Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Millennium project stalled

According to the following story in the Burnaby Now, a project by Millennium Development is either being delayed or has been taken off the shelf completely.  A Public Hearing on the project was to happen last week but was cancelled.


Proposed 46-storey tower in limbo

Olympic Village developer behind proposed highrise recently withdrawn from public hearing

On March 19, three rezonings were up for public input, except for the highrise proposed for Gilmore Ave. with a three-storey townhouse podium facing Halifax Street and a two-storey residential amenity podium that included a rooftop swimming pool.
Coun. Colleen Jordan, who attended the public hearing, said she could not comment on why the proposed tower was withdrawn.
Now the proposal is in limbo - it will either go to a future public hearing with changes or not go ahead at all.
The site's developer is Millenium Development, which has also developed 10 other highrises in the city, including Mayfair Place, Belvedere and One University Crescent in the SFU community.
The award-winning company also designed and built the Olympic Village Community in Vancouver covering 25 acres with 21 multi-storey buildings and 70,000 square feet of retail space. It served as the Athletes' Village during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
According to a planning and building report from the Feb. 25 council meeting, the site is made up of three lots on Gilmore, which are currently zoned under the manufacturing and industrial district zoning. A deli and sausage manufacturer, a vacant car lot and an auto body repair shop occupy the lots now.
If the proposal went through public hearing and had been later approved by council, it would have been designated for a high-density, multiple family development part of the Brentwood Town Centre Development Plan.
Under the density bonus program, about $6.5 million would have been given to the city as a cash-in-lieu contribution for use toward a future community amenity - if the proposal was approved.
Jordan pointed out at the Feb. 25 council meeting that the developer had committed to providing the residents of up to 51 units two-zone transit passes for two years, twice the required secured bicycle parking and 34 electric vehicle plug-in stations, which would have included all necessary wiring, electrical transformer and mechanical ventilation modifications and four electric vehicles for the future strata corporation.
There was also intent to pursue green building practices by achieving a Silver (equivalency) rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Adam Nour of Millenium Developments did not respond to the Burnaby Now's request for comment by press deadline.
For more information about the developer, visit www.milleniumdevelopment.com.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BMO, McDonalds and IHOP moving by 2014

I prematurely blogged last year about a plan to relocate the Bank of Montreal by the fall of 2012 to make room for the construction of the Entertainment Plaza during Phase 1 of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment (BMR).  I've heard from the grape vine that the entire mall front from BMO to the IHOP will be torn down to make room for the new development and plans are being made to relocate the affected businesses to other locations in the mall.  Phase 1 of the BMR is expected to begin in early 2014 pending a public hearing sometime this year. Whereas the BMO's relocation in the mall shouldn't be too complicated, the same can't be said about IHOP and McDonalds.

IHOP to move

Where the IHOP restaurant will move is potentially a complicated matter.  The only existing location in the mall where a restaurant might be able to go in would be the recently vacated restaurant inside the old Zellers location on the west side of the mall.  Of course, the entrance to the old restaurant used to be from inside the Zellers.  A way around this would be to renovate and build an external entrance into where the old restaurant stood to allow IHOP to remain in business with a separate entrance into the restaurant.  The other option could be to merely close down the IHOP and not reopen either until the BMR has created a new space for it, or to close it down permanently.  I hope it remains in the mall as there sure aren't many restaurants (if any) nearby that can satisfy a sudden craving for pancakes.

McDonalds to move

The Mcdonalds will also be required to move from its current location.  The same issue as IHOP arises regarding where a suitable place might be for a McDonalds restaurant.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Straight letter-writer dislikes density

There are always multiple views on issues.  The following letter was written to the Georgia Straight by a resident of Metrotown criticizing Burnaby's acceptance of high density developments in Metrotown.




