Developer rejects City of Surrey's request for taller office tower proposal

Oct 21 2019, 3:30 pm

A developer behind a proposal to build an office tower in Surrey city centre has circled back to the municipal government, informing the city that a taller building is not desired nor feasible.

A month ago, Surrey city council unanimously approved a motion proposed by Mayor Doug McCallum to reject the proposed design for Central City Tower 2 — a 382-ft-tall, 25-storey office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard.

The proposal calls for 567,000 sq. ft. of AAA office space, and 16,200 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space. There would be enough workspace for about 3,500 people, and the proposed floor area ratio density of this tower is 5.3 times the size of the 2.5-acre lot.

Central City II 10045 King George Boulevard Surrey

Site of the Central City II office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (City of Surrey)

The office tower development site at the northwest corner of King George Boulevard and 100 Avenue. (Google Maps Streetview)

As a result of the decision, city council requested Blackwood Partners — the owner of Central City shopping mall — to consider a taller design, as it was city council’s view that a taller tower was more appropriate for the prominent location in Surrey’s emerging downtown area and its distance of 200 metres from SkyTrain’s King George Station.

The development site is at 10045 King George Boulevard — the northwest corner of hte intersection of Old Yale Road and King George Boulevard, the southeast corner of the mall property where Best Buy was previously located.

Central City II 10045 King George Boulevard Surrey

Artistic rendering of the Central City II office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (ZGF Architects / Blackwood Partners)

A city staff report to be reviewed by city council in a meeting tonight indicates the developer has reaffirmed their position that there is insufficient market demand in Surrey to support additional office space for extra building height.

“Based on market study analysis undertaken by the applicant, the applicant indicates that it is unlikely that it will be possible to secure sufficient pre-leasing commitments to support the development of a larger office tower,” reads the report.

Central City II 10045 King George Boulevard Surrey

Artistic rendering of the Central City II office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (ZGF Architects / Blackwood Partners)

The proposed office tower, designed by ZGF Architects, has a comparable height to Concord’s 36-storey Infinity and Park Place condominium towers immediately across the street, which are both about 382 ft in height. While the proposed office tower has less floors than these residential buildings, office floors typically have taller floor-to-ceiling heights.

The floor plates of the proposed office tower range between 37,500 sq. ft. at the base and 16,625 sq. ft. at the top. The report suggests a reconfiguration of the tower’s floor area, creating a slimmer tower for additional floors, is not desired as there is current market demand — especially from tech companies — for large office floor plates.

Central City II 10045 King George Boulevard Surrey

Artistic rendering of the Central City II office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (ZGF Architects / Blackwood Partners)

Central City II 10045 King George Boulevard Surrey

Artistic rendering of the Central City II office tower at 10045 King George Boulevard, Surrey. (ZGF Architects / Blackwood Partners)

Added height from incorporate a mix of uses, such as residential and hotel, could theoretically be accomplished, but it not contemplated by the proponents.

This tower proposal is the first phase of an eventual multi-phased redevelopment of the entire shopping mall property, which includes not only developing the ground-level parking lots but also demolishing the existing indoor mall.

“Early concept planning exercises related to the future Master Plan envision multiple mid-rise and high rise office and residential towers that will result in significant densification of the site,” the report adds.

Current condition of Central City mall:

Central City Surrey

Existing condition of the Central City property. (Google Maps)

Future potential Central City mall redevelopment concept: