Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Eve of 2015

The scene around Brentwood Mall on the last day of 2014.




Monday, December 22, 2014

Solo District's Stratus taking form

As the Stratus tower and Whole Foods continue to evolve, the Altus tower will begin to rise shortly.  When Whole Foods goes in there in 2015 with Shoppers Drug Mart arriving later, food choices will significantly increase.  With Loblaw having purchased Shoppers Drug Mart, the new Shoppers will surely begin to carry Loblaw food products.  These two additions will complement the existing Save On Foods on Lougheed and the Costco on Still Creek.

Photo taken this morning

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Post-election mention of BW Community Centre

After the Burnaby Citizens Association won the municipal election last Saturday, Councillor Colleen Jordan mentioned that they can continue ahead with plans including the building of a new community centre in Brentwood.  It's been reported that the City of Burnaby is in discussions with Shape Properties (Brentwood Mall owner) to reach a deal to build it on the mall site within the new development that is currently underway and that the ideal location would be near the Halifax Street entrance.

What should the Brentwood Community Centre look like?

I can envision the new amenity including at least one large multipurpose gymnasium that could accommodate sports such as basketball, badminton, volleyball, floor hockey and martial arts.  The facility could also include space for classes and workshops.  If space is an issue, there would be nothing to stop them from building part of the facility underground to create more recreational space in the community centre.  The use of underground space for the gymnasium (at least partially) to allow for office and classroom facilities to be built above and beside it would allow for efficient use of the space that currently exists on the site.  With the area population rapidly growing in the near future, nothing would be worse than a brand new facility being used to over capacity within a few short years.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BW tunnel entry / outline visible

The tunnel and entry/exit from Lougheed Hwy into Brentwood Town Centre's future underground parking lot appears to be marked out when seen from when viewed from the Sears rooftop parking.  The parts not yet dug up will most likely be the locations of future commercial spaces.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Specific location of new BW Community Centre discussed

The following Burnaby NewsLeader article  mentions that the City sees the northeast corner of Halifax Steet and Willingdon Avenue as the ideal location for a new community centre.  It would be built within the mixed-use development there during a later phase of the overall redevelopment of Brentwood Mall.

A new arena and arts centre?

A new performing arts centre in Metrotown, an arena in Edmonds, and new Brentwood and Cameron community centres.
Such projects are among the new priorities and changes being proposed for Burnaby's community benefit bonus policy, which council was to consider on Monday.
Since the policy's inception in 1997, Burnaby has received more than $154 million in cash and community amenities in exchange for city hall allowing additional density to be built on specific development sites, said a city staff report.
When an amenity, such as non-profit office space, a seniors centre or childcare facility, for example, can't be accommodated within a development project, the developer gives the city a cash contribution instead.
Until now, that money has been deposited in accounts to be used on future amenities within the same town centre as the development it came from. The planning department is now proposing it could be used on amenities located anywhere within that quadrant of the city.
The proposed policy change would also allow the funds to be used on amenities within Burnaby's civic centre area, which includes city hall, Deer Lake Park, and Burnaby Lake Sports Complex, to serve all Burnaby citizens.
And the change would add a priority amenity program, which sets out a wish list of significant amenities that council wants to see built with the developer contributions.
In Metrotown Town Centre, or the southwest quadrant, that priority is a new performance and event centre. "The facility would be capable of hosting installations, performances and significant gatherings, and would be intended to be a local community and civic-oriented centre that is highly accessible to citizens in Metrotown and Burnaby as a whole," said the report.
While the location will be determined by opportunities coming out of new development in the area, ideally it would be in the area of Kingsway and Willingdon Avenue, it said.
In Brentwood Town Centre, or the northwest quadrant, a new Brentwood community centre is at the top of the priority list. As reported in the NewsLeader, the city and mall owner Shape Properties is looking into the feasibility of building such a facility as part of the Brentwood mall redevelopment.
The report said the ideal location would be along Willingdon, near Halifax Street, within the podium of a mixed-use development.
Also a priority for the northwest quadrant is a new linear park along Willingdon that would connect the Heights and Brentwood neighbourhoods, providing access to amenities, services and recreational facilities for residents of both areas.
The land for the park, which would likely include pedestrian and cycling paths, is already available, having been acquired over time by the city, originally for road and utility purposes, the report said.
For Edmonds Town Centre, or the southeast quadrant, a new Edmonds arena has been identified as a priority. It would be the first such facility in South Burnaby.
And in Lougheed Town Centre, or the northeast quadrant, the priority project will be replacement of Cameron Recreation Centre, including a pool and a replacement of Cameron library branch.
With planning work underway for the redevelopment of the Lougheed mall site, several options are being considered for the amenities, including where they should be located and whether they should be together in the same building as they are now. The area currently doesn't have a pool, and the new rec complex and library would likely be larger than they are today.
The plan would continue the existing policy of designating 20 per cent of those cash contributions into a city-wide housing fund for affordable and/or special needs housing projects.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bigger and deeper hole in the ground

