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Existing UBC neighbourhood could be densified for redevelopment

Kenneth Chan Feb 22, 2018 2:44 pm 1,740

A large portion of the University Endowment Lands neighbourhood, known as the University Village, at the University of British Columbia could be redeveloped following the creation of a new master plan for the area.

The BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which oversees the unincorporated endowment lands, is seeking bids from architecture and urban planning firms to create the framework to guide future development within Area D – a neighbourhood framed by Westbrook Mall to the west, University Boulevard to the north and east, and Agronomy Road and Toronto Road to the south.

UBC Endowment Lands

The location of Area D at the University Endowment Lands is highlighted in blue (Government of BC)

Currently, the 30-acre area is predominantly developed with four-storey residential buildings, including some buildings with heritage value. Its population now totals over 2,000 people living within about 500 rental units and 600 strata units.

The Marketplace, a highly successful complex with retail and restaurants, and Regent College are located within this study area, and a rezoning application for Regent College to expand its facilities was recently approved.

According to the request for proposals (RFP) document, the Musqueam First Nation’s Lelem redevelopment on the Block F parcel – a 21.4-acre forested site immediately east of Area D – is fuelling interest in further redevelopment in the area.

The Lelem project, built over 10 years, will add 2,500 residents within 1,200 new units of housing stock, including towers that range up to 18 storeys in height. A new community centre and park space are also planned.

“This development and others in neighbouring UBC areas have contributed to the significant increase in development pressure within Area D,” reads the RFP.

Lelem UBC

The Musqueam Frist Nation’s Lelem redevelopment at Block F of the University Endowment Lands. (Musqueam First Nation)

Over 18 months, the successful proponent will create a plan that identifies a redevelopment framework and explores the impact of these developments on the transportation network, parking, and local community amenities and parks in the neighbourhood.

UBC’s population and retail and restaurant options have significantly grown over the past 15 years – largely from the creation of Westbrook Village, a new 110-acre neighbourhood and retail district on the southern end of the campus. When fully complete, it will house 12,500 people.

The density from these redevelopments could be supported by a future extension of the Millennium Line beyond Arbutus Street to UBC.

Other signifiant sites that could be redeveloped in the area include the 120-acre University Golf Course, which is owned by the Musqueam band, although a covenant stipulates the property must remain a golf course until at least 2083.

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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