A relatively significant proposed redevelopment could make a dent in the housing needs of the Capilano University community, in a bid to ease affordability and commute challenges.
Local developer Darwin Properties has submitted an application to the District of North Vancouver to construct a mixed-use residential and commercial complex on its property at 1310 Monashee Drive — immediately adjacent to the university’s campus, next to the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation.
The proposal calls for two six-storey buildings with 346 market rental homes dedicated to the students, faculty, and staff of the university. Other uses entail 5,564 sq. ft. of food services space and 3,778 sq. ft. of artist space, with all uses supported by 168 vehicle parking stalls and 692 bike parking spaces located underground.
Currently, the 2.5-acre property is occupied by a dog daycare and kennel facility, designated as parks, recreation, and open space in the zoning bylaw, and open space and natural areas in the official community plan (OCP). Rezoning and changes to the OCP would be required to achieve the project’s uses.
According to the university, it began exploring a potential housing partnership with Darwin in 2018, and it is supportive of the overall plans.
Paul Dangerfield, the president of Capilano University, says the redevelopment amounts to the “highest and best use” of the site given the “significant benefits to both the campus community and local residents.”
“As market rental housing for Capilano University students and employees, this includes the potential of reduced daily traffic congestion caused by students and employees commuting to campus by car and potential amenities such as walking paths, car sharing and food services that are open to the public,” Dangerfield told Daily Hive.
“Time spent out of the car is time for study and for wellness — both of which contribute to the quality of life in North Vancouver.”
The university says its development focus over the coming years revolves around student housing. In 2018, opened a 250-bed student residence by leasing a former international school property owned by Darwin at 2420 Dollarton Highway — a 10-minute drive from campus.
The residence reached capacity in its second year as demand for student housing exceeds capacity.
This school property has been leased for a period of five years, and is expected to be eventually a part of Darwin’s wider North Shore Innovation District mixed-use redevelopment, which will include purpose-built student and faculty housing.
Approximately 10,500 students are enrolled at Capilano University’s programs.