Zellers Brentwood has made the cut this time. However it is not yet clear in the story if it will become a Target store or its lease sold to a competitor.

With Brentwood Mall actively pursuing a massive redevelopment that will transform the mall itself along with its surrounding parking lots into a mixed-use core in the Brentwood neighbourhood, it wouldn't be a surprise if Shape Properties (mall owner) contacted Target Corp to entice it to add the Brentwood Zellers to its list of stores to expand into.  Brentwood Mall will require a commitment from a retail giant such as Target to anchor an expanded and improved Brentwood Mall.

Vancouver Sun Story:

Target finalizes Canadian expansion with 84 additional Zellers leases
Target Corp. said Friday that it has selected its final leases of Zellers Inc. stores in Canada, laying the groundwork for the opening of 125 to 135 Target stores across the country by 2013.
The Minneapolis-based discount retailer said in January that would buy up to 220 leasehold interests of Zellers, a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Co., for $1.825 billion.
On Friday, the final selection was announced, adding 84 more Zellers leases and bringing the total number of selected sites to 189. Those sites that aren’t converted into Target stores either have been or will be sold to other entities, which could include Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The final list adds 11 locations to British Columbia, including Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Prince Rupert, Salmon Arm, Dawson Creek and Victoria.
On the Lower Mainland, Target has zeroed in on the Brentwood Mall in Burnaby, Lynn Valley Centre in North Vancouver, Central City Mall in Surrey and Lansdowne Centre in Richmond.
Earlier, the company announced that it would take over store leases at 15 Zellers locations in B.C., from Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre, Coquitlam Centre and Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby to the Abbotsford Power Centre and Cottonwood Mall in Chilliwack.
The locations were selected after an analysis of trade areas based on demographics, competition and market potential, Target Canada president Tony Fisher said in an interview with The Sun in January.
In a media release issued Friday, Fisher called Target’s most recent announcement “another meaningful step toward our expansion in Canada.”
The company plans to spend up to $11 million to convert the Zellers stores into Targets. Most of them will open in 2013 after a six- to nine-month rehabilitation period.
Until the remodelling begins, the company said, they will be subleased to Zellers and continue to operate as such.
Each Target store would employ 150 to 200 people. Target has already begun the hiring process.
— Vancouver Sun with files from McClatchy Newspapers and ReutersList of Target’s second and final selection of 11 additional Zellers leases in British Columbia (includes potential Target stores and leases sold to other retailers):
4567 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby, BC — Brentwood Mall
11000 8th St., No. 1, Dawson Creek, BC — Dawson Mall
945 Columbia St. W., Kamloops, BC — Sahali Centre Mall
1876 Cooper Road, Kelowna, BC — Orchard Park Plaza
2210 Main St., Suite 100, Penticton, BC — Penticton Power Centre
500 Second Ave. W., Prince Rupert, BC — Rupert Square
8311 Landsdowne Road, Richmond, BC — Lansdowne Centre
1151 10th Ave. S.W., #400, Salmon Arm, BC — Piccadilly Place Mall
10151 King George Highway, Surrey, BC — Surrey Place/Central City
1175 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver, BC – Lynn Valley Centre
1610 Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC — Hillside Shopping Centre


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are we dense enough already?

The following letter regarding density is from the Burnaby NewsLeader.

