Thursday, January 28, 2016

Whole Foods bustling on opening day

I had a chance to check out Whole Foods at Solo District on opening day today.  The place was busy as was the smiling staff who must have been just as excited as the customers there.  Finding my favourite organic tomato soup made my day.

A new restaurant will also be opening at Solo district.  We already know that Ricky's Diner is coming soon and Uncle Fatih's Pizza will offer a faster food alternative.  Pho D'lite will add to the food options in the area.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Whole Foods opening tomorrow

With the awaited arrival of Whole Foods upon us with its grand opening in Solo District, I wonder if it will be a good idea to check it out on its first day.  I will have to make a "gameday" decision tomorrow.

Burnaby Now article below

Jeremy Deutsch / Burnaby Now
January 26, 2016 03:52 PM

The grocery store landscape in Burnaby is about to add a new player to the game in an already competitive market.   
This week, the popular American-based grocery chain Whole Foods Market will be opening its latest store in the Lower Mainland, in the Solo District development in the Brentwood neighbourhood.
The NOW was given a chance to take a tour of the new location ahead of Thursday’s grand opening.
The 41,000-square-foot store will offer similar products and shopping experience Whole Foods devotees are accustomed to – and then some, according to Grant Daisley, a marketing coordinator for the company in B.C.
He noted the company tries to model each store to fit the community, offering unique features that won’t be found at other locations.
Specifically, Daisley noted in Burnaby there is a crow theme throughout the store in a nod to the large number of crows that flock to the Still Creek area.
He also said the store is trying to bring in an assortment of international vegetables not carried in other stores to complement the diversity of the people living in the community.
The new store will also feature a mod bar espresso and coffee system. A mod bar essentially has all the major hardware under the counter.
If you’re not familiar, Whole Foods markets itself as “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” offering organic and natural foods.
Daisley explained Whole Foods chose Burnaby as the fifth location in B.C. and just second outside Vancouver because of the number of requests for a store in the city.     
But the company has also come under a number of criticisms, mainly that its products are overpriced. In the summer, Whole Foods became the butt of jokes when it was discovered that a store in California was selling water with three asparagus stalks for $6.
Daisley said the Burnaby location will offer a number of items at prices customers will want, also encouraging people to come and check out the store’s experience.    
“As people are learning and asking more questions about their food … you can come into a Whole Foods market and know we’ve done the work to ensure you’re getting the best food you can get,” he told the NOW, arguing the company’s quality standards are unmatched.
The company announced it would be opening a Burnaby store back in 2012.
It’s not exactly the easiest time to open up major grocery store, with the cost of fruit and vegetables climbing sky high and the Canadian dollar in a free fall.
Those will just be some of the challenges the new store will face, according to Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor with Simon Fraser University.
He said the store is appealing to urban millennials and Generation-Xers with the healthy and organic labels but noted it comes with a higher price point.
However, the SFU professor suggested the company has picked the right location, pointing out Brentwood is a relatively high-income area with a lot of single-family high rises dotting the landscape. 
“What you’re looking for is the ability to purchase right off the bat,” he said.
While Meredith said the store is catering to a niche market, he expects the Safeways of the world to keep their market share.
Paul Holden, the president and CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade, welcomes the new store and believes the company has done the research as it enters the local market. 
“I think they’re coming in here with the ambition to be very successful,” he said.
Holden also sees the location of Whole Foods, which is a member of BBOT, becoming a destination for people who want the Whole Foods experience, providing spin-off benefits to the local economy.
The new Whole Foods officially opens its doors on Jan. 28, but will mark the opening with a “breaking bread” event at 8:30 a.m. at 4420 Lougheed Highway.

© 2016 Burnaby Now
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Vancitybuzz provides some vague details on Amazing Brentwood

Although it has nearly sold out the first 3 towers of its redevelopment of Brentwood Mall, Shape Properties has yet to provide any concrete details about new retail or restaurant tenants in the commercial part of the massive transformation at the corner of Lougheed Hwy and Willingdon Ave.

As 2016 progresses, we will hopefully begin to see which stores and restaurants have made the same commitment the condo buyers have made.

Albeit still without concrete details with company names, the article below has been able to get a bit more information than previously made public by Shape Properties.

