Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brentwood One sold out within hours

According to the Burnaby NewLeader article below, Brentwood One sold out within hours of opening for sales last Saturday.  The Brentwood One will be built at the corner of Halifax St and Willingdon Avenue.

First Brentwood mall tower sells out in hours

There was so much interest in the first tower at Brentwood mall that its marketers stopped advertising it two weeks before units went on sale Saturday.
"We felt there was enough demand, why throw gasoline on the fire at this point?" said Tracie McTavish, president of Rennie Marketing Systems.
It appears it was the right call. The first person in line showed up Wednesday afternoon. Eventually, those who camped out for days in tents led off the queue that ran along the outside and around the back of the sales centre at the northwest corner of the mall site.
While sales were supposed to start at noon on Saturday, Rennie staff opened the doors at 11 a.m. and by about 3:30 p.m., all 288 available units were sold, said McTavish.
The only remaining units, three penthouse suites, were not for sale because their designs have not been finalized yet. Those are expected to go on the market sometime in the fall.
Units snapped up Saturday ranged from $299,000 to $949,000, the latter for a three-bedroom suite.
"This is one of the few times in the recent past where there was a lot of end-users," McTavish said. He estimated 50 to 60 per cent of the buyers plan to live in the units.
The rest are "passive investors," such as people "tired of having money sitting in the bank earning nothing," see it as an alternative to an RRSP, or who bought for a son or daughter to move into.
A small portion of the investors would likely rent out their units, he said.
Many buyers were downsizing from homes in the area or have lived in North Burnaby before. All the buyers had addresses from across the Lower Mainland.
There was also a broad age range of buyers, from 20s to 70s, which "makes for a more vibrant community, not all young, not all old, it's a real mixed bag."
The first tower in Shape Properties' redevelopment of the 28-acre Brentwood mall site will be located at the southwest corner of the property, by the SkyTrain station. At 53 storeys on top of a three-storey commercial podium, the 300 units on the bottom half of the building will be dedicated rental units.
That wasn't an issue at all for the buyers, said McTavish, noting the rental suites will have a separate lobby and elevator and are expected to be high-end rental.
"Whether it sits and exists underneath you … it could be a building sitting across the parking lot from you," he said, noting the units for condo buyers all start on the 30th floor, giving them the best views.
The existing shopping centre is being retrofitted and new retail space will be built in the podium. All those services will be place before the first tower is ready for people to move in, he said.
As for those who didn't manage to buy in the first tower, about 100 people were issued special VIP cards that will give them first dibs on units in the proposed second tower. That project is currently going through the rezoning process at Burnaby city hall. If approved, sales are expected to happen in the fall.
"There was almost a hundred people who just took those and there's only 291 suites in the next tower."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brentwood One tower sells out on opening day

According to the skyscraperpage forum, Brentwood One sold out yesterday on its first day of offering.  This is great news for Shape Properties as it gives them the confidence to move ahead with future parts and phases of the project as it unfolds over the years.

More activity along Dawson Ave

With Onni Development already looking at developing the site around Gilmore Station including along Dawson Ave, 2 more sites are being considered a bit further east on or near Dawson Ave.  2450 Alpha Ave south of Dawson is up for a proposed tower by Solterra Development and now the 4300 block of Dawson west of Willingdon Ave at Madison is being eyed for a mid to high-rise development by Porte Development Corp which would include a commercial component fronting Dawson Ave.

According to the Burnaby NewsLeader article below, the huge plot of land that makes up the 2 Carter dealerships has been considered by the owners for their sale to make way for more development.  Such a development, if and when it happens, would rival, if not exceed the magnitude of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment.

More condos proposed for Brentwood industrial area

The industrial area in Brentwood town centre south of Lougheed Highway could continue its transformation into a residential neighbourhood if two projects get the okay from Burnaby council.
Solterra Acquisition Corp. has applied for a rezoning of 2450 Alpha Ave., a parcel of almost one acre between Dawson and Alaska streets. It proposes building a high-rise apartment building with apartments or townhouses at a podium level to camouflage the above-ground parking.
City staff are proposing guidelines for the area bordered by Dawson and Alaska streets and Alpha and Beta avenues taking into account factors such as geotechnical and groundwater issues, according to a report on the Solterra application.
The proposed guidelines are that the area result in a mix of six to eight mid- to high-rise apartment buildings ranging in height from 15 to 30 storeys. Podium-level apartments or townhouses, potentially used to screen above-ground parking structures, would be a maximum of four storeys along fronting streets. Retail would be considered at ground level along Dawson.
City staff have encouraged Solterra to acquire the property next door, the site of the Carter automotive body shop at 2460 Alpha Ave., as part of its project. But the owner of that parcel is not willing to sell and has stated any future sale would be together with the rest of the Carter automotive dealership lands, the report said.
It noted that "a substantial portion" of the Carter auto body site is intended to be dedicated as road right-of-way for the extension of Alaska Street. That would make the remainder of the site too small for a future multi-family housing development.
Over on the other side of Willingdon Avenue, Porte Development Corp. has applied to rezone 4305 and 4349 Dawson St. on the northeast corner with Madison Avenue. It proposes constructing a six-storey, mixed-use building—five storeys of wood-frame construction above one level of concrete—with commercial space at street level, apartments above and full underground parking.
The six storey plan is due to the fact an underground rail tunnel is located on the eastern part of the site, a city staff report said.
"As the rail tunnel imposes significant challenges on the site in terms of building siting and underground parking, the site's available density is proposed to be coalesced west of the rail tunnel, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Dawson Street."
Burnaby planning director Lou Pelletier told council Monday that the six-storey height is "really dealing with the conditions of the site rather than setting the standard for Dawson."
Council gave city staff the go-ahead to work with both Solterra and Porte toward  development plans that could be presented at future public hearings.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Overnight lineup begins on eve of Brentwood One sales opening