Burnaby NewsLeader - Letters

    Burnaby should spread density around

    The original proposal had only three towers that were 11 to 14 storeys shorter, and also promised to have two office towers.
    Meanwhile, in Metrotown the Beedie Group is proposing adding four residential towers to its Station Square property up to 57 storeys high. The original proposal for this large site included a 25 storey office tower and two much smaller residential towers.
    What is concerning about these two proposals is the increased street congestion that will result from the density bonus process, the lack of public consultation respecting the bylaw amendment that allows these densities and building heights and the expectation that current Metrotown and Brentwood residents will continue to bear the brunt of population growth in the city.
    According to Metro Vancouver, in 2001 there were approximately 32 persons per acre living in the Metrotown area, a 3.07 sq. km. space. I’m certain that in the last 10 years this density is approaching 40. Metrotown’s density is well above what is considered a “compact neighbourhood” and is approaching a density close to what is called a “pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood,” and this has been achieved without resorting to constructing towers above 30 storeys. It is unfair for City Hall to expect residents in the Metrotown area to absorb greater and greater numbers of people and residents, while other neighbourhoods in Burnaby continue to live at densities far below what is considered “compact.”
    Three single lots can certainly accommodate at least 20 dwellings through the construction of low-rise apartments.
    Add a floor or two, and we can increase neighbourhood densities substantially and still be “neighbourly.” Between 2001 and 2006 Burnaby saw a 1.36 per cent drop in the inventory of single- and two-family homes. High rise dwellings jumped 14.5 per cent, but family-friendlier low-rise dwellings grew only eight per cent.
    Through careful planning and assembly of single lots, allowing for four or five-storey low-rises, protection of industrial, commercial and agricultural land, smart transit planning and proper public consultation, Burnaby could become a model for sustainability.
    The municipal Green Party will be running a slate of candidates in November. We favour a multi-pronged approach to accommodating growth that will preserve the integrity of neighbourhoods, strengthen belongingness within the community and promote use of alternate modes of transportation. We will work hard to put sustainable development decisions into the hands of the people in communities rather than solely in the hands of city staffers and developers whose influence has increased under the current administration.

    Rick McGowan
    Burnaby Green Party

    What will become of Zellers?

    Since Zellers Brentwood did not make the first cut in Target's plans to convert its newly acquired Zellers sites into a Target Stores, it is possible that another US retailer will purchase the lease for the store space.  Recently, it was announced by Walmart that it is working out an agreement to expand into some of Target's newly acquired space in Canada.  However, it is highly unlikely that Walmart will be coming to Brentwood as it already has a presence nearby on Grandview Hwy between Boundary Rd and Rupert St in Vancouver along with a store in Lougheed Mall.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Dismay expressed over loss of view

    The Solo District project drew the ire of residents of a tower located north of Lougheed Hwy.  Although some of them expressed their looking forward to the new commercial amenities that will be a part of the new development, they expressed their displeasure over losing their southern view when the new residential towers are erected between Willingdon and Rosser on the south side of Lougheed Hwy.  They further complained of the loss of their property value once the view is interrupted by the residential towers slated to be as much as 49 stories high.   City of Burnaby Counsellor Volkow pointed out to an affected resident who had purchased their condo 3 years ago that the Solo District Project was on the books prior to her purchasing her home implying that she should have been aware about what will occur in the future in this rapidly changing area.

    The affected residents must realize that their high-rise tower must have blocked someone else's view when it was built and that the impetus that spurred the development of their high-rise is the same as the one spurring the Solo District Project.

    They also expressed their concern about increased automobile traffic as more people begin to live in the area.  Some residents say that traffic has already become a problem and that  more tall towers will exacerbate the problem.

    The question that should be asked in reaction to these questions is this; "How will traffic issues be resolved if the towers are built elsewhere and cars still have to go through Brentwood to get to downtown or wherever else they are going?  Increased auto traffic will definitely be an issue if people moving into the neighbourhood are going to use their cars instead of transit.  In my opinion, it is automobile users that are causing traffic and they are the ones suffering from increased traffic.  At some point, drivers must begin to realize that they are part of the problem if not THE problem.  That being said, it is very likely that the draw for people to live in Brentwood is the fact that it is a transit hub that will provide most of the amenities for daily living within walking distance.

