Acres of asphalt that surround CF Richmond Centre shopping mall will be replaced with mixed-use buildings in just a few short years as part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the sprawling property.
Mall owner Cadillac Fairview first announced the CF Richmond Center South project earlier this year, with local developer SHAPE as a partner and GBL Architects as the designer. A development application submitted to the City of Richmond is expected to receive approval shortly to meet the construction start target of 2019.
No rezoning is required as the proposal fits within existing zoning.
According to the application, the former Sears building and the existing multi-storey parkade on the southern end of the mall will also be demolished to create a horseshoe-shaped redevelopment around the existing mall building.
There will be 12 new mid-rise buildings reaching a height no greater than 14 storeys or 148 ft, with retail space located within the lower floors, and residential space within the upper floors.
Over 2,000 homes will be built, including about 1,850 market units, as well as 150 affordable units for low-income individuals and workforce households within two purpose-build rental buildings operated by non-profit housing providers.
The unit mix is roughly divided as 50% studio and one-bedroom units and 50% family-oriented units, specifically two-bedroom units, three-bedroom units, and townhouses.
Residents will have access to major amenities, including 42,000 sq. ft. of indoor amenity spaces – such as a fitness gym – and 130,000 sq. ft. of rooftop gardens
“The CF Richmond Centre South Development Plan proposes a cohesive neighbourhood identity characterized by a series of slim towers framing rooftop courtyards that fan out along the edges of the mall property like spokes on a wheel to frame the proposed public plaza and shopping precinct, provide for attractive commercial and residential streetscapes, allow sunlight and views through to public and private spaces, and create sunny rooftop courtyards for residents,” reads the project’s description.
Approximately 290,000 sq. ft. of the existing mall will be demolished, but there will be a net gain of 129,513 sq. ft. of retail space through the construction of 419,114 sq. ft. of new retail space, with much of this new space oriented around a new pedestrian-friendly street that will wrap around the mall building’s western and southern edge. This effectively creates a new ‘outdoor shopping precinct’.
“The retail expansion looks to integrate new restaurants, entertainment, fashion and service retail into the existing mall experience. The variety of retail choices will help support a true Live, Shop, Play environment for CF Richmond Centre’s visitors and inhabitants,” states the description.
A large 0.5-acre public plaza that can host events and activities will also be built on the southwest quadrant of the mall property. This plaza will be framed by new streets and the mall building.
“The new additions along No. 3 Road and the new Park Road extension will transform CF Richmond Centre into a vibrant outdoor shopping precinct,” continues the description.
“To enliven the sidewalk activity, the shops and restaurants will spill their spaces to sidewalk seating, entries, and displays. The amenities of weather coverage, landscaping, lighting, and sidewalk furnishings will also add to the pedestrian shopping experience or those passing through on their commutes.”
Altogether, a total floor area of 2.5 million sq. ft. will be created, providing the overall redevelopment with a floor area ratio density of 2.1 times the size of its lot.
As for the transportation improvements required to support the new density, there is a multi-modal approach.
Two massive levels of underground parking, which is unusual on this scale for Richmond, will be constructed on the site, with roughly half of the planned 4,000 vehicle parking stalls dedicated for retail and the remainder for the new residents.
Pedestrian connections to the Canada Line’s Richmond-Brighouse Station will be drastically improved. Cadillac Fairview is planning to have its existing mall galleria remain open during SkyTrain’s operating hours to create “more permeability” between the station, mall, and new residences.
This transit station connection will be further enhanced by the construction of a wide continuous canopy that creates full weather protection for a new pedestrian pathway between the galleria and the No. 3 Road crosswalk leading to the station.
Additionally, two multi-modal mobility hubs will be built to “seamlessly integrate multiple travel modes, supportive infrastructure, and placemaking strategies with the aim of creating two pedestrian-oriented centres that will help maximize first-to-last kilometre connectivity.”
One ‘regional-serving’ mobility hub is located on mall property close to the SkyTrain station (adjacent to the aforementioned pedestrian canopy), and a second ‘local-serving’ mobility hub is situated within the southwest quadrant of the mall – next to the new plaza.
Each mobility hub includes features such as bike share, car share, taxi and ride-hailing spaces, secure bike storage for the public and repair services, electric vehicle charging stations, and weather-protected public transit bus stops. All of this is conveniently located near shops, services, and public amenities.
If approved, the redevelopment will be constructed over two phases beginning in 2019.
A sales centre will open next year, and the western half of the existing parkade and a portion of the mall will be demolished. By late-2019, excavation and site preparation will begin.
Phase One will reach completion between 2021 and 2022, with building-by-building completion and occupancy. New underground parking and retail spaces connected to the existing mall will also open.
This is followed by the commencement of Phase Two starting in 2022, comprised of the demolition of the former Sears building and the remaining portion of the existing parkade.
By late-2026, the redevelopment will reach full completion.
The redevelopment of CF Richmond Centre is just one of many major redevelopments slated for the No. 3 Road corridor in North Richmond. The largest of these projects is the nearby 50-acre redevelopment of Lansdowne Centre.
Several redevelopments are also planned immediately east of CF Richmond Centre, including a four-tower project replacing a strip mall immediately adjacent to Richmond-Brighouse Station, a three-tower project replacing the Park Village strip mall, and a two-tower project replacing a smaller strip mall. Extensive commercial spaces are planned for all three of these projects, in addition to the residential density.