The excavation for Phase 1 of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment continues full speed ahead.  I wonder where all that dirt is going?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Polygon proposal for south foot of Madison

The following Burnaby NewsLeader article provides some details about a highrise proposed for Madison Ave south of Dawson Street.

Highrise proposed for Brentwood industrial area

A highrise development is being proposed for an industrial part of the Brentwood area that is gradually being converted to a residential neighbourhood.
Polygon Development has applied for a rezoning of 2338 and 2440 Madison Ave., located on the east side of Madison between Dawson Street and the BNSF Rail line.
It wants to build a tower with a podium level of apartment and townhouse units. Parking is expected to be above ground, camouflaged by housing units in front, due to high groundwater and geotechnical conditions on the site, which is near Still Creek.
The lot at 2338 Madison is currently vacant and 2440 Madison is partly occupied by a BC Hydro transmission line connecting to the Horne Payne Substation, said a city staff report. It's surrounded by older industrial buildings to the north and east, newer highrise residential towers to the west and the rail line, future Burnaby Auto Mall and the Willingdon Business Park to the south.
The 1996 Brentwood Town Centre Development plan designates the properties as "succession," meaning industrial land proposed for eventual transition to multiple-family residential.
The developer was encouraged by city hall to acquire part of the Hydro property to the south to be included in the project. The rest of BC Hydro's property could be acquired in future for consolidation with 2300 Madison Ave., the report said. That would allow for the extension of the trail network and stormwater management project that was done as part of the developments to the west.
The developer will also be required to design and pay for a pedestrian and cycling overpass over the BNSF Rail line to connect Madison to an existing public trail to the south.
And because of the site's proximity to the rail line, "a noise study is required to ensure compliance with the council adopted sound criteria."
Burnaby's planning department will work with the developer to prepare a plan suitable for presentation to a future public hearing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brentwood Community Centre part of Mall Redevelopment?

The following piece in the Georgia Straight ( not only mentions what we already know;  that the transformation of the Brentwood area was planned decades ago, but that the City of Burnaby has discussed the possible construction of a new community centre on the Brentwood Mall site.  Such a possibility on the mall site is an exciting prospect, to say the least.  If it were to come to fruition, the community centre would probably best be located at the eastern end of the site closer to Beta Ave.

(Straight article below)

Best of Vancouver 2014: Brentwood makeover planned decades ago

by CHARLIE SMITH on SEP 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM

After Shape Properties redevelops Brentwood Mall, there will
 be 11 towers and one million square feet of retail space.

SITTING IN THE window seat at Starbucks near the corner of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue, it’s easy to see that change is coming to Brentwood Town Centre. Across the street, a crane can be spotted in the Solo District, where Appia Developments is in the second phase of its mixed-use project. It will include a Whole Foods Market and a retail plaza. When it’s completed, its 55-storey tower will be the second-tallest building in the region, behind the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver.