Brentwood Town Centre to become 'The Amazing Brentwood'

By Helen Siwak
5:07 PM PST, WED JANUARY 20, 2016

Brentwood Town Centre is undergoing a spectacular overhaul that, when completed in the fall of 2018, will make it one of the largest urban destinations in North America. According to Retail-Insider, the first phase of development of the new centre will feature a modern luxury retail zone, fashion anchor stores, new upscale restaurants and a cinema, all in a indoor-outdoor configuration located directly on and around the SkyTrain station.

Currently under construction,The Amazing Brentwood will become one of BC’s largest shopping centres with an excess of 250 stores and restaurants. The property’s master-plan features community gathering places, office space, and 11 residential towers housing 6,000 homes on the 28-acre site.
The existing 500,000 square foot centre will be transformed into a mixed-use super regional shopping centre featuring in excess of 1.1 million square feet of retail space. As many as three large stores may anchor the centre, and landlord Shape Properties confirms that they have been in discussions with four upscale fashion department stores. Discussions continue with a variety of smaller retailers, including a number of luxury brands that are interested in locating in the centre’s new ‘modern luxury zone’.
Not all retail will be luxury focused and the developer is looking to add various lifestyle, aspirational and approachably-priced retailers in the centre, including a number of sports and athleisure focused brands.
The centre will feature four distinct retail areas; ‘Brentwood Interior’, ‘Brentwood Boulevard’, ‘West Mews/Grand Lobby’, and ‘The Plaza’. Each is described below.

Brentwood Interior, the centre’s indoor component, will feature about 100 retailers in over 500,000 square feet of space as well as more than 25 restaurants in 36,000 square feet of space. The mall’s anchor retailers will also be housed in this part of Brentwood Town Centre.

Brentwood Boulevard, an outdoor retail street, will feature 22 retailers in 70,000 square feet of space, as well as two restaurants occupying approximately 10,000 square feet, plus some 4,000 square feet of restaurant patio space. Brentwood Boulevard’s design is inspired by some of the world’s most iconic high streets.

West Mews and Grand Lobby will feature 17,000 square feet of retail space, as well as a further 4,000 square feet for at least six restaurants, excluding approximately 1,500 square feet of patio space. The area will offer one-of-a-kind brands, designer stores, and unique restaurants.

The Plaza will be a one-acre open-air social hub featuring fashion brands mixed with patios, pubs and casual dining. It will feature 15 stores as well as six restaurants spanning over 30,000 square feet, plus 7,100 square feet of patio space and 4,000 square feet of garden rooftops. Also, three of the restaurants at The Plaza will be multi-level, according to plans.

According to Shape Properties’ Executive Vice President, Darren Kwiatkowski, Brentwood will feature considerably more space devoted to restaurants than is typically found in shopping centres in Canada. This addresses the fact that malls are increasingly becoming social and entertainment destinations, as opposed to being pure retail centres. Brentwood will feature a variety of diverse food options with chef-driven concepts (and some chains) to be included to elevate the food experience.
The Brentwood SkyTrain Station will become an integral component of the centre, and Mr. Kwiatkowski explained that transit ridership is expected to grow substantially as the Lower Mainland continues to densify. Brentwood is also easily accessible by car and its central location means that this development will be able to pull in shoppers from Burnaby as well as Vancouver, Coquitlam, New Westminster, and even North Vancouver via the Second Narrows Bridge.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Whole Foods readying to open January 28

With 14 days to go for the opening of Whole Foods, the activity around Solo District will begin to increase.  I particularly can't wait for the Ricky's Diner to open.  BREAKFAST!!!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BC's tallest building at Gilmore Station?

The City of Burnaby may allow the construction of a 65 story high-rise tower which would make it the tallest building in BC.  It would certainly give the Gilmore site some distinction beyond just being a gateway to Brentwood.  With the potential for creating enough office space that would house 5000 jobs, the Gilmore Development enable a massive infusion of economic activity in the area.

The article below from Global News (video accompanying this link) has more on this story.

New development near Gilmore SkyTrain station could pave way for B.C.’s tallest building