    Along with concerns about car traffic, some citizens mentioned that the area around Brentwood is not very pedestrian-friendly at the moment and that the increasing numbers of pedestrians resulting from densification in Brentwood will increase safety issues.  A resident of Halifax St pointed out that she has observed pedestrians crossing Lougheed Hwy on Rosser Ave where a pedestrian intersection currently does not exist as is the case at Willingdon Ave to the east and Madison Ave to the west.

    Another resident of the area mentioned the parking pressures that have come with allowing on average only 1 parking stall or less per new residential unit in new developments.  The speaker pointed out that many renters in the new buildings are students of nearby post secondary institutions that have cars with no onsite parking available.  The result has been increased numbers of cars parked on side streets throughout the area.

    Burnaby City Council asked the developer to address traffic and parking issues in its development proposal and adjourned the hearing.

    As more high-rise towers are built, I hope that the city will consider the elements that make neighbourhoods more pedestrian friendly while effectively dealing with automobile traffic flow issues.
    I believe that that the Solo District project is an important step in the densification of Brentwood.  Densification of a neighbourhood not only brings increased numbers of people; it encourages a diverse and increased number of commercial amenities that otherwise would not exist.   Increased numbers of people means increased numbers of pedestrians which leads to an awareness of the need for pedestrian-friendly initiatives that improve the vibrance of the neighbourhood.  Without large numbers of people, a vibrant street life will not become established in the neighbourhood.

    Goodyear Tire Service 'silently being pushed out'

    I had an opportunity to attend the public hearing regarding the Solo District project last night.  The hearing, which gave an opportunity for locals to voice their opinions, brought out a business owner that will be required to move out of the site of the project at Willingdon Ave and Lougheed Hwy.

    "We are just silently being pushed out," stated the owner of Goodyear Tire Service which has been on the west side of Willingdon Ave just north of Dawson Street since 1988.  Goodyear Tire has not yet been given a date to clear the premises to make way for the project.  According to the City of Burnaby, although the rezoning of the property will not disqualify businesses such as Goodyear Tire to continue operations there, whether or not they are welcome to be a part of the future development will depend on Bosa Development Corp which will build Solo District.  The owner of Goodyear stated that although he has proposed staying within the new development, Bosa has not responded.  As a result he has been searching for a new site within a 2-3 km radius of the current location.

    Goodyear Tire Service has been a sponser of local school programs in Burnaby including an apprenticeship program for BCIT students. The owner left City Council with the following question for consideration as the Brentwood area changes due to the pressures of development; "What happens to industry?"

    The question of which types of businesses will fit in and be "compatible" with the transformation of the Brentwood neighbourhood will become more prominent as other businesses find themselves on the outside looking in as they are forced to move elsewhere.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Brentwood Crossing project titled Solo District

    The Solo District project, previously known as Brentwood Crossing,  will go to a public hearing this Tuesday at Burnaby City Hall (Sept 20).  I am going to try to make it out for the public hearing to get a feel for what issues or concerns are brought forth from the public.  I was able to take a photo of the project site map displayed on the rezoning application board at the site on Willingdon Ave.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Lougheed Hwy commercial front to be part of Brentwood Mall development

    According to the August 29 City of Burnaby council meeting minutes, it appears that the Brentwood Mall development will include the construction of street-level commercial space fronting Lougheed Hwy between Beta Ave and Brentwood Station.  The appearance of commercial storefronts will dramatically transform the look of Lougheed Hwy.

    As for what will occupy the area above the commercial/retail front, details are have not yet been mentioned.  It will most likely be commercial office space which will either take the form of low or high-rises.  It will be interesting to see how the Lougheed-facing commercial spaces will be connected for access to and from  the rest of the inner property where other phases of the project will take place.

    As for one of the items on my wish list for the mall project; since Tim Horton's has seen it's parking spaces encroached upon by the increasing numbers of Steve Nash Fitness World patrons, hopefully it will relocate to one of the newly developed spaces at Brentwood Mall.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Brentwood Mall development mentioned at Burnaby City Council meeting

    The Brentwood Mall development was brought up for discussion at the City of Burnaby Council meeting on August 29th.