Meanwhile, to the west, Concord Pacific plans a multiphased mixed-use development on its 10.5-hectare site. And to the east, just south [sic] of Brentwood Station, is the largest development of them all. On its master plan for the 11.5-hectare site of the Brentwood Mall, Shape Properties has included 11 towers of between 45 and 70 storeys, as well as a grand public square connecting to shops and restaurants.
As he enjoys his beverage and a sandwich, Burnaby resident and former city staffer David Pereira tells the Georgia Straight the story of how it all unfolded. The tale begins before Burnaby was incorporated, when two real-estate agents approached the provincial government because they wanted to sell property between Vancouver and New Westminster. Pereira says he learned much of this history a few years ago while researching his 2011 master’s thesis on Burnaby’s four town centres: Brentwood, Lougheed, Edmonds, and Metrotown.
“I basically saw the plans; they referred to the other plans, and I went back and just found an awesome breadth of history,” he says. “That’s where I found all these town centres were connected. They were not just something that was created. They’re an evolution as a result of a very purposeful initiative that came from the regional district.”
A major turning point for Brentwood occurred when the shopping mall was approved in 1959 to lure people to buy homes in the area. “There was absolutely no opposition whatsoever to the mall because that was what they advertised to entice them to live there.”
He says the city’s long-term planning director, Tony Parr, played an instrumental role after he was hired in 1964. The same year, the Lower Mainland Regional Planning Board proposed a policy that Burnaby double its population over a seven-year period.
“You look at Coquitlam’s town centre and you look at Richmond’s town centre: they’re three times the size today than they were then,” Pereira says. “They weren’t really interested in the town-centre policy. You go to Burnaby and it mimics very closely what the city started. Those boundaries of the town centres stayed very close to what they were way back in the day. I found that to be phenomenal.”
In 1964, the city approved a long-term planning vision for 150 hectares in the Brentwood area, but the following year council thwarted a follow-up apartment study. Nevertheless, Pereira says the groundwork had been laid for densification, decades before the SkyTrain was built. Another major turning point came when the provincial government approved the Millennium Line in the 1990s. Even after it opened, the owners of the mall were not interested in developing condos near Brentwood Station until Shape Properties bought the site in 2008.
For a while, Pereira worked as an executive assistant to Burnaby’s mayor, Derek Corrigan. Speaking to the Straight at a Labour Day picnic at Swangard Stadium, Corrigan revealed that even he is surprised by the level of development taking place in Brentwood Town Centre.
“We expected that Brentwood would develop very slowly over a couple of decades,” Corrigan said. “The uptake on Brentwood has been absolutely amazing. It has outstripped Metrotown in development applications. For some reason, it hit a sweet spot with consumers who feel they’re very well connected to Vancouver and downtown Vancouver by Brentwood. Also, they’re in a position where they’re able to get easy access to the highway if they want to go anywhere across the Lower Mainland.”
Corrigan laughed as he told how one of his council colleagues, Pietro Calendino, moved into Brentwood with his wife while their North Burnaby home was being renovated. “Now their house is ready but his wife doesn’t want to move out,” the mayor reveals. “She loves it. She gets on SkyTrain and doesn’t have to worry about a car.”
Corrigan and Darren Kwiatkowski, executive vice president of development at Shape Properties, each separately confirmed that the company is in discussions with the city over including a community centre on its site. Corrigan also said the city is using its density-bonus money to invest in sound and light equipment and fountains in the plaza to create a community gathering place.
Meanwhile, Kwiatkowski told the Straight in an interview in his downtown Vancouver office that this plaza will be unlike anything else in the Lower Mainland because it will be level with Brentwood Station. From there, SkyTrain passengers can directly access the plaza and then walk down a grand staircase to the corner of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue.
In its first phase, the developer is building two 53-storey residential towers. Eventually, it’s expected there will be 500,000 square feet of retail space accessible from outside and possibly two office towers. Kwiatkowski confidently predicts that there will be the type of chef-inspired restaurants one normally only sees in downtown areas. “Everyone is not racing out to suburbia to buy a single-family home,” he said. “The culture has shifted and aligned with the planet. The retailers and the shops have come in as they see where the population growth is going. And SkyTrain has become a major driver of how people get around.”
It’s come a long way since a shopping mall had to be built—before Kwiatkowski and Pereira were born—to persuade people to buy homes in the area. But, as Pereira is quick to point out, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. 
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at @csmithstraight.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bigger hole in the ground

The Brentwood Mall Redevelopment continues with McDonald's shutting down. Only the Bank of Montreal remains along that section slated for removal as part of Phase 1.

