TransLink to partner with developer to build 30-storey rental housing tower at SkyTrain's future Arbutus Station

Mar 29 2023, 6:35 pm

Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority is making a big first step into expanding into building for-profit real estate to help support its operations.

TransLink announced this morning it is partnering with local developer PCI Developments to build a 30-storey, mixed-use tower at the southeast corner of the intersection of West Broadway and Arbutus Street — immediately south of the future Arbutus Station of SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension.

This is TransLink’s first step into building its own transit-oriented development to help increase public transit ridership and generate a new source of revenue.

This will be a 50-50 partnership between TransLink and PCI Developments, which is known for previous major transit-oriented developments such as Crossroads (kitty corner from Broadway-City Hall Station), Marine Gateway (next to Marine Drive Station), and the future 39-storey, mixed-use tower currently being built atop the future South Granville Station.

Daily Hive Urbanized previously reported in 2019 that the public transit authority acquired the Fletchers Fabricare property at 2096 West Broadway for $17.1 million. This TransLink property will be combined with the adjacent PCI-owned property to achieve the redevelopment.

Retrieved records today show PCI Developments acquired the adjacent two-storey retail building of 2560 Arbutus Street for $19.5 million in October 2021.

2096 West Broadway 2560 Arbutus Street Vancouver TransLink PCI Developments 1

The combined development site of 2096 West Broadway (northern TransLink parcel) and 2560 Arbutus Street (southern PCI parcel) next to SkyTrain’s future Arbutus Station. (TransLink)

2096 West Broadway 2560 Arbutus Street Vancouver TransLink PCI Developments f

The development site’s northern TransLink parcel at 2096 West Broadway, where Fletchers Fabricare is located. (Google Maps)

2096 West Broadway 2560 Arbutus Street Vancouver TransLink PCI Developments 2

The development site’s southern PCI parcel at 2560 Arbutus Street, where the two-storey retail building is located. (Google Maps)

The project is still in the early stages, and a formal application to the municipal government has yet to be submitted. A conceptual depiction of the architectural design has not been provided at this time.

But preliminary plans call for over 200 secured-purpose-built rental homes, with 20% of these units rented at below-market rates and secured for moderate-income households. The remaining rental homes will be market-rate units.

There will also be ground-level retail/restaurant uses and a community space that will serve as the future home of the Ohel Ya’akov Community Kollel, which is a Jewish cultural, education, and neighbourhood centre.

“This partnership will help us build a new transit-oriented community, where people can more easily take transit, walk, or cycle,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn in a statement. “This program will generate much-needed long-term revenue to expand and improve vital transit services while aligning with local and provincial government goals to increase housing supply.”

arbutus station skytrain broadway extension

SkyTrain Arbutus Station design concept, April 2021. (Government of BC)

arbutus station skytrain broadway extension

SkyTrain Arbutus Station design concept, April 2021. (Government of BC)

As the westernmost terminus of the Millennium Line, until a further extension is made to reach the University of British Columbia (UBC), Arbutus Station is expected to see major ridership as a major interchange transfer hub between SkyTrain and the truncated 99 B-Line bus service for the remaining journey to UBC. The station will have its own bus exchange for this purpose.

The Millennium Line extension reaching Arbutus will open in early 2026, while the eventual extension reaching UBC could open in the early 2030s at the earliest.

The redevelopment is also adjacent to the Arbutus Greenway, which will see its pedestrian and cycling route significantly improved over time by the municipal government.

“We are honoured to be partnering with TransLink on this significant transit-oriented, mixed-use development,” said Tim Grant, the president of PCI Developments.

“We are similarly excited about partnering with The Kollel in delivering their new community and worship premises – all in conjunction with desperately needed market and below-market rental housing in a sustainable development adjacent to Arbutus Station and the Arbutus Greenway.”

The proposed project aligns with the stipulations of the City of Vancouver’s Broadway Plan, which dictates a 30-storey tower with a floor area ratio density of 10.5 (a floor area that is 10.5 times the size of the lot) can be achieved if rental housing uses are pursued.

In June 2022, TransLink officially announced the launch of its for-profit real estate division, indicating it will build residential, commercial, or mixed-use developments near its public transit infrastructure through partnerships with the public and private sectors.

The largest known TransLink real estate development project to date is its future massive mixed-use redevelopment of its 9.3-acre park-and-ride facility and bus loop serving Coquitlam Central Station.

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