Walking along Willingdon Ave this evening, I noticed camping tents being pitched in the parking lot at the northwest corner of the Brentwood Mall property.  Upon further observation, I noticed tents having been set up along the storefront of the presentation centre with people already beginning to line up to wait overnight to be among the first to purchase a unit in the first tower.  This is as of 8:45 pm on Friday evening.  Sales begin tomorrow at noon on Saturday June 21.

Monday, June 16, 2014

First tower proposed for Alpha south of Dawson

Solterra Development is proposing a 31 story tower at 2450 Alpha Ave.  If approved, it would be the first development approved south of Dawson between Beta and Willingdon Avenues.  Previous proposals for the same property have been left in limbo due to lack of clarification regarding zoning of the area.

Article below

David Taylor
Colliers International

31-Storey Tower Proposed for 

Brentwood Area

Solterra Development has submitted a rezoning application for a 31-storey residential tower at 2450 Alpha Avenue in the Brentwood area of Burnaby.

The site is 41,573 SF and is currently zoned M2 Industrial, but is designated as a “succession area” within the Brentwood Town Centre Plan, which allows a transition from industrial to residential. The proposed rezoning would be based on RM4s and would achieve approx. 3.6 FAR.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Section previously occupied by IHOP torn down

The section of the Brentwood Mall that housed the IHOP, the cleaners and Kin's Farm Market has been torn down in preparation for Phase One of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment.  This section is likely where an underground parking area entry/exit will be constructed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crosswalk coming to Beta Ave and Brentwood Drive

The City of Burnaby will install a pedestrian crosswalk at the sight of the recent fatal collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist.  It will be a welcome relief for both pedestrians and drivers alike.

Burnaby NewsLeader article below:

Brentwood intersection to get safety improvements

A section of Beta Avenue next to Brentwood mall will soon see safety improvements after a cyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle there last month.
The 62-year-old Burnaby man was killed May 6 at the intersection of Beta and Brentwood Drive. While plans were already in the works to make changes at the intersection in conjunction with the redevelopment of Brentwood mall, the incident "helped make it a higher priority," said Doug Louie, Burnaby's assistant director of engineering for transportation services.
A special pedestrian crosswalk will be installed at the north edge of the Beta Avenue driveway into the mall parking lot, Louie said. It will include curb bulges to narrow the street, pedestrian-activated amber lights, possibly on the sides of the road, and a reduction in the speed limit from the current 50 km/h.
Existing overhead flashing amber lights that warn motorists to slow down for the traffic signal down the steep hill at Lougheed Highway will likely be moved to the south edge of the mall driveway, he said.
The problems at that location are complex, with a combination of pedestrians, motorists, a steep hill, a driveway and a housing development, Brentwood Gate, across the street, all within 50 metres of Lougheed.
"It's not a great place to put a marked crosswalk," he said. "But if we're going to put a marked crosswalk you have to make it special because of the unusual circumstances."
The cost of the work will be shared between Burnaby city hall and mall owner Shape Properties. It's expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Beta Crossing dangerous long before fatal accident occurred

The unfortunate fatal car accident that occurred last month on Beta Ave involving a cyclist didn't happen out of the blue.  The scene of crossing pedestrians and cyclists at Brentwood Drive and Beta Ave is one of sheer chaos throughout the day as people race across the uncontrolled section of Beta Ave immediately north of Lougheed Hwy.

