Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brentwood Sky January 27, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Changing views: Vantage January 2011

As the Vantage project by Embassy Development gets started at the corner of Lougheed Hwy and Rosser Ave, another tower will appear in the Brentwood skyline.  As more towers spring up in the area, views will begin to change.  For example, the view of Madison Centre and Motif at Citi (below) as seen from Madison Ave will become obstructed as the Vantage project rises from the ground.

The Vantage sales office is expected to open in the spring of this year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A glimpse into Brentwood Mall's future in recent article

An October article in Shopping Centre Business Canada Magazine titled, Thinking Outside The Big Box, has provided a hint into what the redevelopment of Brentwood Town Centre might include.  It is already known that Shape Properties (mall owner) will add residential, office and retail space to the parking area around the mall.  What was not really known was what some of the commercial space might include in the redevelopment.  During the interview for the article, executive vice president of leasing, Graeme Johnson revealed what is envisioned when discussing Brentwood and Lougheed Malls.  The following excerpt from the article mentions Brentwood Mall:

"Customers today want to be excited to go shopping.  They want a venue that plays nice music, has nice landscaping and accessible parking." said Johnson.  "Basically, shoppers demand a higher product while shopping now.  A better shopping experience equals more money spent."
The company is putting this philosophy to work in two of its latest purchases: Brentwood Mall, originally built in 1961, and Lougheed Town Centre, built in 1969.  Both enclosed malls are located in Burnaby, are situated right beside Skytrain stops, and feature great anchor tenants.  The problem?  They lack today's modern "shopping experience."
Shape Properties plans to fix this by bringing in more entertainment-focused tenants- such as a movie theatre and restaurants with patios.  The company also plans on reconfiguring existing tenants, brightening up certain areas that may need a tune-up and add residential development around the projects.
"Adding residential around a project is always a good idea because you virtually have customers living inside your mall," he said. 
Bring on the movie theatre and restaurants!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Target to replace Zellers in Brentwood?

An announcement was made today of the purchase by Target Corp of most Zellers stores in Canada.  Target has stated that it will replace 100-150 of the Zellers stores with brand new Target stores.  The remaining stores will be sold off to retailers like Walmart.

Since Walmart already has a new location on nearby Grandview Hwy in Vancouver and a location at Lougheed Mall, we can expect a Target store to replace Zellers at Brentwood Mall.  Target plans to spend over $1 billion on renovating existing Zellers stores across Canada and converting them into Target stores.
The Zellers sign may disappear by 2013

With Shape Properties currently planning a major redevelopment at Brentwood Mall, we can expect close collaboration between Target Corp and the mall owner during the next 2 years to remodel the mall.  Target plans to open its first stores in Canada by 2013.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Zellers location at Brentwood potentially to be sold to US retailer

According to a story in the Globe and Mail, the owner of the Zellers department store chain is in negotiations to sell some of its locations to US retailers and that a deal may be announced as early as this week.  It is not known if the Brentwood store is one of the locations up for sale and rumour has it that one of the retailers interested in making a purchase is retail giant Target.

If the Zellers at the Brentwood Town Centre mall is one of the locations sold, I hope the new store will be more organized than the old Zellers.  Since it was first established at Brentwood, the Zellers store has always had the problem of having unorganized aisles with price tags and signs missing or non-existent, and most of the electronic self-serve price checkers not even functioning.  When I recently went into the Zellers toy area to look for a soccer table for my kids, I had to carry the heavy, oversized box to a self-service checker and lift it up to the perfect position to scan the bar-code on the box because there was neither a price on the box nor a price tag on the shelf where the tables were displayed.  I was surprised that the price checker actually worked.  Asking an employee to find out the price would have taken at least 10 minutes for them to check, let alone finding an employee that knows what they are doing or talking about regarding the product.  Needless to say, customers shouldn't have to carry items out of the aisle to other sections of the store to find out their prices.  I guess Zellers at Brentwood has never understood this concept.  When required to find and purchase something while constrained for time, I've made the mistake of running into Zellers only to waste 15-20 minutes and leaving with nothing on numerous occasions because the store is so disorganized that one cannot efficiently locate the item let alone locate the price.

There, I've finally vented my 2 decades of frustration with the unorganized, and unappealing Zellers store at Brentwood Mall.  If the Brentwood location is sold, I hope the new store gets rid of the managers that have done such a poor job with the store.  I personally would be embarrassed with the way things have been run there.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New intersection: Dawson and Douglas

During late summer of 2010, a new intersection began to take shape to accommodate the construction of the new Perspectives development on Douglas road.

Intersection at Douglas Rd and Dawson Ave

The townhouse component of the project (below) has been built behind the high-rise residential tower and fronts onto the new section of Dawson Rd.