By Jon Azpiri
Web Producer Global News

Over the years, there has been an explosion of development around SkyTrain stations.
Buildings have popped up around Burnaby’s Brentwood station and developers are eying the nearby Gilmore station.
The City of Burnaby is giving the developer of the land around Gilmore station the option of constructing a tower of up to 65 storeys. If they do, it’ll be B.C.’s tallest building.
“The land is at a premium, so we can probably go up and save ourselves some sprawl,” Burnaby Councillor Sav Dhaliwal said.
The builders of the massive development now underway at the nearby Brentwood station had the option of going up to 70 storeys, but chose 62 because towers higher than that can prove to be cost prohibitive.
What sets the Gilmore development apart is the plan to offer very large office space options for large corporations like Google and Microsoft.
“This one development has the potential for up to 5,000 jobs and that’s a lot of jobs,” Dhaliwal said.
The urban sprawl shouldn’t surprise anyone. Just months after the Expo Line opened 30 years ago large buildings started to pop up around SkyTrain stations.
Videographer John Ball illustrated the change to the city’s skyline with a video that shows a ride along the original SkyTrain line back in 1985 and puts it side by side with video of a ride along the same SkyTrain line more than 25 years later.
As cities become more dense, the idea of living near your workplace becomes more appealing, which is why the Gilmore site is as much about jobs as condos.
The city is asking the public to submit their input through an online questionnaire.
Meantime, the huge development planned for the Oakridge Mall area in Vancouver is shrinking.
The developers are scaling back plans for the $1.5-billion commercial and residential centre by as much as 25 per cent.
They found an aquifer underneath the mall that is bigger than expected and they say that would complicate the construction of a parkade.
They’re taking a new, smaller plan back to the City for re-approval.
-With files from Ted Chernecki

Monday, January 4, 2016

Open House for Gilmore Development

The City of Burnaby will host an open house on Tuesday January 12 for the Gilmore Station Redevelopment.

(Georgia Straight article below)

City of Burnaby will host open house on concept for major redevelopment around Gilmore Station

The Millennium Line has been the catalyst for an enormous amount development around Brentwood Station.

This month, Burnaby council will seek public input to develop a vision for the area around Gilmore Station, which is west of Brentwood Station.
The preliminary concept calls for several residential and office towers, including a signature building of up to 65 storeys.
Next Tuesday (January 12), there will be two public open houses offering the chance for the public to offer input.
One open house takes place in the Burnaby City Hall foyer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the other runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the lobby of Commerce Court (4180 Lougheed Highway).
On November 23, council approved a "conceptual master plan" for the Gilmore Station area that falls within Brentwood Town Centre. It's one of four town centres in the city (the others being Lougheed, Metrotown, and Edmonds).
According to a staff report, the Gilmore Station area was designated for high office use, high-density residential, and light industrial (i.e. business park).
Properties to the east of Gilmore Station "were identified for high-density and medium density residential development".
Several years ago, Standard Life Assurance proposed developing a one-million-square-foot office tower, but it was never built.
But the plan was amended at that time to remove high-density multiple-family and light-industrial-office designations. They were replaced that with "general commercial district" and "urban village commercial district" designations.
In 2014, the Onni Group bought Standard Life's five-hectare site for a reported $110 million.
"Given this site’s strategic location as gateway to the Brentwood Town Centre both by road and by SkyTrain, future redevelopment of the area presents a special opportunity to create a fully-integrated, diverse, transit-connected mixed-use community with a focus on employment growth," the Burnaby staff report states. "Re-conceptualizing the Gilmore Station area requires a concept and vision that delivers architectural excellence, and also demonstrates leadership in economic, environmental and social sustainability, exceptional urban design and public realm, and meaningful amenity contribution to the broader Brentwood Town Centre area."
The proposed Gateway precinct would include a "signature residential tower" on top of retail stores, including a grocery uses.
"The intended form of development would be characterized by up to three high-rise residential apartment buildings between 45 to 65 storeys in height, with four storeys of retail and flex office space at the ground level," the report states.
The proposed Station precinct would have an "enlarged public transit plaza" that would provide better ground access to Gilmore Station from Gilmore Avenue and Dawson Street. It would also include three storeys of retail and flex office space.
The proposed Dawson High Street precinct would have up to four high-rise apartment towers between 25 and 45 storeys on top of a five-storey retail and office podium west of Carleton Avenue. There would be a four-storey podium on the east side of Carleton.
Staff have called for the Carleton precinct to be linked by plazas and open spaces, making it "conducive to restaurants and cafes with outdoor patio seating". It would also include one high-rise residential building of 25 to 35 storeys on top of a 10-storey office and retail podium.
The proposed Commerce precinct could feature two office buildings of between 15 to 30 storeys on top of a four-storey retail and flex office podium.
"The expansion of high-amenity ofice uses on the site is fundamental to the mixed-use employment based concept," the staff report states.
In recent years, it's been difficult for many suburban office landlords to attract tenants. Burnaby, however, aims to permit up to one million square feet of office space in Brentwood Town Centre, which could provide up to 5,000 office-related jobs.