Meanwhile, activity continues in and around the future Entertainment Plaza with rows of dump trucks snaking through the development beginning as early as 7:00am this morning.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hole in the ground

The Brentwood Mall Redevelopment is rolling ahead at Halifax and Willingdon as the scene is dramatically changing daily.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brentwood One excavation begins

The corner of Halifax and Willingdon is witnessing the excavation for Brentwood One. 

Meanwhile, the site for Brentwood Two at the corner of Alpha and Lougheed is ready for digging.  Brentwood Two will be completed 6 months after Brentwood One.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Brentwood Sky September 2, 2014

The sky looked particularly nice this evening as the rain fell.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Densification or not near transit?

With the Evergreen Line taking shape along its route from Lougheed Mall to Coquitlam, the debate over the merits of densification is taking place in Port Moody which will see 2 stations built within its boundaries.

With the Millennium Line seeing massive developments take shape along its route on Lougheed Hwy in Burnaby, with many more to come in the future, a similar trend seems inevitable along St Johns Street.

The densification process in Port Moody began long before the Evergreen Line broke ground as funding uncertainty delayed the long-promised line for over a decade.  With the line within 2 years of completion, the debate is becoming more prominent as developers are now looking at potential mega projects along the St. Johns Street corridor.


This story is part of a joint Vancouver Sun-Langara College project looking at the urban future of the rapidly growing Metro Vancouver region.
The cities of Port Moody and Coquitlam are set to fundamentally change their identities from suburban neighbourhoods to urban communities over the next two decades.
But that transformation operation is being met with very different responses. While many in Coquitlam seem to embrace the shift, some Port Moody residents are pushing back against the city’s development plans.
“Residents are being told that we must have major densification to support (the Evergreen Line),” said Hazel Mason, a longtime Port Moody resident and president of the Moody Centre Community Association, which is fighting the city’s official community plan. “We’ve got seniors that are moving out and we’ve got people who want to live in Port Moody that are forming their Plan B — it’s sad.”
The city is pursuing more transit-oriented development to account for the 10.9-kilometre Evergreen Line, expected to be in service by summer 2016. In the next 30 years, Port Moody’s population is projected to rise from 34,500 to 50,000.
Port Moody plans to densify around designated SkyTrain stations such as Moody Centre, the heritage commercial district (where Mason lives) and Coronation Park. Concerns include lack of park space, traffic congestion, overcrowding and stress on the city’s infrastructure.
But not all Port Moody residents oppose densification.
A group of homeowners in Coronation Park, which sits between Suter Brook and Newport Village, submitted a petition in favour of densification in the neighbourhood.
“I could live here forever,” said Rose McFarlane, who initiated the petition last November. “It’s not that I have a big desire to see development happen. But I think it would make sense if they’re going to develop ... this is the area to do it.”
That minority group of cautious approvers in Port Moody is a majority in nearby Coquitlam, where many embrace the incoming rapid transit line in a city whose population is expected to grow from 131,500 to 224,000.
Paul Heath and his fiancée, who live on Glen Drive near the incoming Lincoln Evergreen station, believe densification brings a unique feel to the suburbs.
“We love the densification of the area and how it’s got a downtown feel to it, but you still know you’re in the suburbs,” said Heath, adding that densification means a greater variety of businesses, restaurants and stores.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said residents understand that densification is necessary to support the rapid transit line that has been years in the making.
“We’ve always fought for it,” he said. “I think, in reality, a majority of people in Port Moody embrace it. They embrace the same kind of livable community that we want in Coquitlam. I recognize that some want it to be a small town and do not accept any of the new population, but I don’t think that’s a sustainable position.”
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ramp to Brentwood Station removed

A few days ago, I noticed that the ramp to the Brentwood Station was removed to make way for the massive excavation for Phase 1 of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment.  The massive site is nearly cleared for digging.

The only access to the station is now only from either side of Lougheed Hwy.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Solo District ready by 2015

The first tower accompanied by Whole Foods will be ready for occupancy by 2015.  The project has progressed significantly since Morrey Nissan, Milestones and Good Year Tire cleared out.