This part of Dawson Rd (below) will eventually be paved further west over an unnamed creek (by bridge) to the part of Dawson Ave immediately east of Beta Ave.  It will eventually be possible to drive from Douglas Rd all the way to Boundary Rd.  The unnamed creek that runs north-south into Still Creek will be rehabilitated (and hopefully named) in the future.

Dawson Ave looking east (left) and Dawson Ave looking west (right)

The construction of the Affinity Project by Bosa Development is under way across the street from the eastern end of the new section of Dawson Rd (below).  The towers at Holdom Station can be seen in the near distance.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mayor touts 2010 developments around Brentwood

In his inaugural address during the Dec 6 council meeting, the mayor mentioned the following developments that relate to the Brentwood area (City of Burnaby):

Burnaby continues to attract a significant number of office, institutional, industrial and commercial developments as the recovery from the recent economic recession continues. 
We are progressing with the long-awaited Still Creek Works Yard and Recycling/Green Waste Depot.  The City has retained the firm of Walter Francl Architecture to undertake the detailed design of the new works yard and recycling/green waste depot located at Still Creek Avenue.  The proposed development will also accommodate some of the City’s engineering and parks functions being relocated from the overcrowded Laurel Street site.  
In addition to developing significant civic projects during the year, the Planning Department advanced a supplementary density policy. Since its adoption by Council in 1997, the Community Benefit Density Bonus Program has proven very successful in providing for exceptional community amenities. The City’s four town centres have achieved significant civic facilities, including childcare centres, non-profit office space, affordable/special needs housing units, environmental enhancements, community police offices and improvements to parks and park facilities.  In addition, the existing density bonus program provides for funds to support affordable housing initiatives.
In 2010, Council advanced to public hearing an amendment to the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw to provide for a Supplementary Community Benefit Bonus Density Policy.  The overall objective is to allow for the accommodation of increased residential densities in the Town Centres, consistent with the goals of the City’s Official Community Plan and other Council-adopted policies such as the Economic Development Strategy.
In combination with the existing density bonus provisions, the implementation of a supplementary density policy would provide for additional community amenities and for more efficient use of urban land in Town Centre areas.
Overall, the accommodation of increased residential densities in the City’s Town Centre areas would relieve pressures to densify single- and two-family neighbourhoods. It also supports the City’s plans to focus new development in areas that are well served by transit.  The new policy is consistent with the City’s long-standing growth management approach, which has enabled the City to maintain and protect more than 25% of its land area as park and open space, while protecting the character and stability of our single- and two-family areas.
...the Brentwood Town Centre continues to accommodate a substantial portion of overall growth in the City.  With a strong vision of the importance of creating a sustainable community, Brentwood development is creating memorable architecture and new public gathering places.  In support, the City continues to create greenways connecting parks, community centres, libraries and recreation facilities.

Interest in Brentwood remains strong, as indicated by several major development applications approved and advanced in 2010.  Among the largest of these projects is the ‘Motif at Citi’ by Appia Developments. It is a mixed-use project that features a 30-storey residential tower with 152 units and a 12-storey office tower.  At the southwest corner of Lougheed and Willingdon, Appia Developments is advancing an even bigger project that would include three highrise residential towers with 644 units and a 12-storey commercial office and retail building with 324,000 square feet.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Carter dealerships to stay put?

In yesterday's Burnaby Now article, Burnaby: Can the city stay on course?, Burnaby City Councillor Nick Volkow's statement that he doesn't think that the Carter dealerships are going anywhere, puts to rest my guess that they may make the move from their current location on Lougheed Hwy to the new site being developed at Still Creek.

In my opinion, if you look at the setup at the Carter dealerships, you see 1970's written all over them as they represent pure urban sprawl of the past on their largely paved lots filled with vehicles with a small building and shop tucked away in one corner. From a visual perspective, if you compare the Carter dealerships to Destination Toyota, the Toyota dealership at Madison and Lougheed wins hands down. Whereas the compact Toyota dealership blends in nicely with the surrounding new development, the Carter dealerships look plain, ugly and out of place.  If you want to compare the quality of the cars...well... this is not an automobile review site, but the last time I noticed, Toyota has not had to seek bankruptcy protection due to the poor workmanship that is associated with Chrysler and GM cars.

The compact, two-level Toyota showroom and lot at Lougheed and
Madison fits in better with the surrounding area than the large,
unattractive Carter dealerships reminiscent of the past. 

Simply put, in their current form, the Carter dealerships are not an attraction but an eyesore as the Brentwood area changes around it.  If the dealerships are not going anywhere, I hope they take a page out of Destination Toyota's book and remodel their dealerships. They might even consider downsizing their lots to make room for development that fits the growth strategy for Brentwood. In doing so, they would contribute to change instead of impeding it.