82-storey landmark tower proposed next to Lougheed Town Centre Station

Oct 28 2019, 3:39 pm

Metro Vancouver’s suburban areas are continually pushing the ceiling of tower heights in the region to the extent that the tallest buildings will soon no longer be located in downtown Vancouver. It will even eclipse a number of towers currently being proposed or set for construction.

The latest major vertical-rising proposal calls for an 82-storey tower just next to SkyTrain’s Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby — on a 6.2-acre site with the addresses of 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place. The site is currently occupied by low-storey commercial buildings and ground-level parking.

Pinnacle International Development is in the early stages of a rezoning application to construct what will surely be Metro Vancouver’s new tallest building, with retail and hotel uses within the lower floors and residential uses within the upper floors.

Few specific details are available on the project at this time, but based on the standard floor-to-ceiling height conventions of each type of use, the height should be roughly 800 ft, if not more, making it not only the new tallest building in the region but also one of the tallest buildings in Canada west of the Toronto region.

9898 Gatineau Place Buranby

Site of 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place next to SkyTrain’s Lougheed Town Centre Station in Burnaby. (Google Maps)

In addition to this super-tall East Tower, Pinnacle’s proposal for the large site also includes two other shorter towers that are still considerably tall for the region’s standards.

The West Tower, reaching 67 storeys, will include retail, office, and residential components, while the South Tower will entail retail and residential uses.

“The design is inspired by nature with the three buildings metaphorically representing an ensemble of flowers expressed through appropriate massing and architectural articulation,” reads a letter of intent to the City of Burnaby by George Kallergis, vice-president of development for Pinnacle.

The podiums of all three towers will “share common thematic elements” and interconnected by skybridges allowing for pedestrian movement between buildings and a connection to the Lougheed Mall Precinct. The ground plain of the redevelopment will also be integrated with the municipal government’s planned new transit plaza serving the SkyTrain station.

“The ground level for each tower will be animated with retail uses that will activate the public realm and integrate with the transit plaza. The second level will include retail components in each building together with a hotel lobby in the ‘East Tower’ and an office lobby in the ‘West Tower,'” continued Kallergis.

Lougheed Town Centre Core Area Master Plan

Lougheed Town Centre Core Area Master Plan. (City of Burnaby)

According to the city staff report providing the first details on the proposal, the redevelopment would “remain consistent” with the recently-approved Lougheed Town Centre Plan and Lougheed Core Area Master Plan.

The combined residential uses of all three towers would create a floor area ratio (FAR) residential density of 13.25 times the size of the lot, with 11.91 FAR coming from market condominiums and 2.16 FAR from market rental and affordable rental homes. In real quantities, the market condominium portion alone would create 1.9 million sq. ft. of floor area.

Under the city’s newly approved rental housing policies this year for new multi-family developments, there must be a top up of at least 20% in density dedicated for rental housing uses.

These numbers do not include 430,000 sq. ft. of commercial uses — retail, hotel, and office.

At this early stage, no architectural renderings have been publicly released, and the architect of the project is not known.

The Lougheed Core Area Master Plan envisions the drastic densification of a 72-acre immediately north of Lougheed Town Centre Station, including Shape Properties’ 37-acre ‘City of Lougheed’ redevelopment of Lougheed Town Centre shopping mall. When the area is fully complete, there will be a transit-oriented development cluster of new retail, office, and residential space, plus new public spaces and amenities.

City of Lougheed Burnaby

Artistic rendering of the City of Lougheed’s transit plaza area. (Shape Properties)

A few stops west on the Millennium Line, the cluster of density around Brentwood Town Centre Station is already home to a few of the region’s tallest buildings, including the 616-ft-tall Altus tower (2017) and the first two towers of The Amazing Brentwood, both of which are 611 ft.

Also within the Brentwood area is Onni Group’s 64-storey Two Gilmore Place tower currently under construction. This tower is approximately 700 ft in height.

Over at Metrotown, Burnaby’s largest town centre, Concord Pacific is proposing to build a 720-ft-tall tower at its Sears Metrotown site — the northeast corner of Metropolis at Metrotown mall.

Gilmore Place Onni Group

Artistic rendering of the first phase of Gilmore Place. (Onni Group)

Artistic rendering of the proposed Sears Metrotown redevelopment. (IBI Group / Concord Pacific)

In contrast, the tallest buildings in downtown Vancouver are Living Shangri-La at 659 ft and Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver at 616 ft. Both buildings have the title of the region’s tallest buildings, for now.

All proposed or under-construction buildings within the city limits of Vancouver are under 600 ft, well below the new heights being challenged by the suburban municipalities. Building heights in downtown Vancouver are highly constricted by view cones intended to protect mountain views from select locations.