    7.              Rezoning Reference #06-47
                  Mixed-Use Retail, Office and Apartment Towers
                  Brentwood Town Centre                           

    The City Manager submitted a report from the Director Planning and Building seeking Council authorization to forward this application to a Public Hearing on 2011 September 20.  The purpose of the proposed rezoning bylaw amendment is to permit development of a major mixed-use residential/commercial project.

    The City Manager recommended:

    1.              THAT the introduction of a Highway Closure Bylaw be authorized according to the terms outlined in Section 4.4 of this report, contingent upon the granting by Council of Second Reading of the subject Rezoning Bylaw.

    2.              THAT the sale be approved in principle of City-owned property for inclusion within the subject development site in accordance with the terms outlined in Section 4.4 of this report and subject to the applicant pursuing the rezoning proposal to completion.

    3.              THAT a Rezoning Bylaw be prepared and advanced to First Reading on 2011 August 29, and to a Public Hearing on 2011 September 20 at 7:00 p.m.

    4.              THAT the predecessor Rezoning Bylaw, Amendment Bylaw No. 40/08, Bylaw No. 12491, be abandoned contingent upon the granting by Council of Second Reading of the subject Rezoning Bylaw.

    5.              THAT the following be established as prerequisites to the completion of the rezoning:

    a)              The submission of a suitable plan of development.

    b)              The deposit of sufficient monies, including a 4% Engineering Inspection Fee, to cover the costs of all services necessary to serve the site and the completion of a servicing agreement covering all requisite services.  All services are to be designed to City standards and constructed in accordance with the Engineering Design.  One of the conditions for the release of occupancy permits will be the completion of all requisite services.

    c)              The installation of all electrical, telephone and cable servicing, and all other wiring underground throughout the development, and to the point of connection to the existing service where sufficient facilities are available to serve the development.

    d)              The removal of all existing improvements from the site prior to Final Adoption of the Bylaw, but not prior to Third Reading of the Bylaw. 

                  Demolition of any improvements will be permitted after Second Reading of the Rezoning Bylaw has been granted provided that the applicant acknowledges that such permission does not fetter Council’s ability to grant or not to grant Third Reading and/or Final Adoption of the Rezoning Bylaw.  In addition, the demolition of any improvements will be permitted at any time if they are vacant and considered by staff to be subject to misuse and vandalism.

    e)                The utilization of an amenity bonus through the provision of a 4,570 sq. ft. community “flex” space owned by the City and established through the creation of an airspace parcel and protected by a 219 Covenant in accordance with Section 4.3 of this report.

    f)              The utilization of an amenity density bonus through the deposit of funds equal to the estimated remainder value of the density bonus in accordance with Section 4.3 of this report.

    g)              The consolidation of the net project site into one legal parcel.

    h)              The granting of any necessary covenants, including, but not necessarily limited to, Section 219 Covenants:

    • restricting the enclosure of balconies,
    • restricting development to those phases which have contributed related amenity bonus funds,
    • indicating that project surface driveway accesses will not be restricted by gates,
    • allocating development densities on the overall site,
    • guaranteeing provision and maintenance of public art,
    • ensuring commercial entrances on Lougheed Highway remain open and operable,
    • restricting commercial/retail uses fronting Lougheed Highway from having obscured fenestration,
    • to assure the provision and continuing maintenance of end-of-trip facilities for cyclists and bicycle storage rooms, and
    • providing that all disabled parking to remain as common property. 

    i)              The granting of a Section 219 Covenant for the provision of three surface car co-op spaces per residential tower, with cars and memberships for the residential units to be held as common property in accordance with Section 4.2 of this report.  

    j)              The granting of any necessary easements.

    k)                The provision of statutory rights-of-way guaranteeing public access to a north-south pedestrian walkway linking Lougheed Highway to the internal public plaza area through the commercial buildings and guaranteeing public access to the proposed plaza, public open space and pedestrian walkway/linkage areas. 