Cyclist killed in crash with car
A 62-year-old Burnaby man was killed when he was struck by a car while cycling in the Brentwood area Tuesday afternoon.
The incident happened at about 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Brentwood Drive and Beta Avenue.
The cyclist is believed to have been leaving the Brentwood Town Centre mall parking lot and was eastbound headed toward Brentwood Drive, said Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major John Buis. It's possible his view was obstructed by the hill and a lineup of idling traffic. The driver of the car was northbound up the hill on Beta and believed to be heading into the mall site.
The cyclist was not believed to be wearing a helmet and it's possible he failed to stop at a stop sign, Buis said Wednesday. He died at the scene.
The driver is not from the area, remained at the scene and was cooperating with police, he said.
Longtime area resident Terry MacDonald said the road closure from the incident diverted traffic from Beta onto Delta Avenue for hours. He was not surprised to hear about the accident.
"I'm not surprised at all. It's a chaotic area that we've tried to address with the city."
The intersection at Beta on the north side of Lougheed opened in 2002 when the SkyTrain line came in, said MacDonald. It's a move that was supported by the Brentwood Ratepayers Association to help traffic get from the mall to Lougheed more easily.
But Beta was never blocked off to restrict access from the residential streets up the hill to the north, which turned it into a rat-running route for commuters trying to avoid the intersection at Lougheed and Willingdon Avenue, he said. And then in 2008 or so, the condo development was built on the east side of Beta, which only added to the traffic congestion.
"Where this incident took place is where you have ratrunning traffic heading down the hill from Brentlawn Drive, you've got ratrunning traffic coming up the hill from south of Lougheed Highway on Beta, you've got traffic going in and out of Brentwood Town Centre, and you've got traffic going in and out of Brentwood Drive, the high-density apartments," he said.
"It's a very congested intersection. Coupled with vehicles now using it as a ratrunning route, you've got a combination of a great deal of pedestrian traffic, cycle traffic, and automobiles all fighting for space."
Burnaby's assistant director engineering  Doug Louie said the mall driveway on Beta closest to Lougheed is being monitored due to the large number of pedestrians crossing between the mall and Brentwood Gate, the housing development to the east.
"It's an awkward area because of the steepness of the road and it's close to a signalized intersection which makes it challenging."
But there are plans, as part of the mall site's redevelopment, to make the area more pedestrian-friendly, with crosswalks and road narrowing, Louie said.

How will new restriction be enforced?

The City City of Burnaby has responded to the concerns of local residents living west of Willingdon Ave on Graveley Street by implementing a right turn only restriction at Willingdon for eastbound traffic during rush hours on Graveley Street.  In my opinion, it is an ineffective, token response to the concerns of local residents as other traffic laws such as those covering speeding offences are not even enforced on Graveley Street and Brentlawn Drive.

Brentwood area to get some ratrunner relief

Graveley Street residents will get a dose of relief from the ratrunning traffic that's plagued the Brentwood neighbourhood.
On Monday, Burnaby council approved a right-turn-only restriction for eastbound vehicles on Graveley at Willingdon Avenue. It'll be in effect on weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. An existing, but undersized, speed hump on the street will  also be rebuilt.
The moves come after Graveley residents submitted a petition calling for something to be done about shortcutting traffic.
Traffic counts done in August 2013 in the 4200-block of Graveley showed average two-way weekday traffic at about 1,330 vehicles per day, said a city staff report. That's higher than in 1999 when volumes were about 1,110 vehicles a day.
But in both cases, they are "well below" the maximum threshold of 3,000 a day for a local residential street, it said. Volumes were highest during the afternoon rush hour and for eastbound traffic.
Speed counts in March found 85 per cent of vehicles travelled at around 41 km/h, well below the speed limit.
Nearby, a realignment of Douglas Road is being planned which will provide a more direct connection between 1st Avenue and and Halifax Street. Residents are concerned that could send more traffic to Graveley, but there's a possibility the shortcutting traffic may actually decrease, the report said.
Meanwhile, the new right-turn restriction could help cut down on ratrunners continuing east across Willingdon to Brentlawn Drive. The problem commuter traffic takes that route to avoid congestion at Lougheed Highway.
Coun. Paul McDonell suggested left turns also be restricted at Halifax Street and Willingdon to prevent traffic from using that route to get to Brentlawn.
"All I have to do is go half a block out of my way and I haven't changed anything," McDonell said.
Coun. Sav Dhaliwal, chair of the traffic safety committee, said traffic can't be stopped, it can only be discouraged from going where you don't want it. He advocated implementing the Graveley change then monitoring the effects before deciding on next steps.
It's all about striking a delicate balance, said Coun. Pietro Calendino. Any solution that totally satisfies Graveley residents may end up impacting those living just north of that street.
"For the moment, it's a good solution."
Coun. Colleen Jordan asked about the impact of the province's Highway 1 expansion project, which was touted as a way to ease traffic congestion on Burnaby streets.
"If you believe that I've got a bridge in New Westminster I can sell you," quipped Mayor Derek Corrigan.
City staff recommended no changes to address traffic concerns from Brentlawn Drive residents due to its use as a transit bus route.
Dhaliwal said the traffic safety committee will take another look at the issues there after the Graveley turn restriction is put in place.
Graveley Street resident Cherie Moses presented the residents' concerns to the committee in November. She said by email that the changes are "minimal."
She agreed with city staff that people not stopping at the stop sign at Willingdon while trying to beat the traffic light is a police enforcement issue.
"It is Catch 22, there are not enough RCMP officers to monitor such things, so the non-compliance becomes habitual and without consequences, until someone is hurt," Moses said.
"We are going to wait for the new sign, and see if it has an impact on short cutting traffic. They fully expect to hear from us again if the problems are not resolved."