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.”
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