Burnaby resident raises hell about rising towers


COUNCILLOR COLLEEN JORDAN and assistant director of current planning Ed Kozak seem to be wearing rose-coloured glasses when it comes to discussing town-centre development in Burnaby [“ Towers rise in Burnaby, all according to plan”, February 21-28]. Metrotown where I live is already overdeveloped and yet many more huge developments are ready to go. Jordan and Kozak justify the density of development at Metrotown with the fact that the SkyTrain runs through that part of Burnaby.
Have they tried to board SkyTrain at the Metrotown station at practically any time of the day or evening? SkyTrain comes from the already heavily developed city of Surrey and is usually full by the time it reaches Metrotown.
The ability and capacity of SkyTrain to carry more passengers, in my opinion, has reached its limit. People are already opting to drive their cars instead of taking SkyTrain, and the consequence is log-jammed automobile traffic on Kingsway to and through Metrotown. Putting more towers into this area is inviting even more congestion.
The quality of the street-level environment is another issue. One has only to look at Hazel Street and Patterson Avenue to see how earlier tower developments were superior. At street level, one sees gardens and trees, making for pleasant, spacious surroundings. The buildings themselves were fewer than 30 storeys. The newer developments are now reaching 40 or more, and at ground level, one sees ugly, square box-like townhouses.
Automobile traffic will increase dramatically, transit will be impossible, and the Bonsor Recreation Complex will be even more crowded. Infrastructure and services—police, fire, safety, sewage, water, and power—will need to be upgraded and enlarged, adding huge costs to the city.
Ecodensity is an idea that has been oversold. I would like to see Burnaby city council return to its policy of allowing development to proceed at a measured, closely monitored pace, as in the past.
> Gerald Weeks / Burnaby

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Burnaby Mayor on Solo District

The following video links were found on skyscraperpage with comments on the Solo District Development.  Through the above link, there are other video links on Solo District. Skyscraperpage.com is a great site with informative forum threads on various developments around the world.

Mayor Derek Corrigan
video

Jason Bernstein of Chris Dikeakos Architects
video

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Details missed when driving

Having lived in North Burnaby most of my life, I 'd like to think that I know the place quite well.  At least I thought I did until I took a stroll along Douglas Rd south of Lougheed Hwy.  It made me realize (aside from the fact that I AM focused on my driving) that driving really prevents us from appreciating the intricacies that give our neighbourhoods their character.

Walking along Douglas Road towards Habitat for Humanity at Douglas and Goring, I was surprised to find R2O Coffee House, and even more surprised that I have never noticed it considering that I have been an occasional browser at Habitat For Humanity's Restore over the past 7 years.




Friday, March 8, 2013

Brentlawn Drive needs stop signs

A common concern that unites proponents and opponents of major high rise developments adjacent to single-family neighbourhoods is the proliferation of automobile traffic.  I've previously pointed out the fact that many drivers already speed through Brentlawn Drive with absolute impunity as I've never seen police authorities place their already under-supported resources on enforcing traffic laws in Brentwood Park.  This problem will become even worse once the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment unfolds over the next 5 - 20 years.

The following video provides a brief glimpse into some of the perils faced by pedestrians at the intersection of Beta Ave and Brentlawn Drive.  This intersection has stop signs on Beta Ave but gives vehicles and pedestrians on Brentlawn Drive the right-of-way.  In the video, many pedestrians crossing the intersection are simply ignored by drivers as if they don't exist.  Many drivers approaching Brentlawn simply ignore the stop sign by rolling right through it even when there are pedestrians at the intersection with the right of way as they are on Brentlawn Drive trying to cross Beta Ave.  A solution to this would be to place stop signs on Brentlawn Drive and to install well marked crosswalks at the intersection.  Significant coloured markings on crosswalks are effective traffic calming measures as drivers are less likely to recklessly encroach onto a well marked, highly visible crossing without concern for public safety.



Public hearing for project next to Aviara

CORRECTION March 19
:
Somebody kindly pointed out the fact that I have been confusing 2 different projects as 1 project that I've believed to be the Aviara development.  In fact, the article below is a project that is separate from the Aviara development and is being built by Ledingham McAllister.  This project will involve the expansion of the Willingdon Heights Community Centre land as Douglas road is take taken up by the expanded park space.  The Aviara project is situated next to this project.


