Earlier this week, Surrey city council approved Rize Alliance’s application to build Passages — one of the largest mixed-use redevelopments ever proposed for the emerging city centre area in Whalley.
The redevelopment is set for a four-acre property at 10138 Whalley Boulevard — the northeast corner of the intersection of Whalley Boulevard and 101 Avenue.
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The development site is roughly two blocks away from SkyTrain’s Surrey City Centre and King George stations. It is currently occupied by Fraserview Courts’ two four-storey buildings constructed in 1971 that contain 154 rental homes combined.
But no rental homes will be lost, as the developer will build 154 replacement rental units and 18 additional market rental units for a total of 172 rental units.
The development will also incorporate 954 market condominium units and 18,116 sq. ft. of commercial space in the lower levels.
Altogether, the entire project will create 1,126 homes.
This mix of uses is accommodated in five towers, with heights of 39 storeys, 32 storeys, and 23 storeys, as well as a pair of 13-storey buildings. There is also a six-storey apartment building.
Residents will have access to 36,360 sq. ft. of indoor amenity space — including a basketball sports court with amphitheatre seating, and a 38th floor “sky bar” rooftop amenity space — and 36,360 sq. ft. of outdoor amenity space.
There will also be nearly 70,000 sq. ft. of public open space through the site, including a central plaza that can accommodate community events. And a 4,800-sq-ft childcare facility with its own play area will have a capacity for up to 38 kids.
The project’s unique look, designed by UK-based, award-winning Alison Brooks Architects and the local office of IBI Group, is inspired by the texture of tree bark.
“We have sought to refer to natural forms such as stone for the low rise buildings, made up from the ground like monolithic carvings. As for the towers these refer to dense vertical forests. The textured bark of trees, tonal references from moss and lichen come with a strong desire to resist ‘flatness’ and complacency associated with residential architecture of this scale,” reads the design rationale.
“We also consider a strong association to the shingled facade, a common vernacular found in Vancouver’s residential architecture, finished in virtually every colour. Our interpretation of the shingle stems from its sense of versatility, ability to be modular, tonal freedom and above all its scaly pattern… The towers of differing heights, also propose different colours, in this case they are defined in dark tones of grey, green and blue, in sympathy with the forest ideal.”
Four underground levels will accommodate 956 vehicle parking spaces, which is a 10% reduction — permitted as a result of the developer providing Modo car share with six on-site stalls and a financial contribution to acquire six electric-battery vehicles that will be accessible to all Modo members.
The total floor area of the redevelopment is about 940,000 sq. ft., giving it a floor area ratio density of 5.3 times the size of the lot.