A sweeping sculpted redesign is planned for the redevelopment of Oakridge Centre shopping mall, marking the latest update of the decade-plus long project planning phase.
Property owner QuadREAL unveiled its new design for the 28.5-acre Vancouver shopping mall site earlier this month at the International Council of Shopping Centres Canadian Convention held in Toronto.
A three-dimensional model showcased at the convention appears to show 10 towers, with the tallest tower nearly 50 storeys in height at the property’s edge along West 41st Avenue.
Earlier this year, QuadREAL acquired the mall from longtime property owner Ivanhoe Cambridge with the intent of going back to the drawing board on the redevelopment’s design. It retained Westbank as the project’s local developer.
Construction on the approved 2014 design was set to begin in 2016 for a full completion of all phases by 2024, but this was never started due to complications with an aquifer below the property.
In response to the aquifer discovery, Ivanhoe Cambridge said the size of the redevelopment would have to be scaled back by 25% – from 4.6 million sq. ft. to 3.5 million sq. ft..
However, given the apparent size and scope of the redesign based on the new model, it is unclear if a significant scope reduction is still intended. Nevertheless, the redesign seemingly sets a new target for architectural excellence.
The project proponents previously stated that no new rezoning will be required as the new redevelopment plans – the third plan in a decade for the site – will align with the City of Vancouver’s approved rezoning in 2014.
“We are in the process of designing an inspiring residential, shopping and business community that abides by the rezoning already approved by the City of Vancouver, and enhances the area’s multicultural character and the shopping centre’s flagship status,” said Remco Daal, President of QuadReal’s Canadian real estate division.
There will be thousands of market residential units, an expansion of retail and office space, and enhanced access to the Canada Line’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station.
All community benefits promised in the 2014 rezoning will be included in the design, including a nine-acre public park, 70,000-sq-ft civic centre with a new library, daycare, seniors centre, and community centre, and 290 affordable homes.
“We are re-thinking every aspect of our daily lives through Oakridge and how this project should both respond and lead for present and future generations,” said Ian Gillespie, Founder of Westbank.
“Our goals are deservedly very large. We are exploring everything from the future of retail to housing, the work environment, mobility, parks, entertainment, public spaces, energy production and culture in a holistic, mixed-use development. We see this as a defining opportunity to set a new standard for urban living, locally and globally.”
Oakridge Centre’s new proposed design will enter the public consultation phase later this fall.
The redevelopment is just one component of the wider Oakridge Municipal Town Centre area, which is expected to see immense densification from the construction of new housing as part of the City of Vancouver’s housing affordability and supply relief plan and transit-oriented development strategy.