The project will go to public hearing on March 19 at Burnaby City Hall at 7pm.  The project will include a 340 unit high rise tower at Halifax and Gilmore.

Burnaby Now article below:


46-storey highrise goes to public hearing

Four rezonings could see more than 500 new housing units built



A proposed 46-storey highrise apartment building on Gilmore Avenue is up for discussion at a public hearing this month.
On March 19, the public will be able to look at plans for the site, which include the proposed tower with a three-storey townhouse podium facing Halifax Street and a two-storey residential amenity podium on Gilmore Avenue that includes a rooftop swimming pool, which will require rezoning. The tower is expected to have about 340 apartment units.
"The proposed development concept provides a strong street-oriented relationship to its two bounding street frontages, as well as a strong contextual relationship to surrounding existing and planned development," states Lou Pelletier, Burnaby's director of planning and building, in his report to council. "Overall, the subject proposal is considered to exemplify exceptional urban design and architectural expression related to the building's sit-ing, massing, pedestrian orientation and materiality; meeting the standard expected."
The site is made up of three lots on Gilmore, which are currently zoned under the manufacturing and industrial district zoning. A deli and sausage manufacturer, a vacant car lot and an auto body repair shop currently occupy the lots. If approved, the site will be designated for a high-density, multiple family development part of the Brentwood Town Centre Development Plan.
"The site is also considered suitable for the proposed development given its strategic location in relation to the Millenium SkyTrain line and the nearby Gilmore SkyTrain line," the report states.
The proposal calls for a progressive landscape treatment for the bounding streets, including separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities on Gilmore Avenue and separated sidewalks along Halifax Street.
"The landscape design also provides for on-site pedestrian lighting and a lit public pedestrian pathway along the south property line to be protected by statutory right-of-way, providing access to Gilmore Avenue for the residents of the Marquis Grand at 4132 Halifax St."
If approved, under the density bonus program, about $6.5 million will be taken by the city as a cash-in-lieu contribution for use toward a future community amenity. Twenty per cent of the total ($1.3 million) will be allocated to the affordable/special needs housing sub-account and the remainder will be available for future community amenities, including park improvements and housing, according to the report.
The developer has committed to providing the residents of up to 51 units two-zone transit passes for two years, twice the required secured bicycle parking and 34 electric vehicle plug-in stations, which will include all necessary wiring, electrical transformer and mechanical ventilation modifications and four electric vehicles for the future strata corporation.
Coun. Colleen Jordan said obtaining these extra elements comes from the staff's hard work cooperating with the developer.
"They try to think outside the box and incorporate these novel ideas," she said.
Jordan said bonuses such as electric car plug-ins and transit passes makes a difference to buyers.
The developer intends to pursue green building practices by achieving a Silver (equivalency) rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
The public hearing will also see the plans for three other projects, including two projects that will sit next to each other on Lane Street.
The first phase of the site will have 185 units built over three lots at 5401 and 5437 Lane St. and 5390 Grimmer St.
The second phase will be built on the adjacent property, 5309 Lane St. It will see an 80-apartment unit, four-storey mixed-use development.
Another site seeking rezoning is a stacked townhouse development on Kingsway Avenue, which will be three-storeys in height, with 20 three-bedroom townhouse units and underground parking.
The public hearing is on Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in city hall chambers.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Traffic signals

New traffic signals are being installed on Rosser Ave and Lougheed Highway and at the intersection of Madison Ave and Dawson Street.  The signals at Madison and Dawson will improve on an existing marked crossing that has been inadequate at best at night due to poor lighting over the crosswalk.



The signals at Rosser and Lougheed will open up a north-south pedestrian crossing but will continue to prevent vehicles from crossing through.  In the future,  it will be an important crosswalk connecting the north and south sides of Lougheed Hwy next to the Solo District that will house Whole Foods.