    l)              The provision of a statutory right-of-way guaranteeing public access to an east-west vehicular and pedestrian route (private road) connecting Rosser Avenue to Willingdon Avenue. 

    m)                The provision of a statutory right-of-way securing area for a future landing of a possible grade-separated pedestrian crossing of Willingdon Avenue south of Lougheed Highway.

    n)                Compliance with the guidelines for surface and underground parking for residential visitors and commercial patrons.

    o)                Submission of the applicant’s schedule for the construction / development phasing of the subject proposal. 

    p)              The dedication of any rights-of-way deemed requisite.

    q)              The completion of the sale of City property.

    r)              The provision of covered car wash stalls and adequately sized and appropriately located garbage handling and recycling material holding space to the approval of the Director Engineering within the residential portions of the development and a commitment to implement the recycling provisions.

    s)              The approval of the Ministry of Transportation to the rezoning application.

    t)              The design and provision of units adaptable to persons with disabilities (the provision of special hardware and cabinet work being subject to the sale/lease of the unit to a disabled person) with allocated disabled parking spaces.

    u)              The submission of a suitable on-site stormwater management system to the approval of the Director Engineering, the deposit of sufficient monies for its provision, and the granting of a Section 219 Covenant to guarantee its provision and continuing operation.

    v)              The deposit of the applicable GVS & DD Sewerage Charge.

    w)              The deposit of the applicable Parkland Acquisition Charge.

    x)              The deposit of the applicable School Site Acquisition Charge.

    y)              Completion of the Highway Closure Bylaw.

    z)              The provision of facilities for cyclists in accordance with this report.

    aa)              The undergrounding of existing overhead wiring adjacent to the site.

    bb)              Compliance with the Council-adopted sound criteria.

    cc)              The review of a detailed Sediment Control System by the Director Engineering.

    dd)              The submission of a Site Profile and resolution of any arising requirements.

    ee)              The submission of a written undertaking to distribute area plan notification forms, prepared by the City, with disclosure statements; and, to post area plan notification signs, also prepared by the City, on the development site and in the sales office in prominent and visible locations prior to Third Reading, or at the time marketing for the subject development commences, whichever is first, and remain posted for a period of one year, or until such time that all units are sold, whichever is greater.

    Community amenities discussed for Rosser and Lougheed

    Although specific details were not discussed, the community spaces slated to accompany the Vantage and Brentwood Crossing developments at Rosser and Lougheed were mentioned at the August 29th Burnaby City Council meeting.

    City of Burnaby

        Community Development Committee
                  Re:               Community Benefit Derived Through
                                Rezoning #06-47
                                4420, 4444 Lougheed Highway; 2060 Rosser
                                Avenue; 4461, 4408 Sumas Street & 2131
                                Willingdon Avenue                           

    The Community Development Committee submitted a report recommending on-site amenity space and a cash-in-lieu contribution as the approved community benefits to be derived through Rezoning Reference #06-47 for a large mixed-use commercial-residential project at the subject address.

    The Community Development Committee recommended:

    1.              THAT Council approve the on-site amenity space and a cash-in-lieu contribution as the community benefits to be derived through the density bonus granted to Rezoning Reference #06-47.

     Proposal Call Process for Community Amenity Space at
                  Rosser Avenue and Lougheed Highway (RZ #08-06)             

    The City Manager submitted a report from the Director Planning and Building seeking Council approval to initiate a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to identify a community organization(s) to occupy City-owned non-profit office/program space in a mixed use development at 2085 Rosser Avenue (at Lougheed Highway).

    The City Manager recommended:

    1.              THAT Council endorse the proposed process to select a non-profit tenant(s) for a community amenity space associated with RZ #08-06, as outlined in Sections 2.0 and 3.0 of this report.