Metro Vancouver’s new manmade pinnacle will be located at the northeast corner of the Metropolis at Metrotown mall site in Burnaby’s emerging downtown.
Concord Pacific is pushing forward with its plans to build a multi-tower, mixed-use redevelopment on the nine-acre parcel of the mall it acquired from Sears in 2015. Currently, the site includes the former Sears store building and pay parking.
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One of the towers in the first phase of the eastern half of the Concord-owned property will carry the title of the region’s tallest tower. Standing at 755 ft in height with 65 storeys, the predominantly residential tower will be 96 ft taller than Living Shangri-La in downtown Vancouver, which has been the region’s tallest building since 2009.
The tallest of the planned towers will carry the title of the region’s tallest tower for at least several years, until an 81-storey tower over 800 ft in height with retail, hotel, and condominium uses, located near SkyTrain’s Lougheed Town Centre Station, reaches completion. However, this other tall tower project by another developer is still in the early proposal stage under review by the City of Burnaby.
Western Canada’s tallest tower is currently the 823-ft-tall, 66-storey office and residential Stantec Tower at the new ICE District in downtown Edmonton. The Concord Metrotown tower will be the tallest residential tower in this part of the country.
Concord Metrotown’s pinnacle tower will also visually appear as much taller than it really is due to the site’s high elevation of 429 ft above sea level. For context, this is slightly taller than the peak of Queen Elizabeth Park, which is the tallest geographical point in Vancouver.
This means the tall tower will have a geodetic height (structural and elevation combined) of 1,181 ft, just slightly under the 1,214-ft height of Burnaby Mountain.
“Relative to the Lower Mainland landscape, it will appear extremely tall because the 755 ft height will be on top of what is a very highly elevated site, much more than Vancouver,” Peter Webb, the senior vice-president of development for Concord Pacific, told Daily Hive Urbanized in an interview earlier this month.
The other two towers in the first phase of Concord Metrotown are not stubs in any way, reaching 542 ft with 45 storeys for the centre tower and 412 ft with 33 storeys for the west tower.
All three towers, including the 65-storey tower at the property’s corner with the intersection of Kingsway and Nelson Avenue, will have a total floor area of about 1.2 million sq. ft., mostly for the footprint of roughly 1,400 homes.
All three towers — designed by IBI Group — also share the same three-storey podium, with some of the indoor resident amenities, bike storage, and 30,000 sq. ft. of ground-level retail and restaurant space.
Webb says the rooftop of this site-wide podium structure will enable the creation of the “Sky Park” — 66,000 sq. ft. of outdoor amenity space for the building’s residents.
This includes swimming pools, sports courts, landscaped green spaces, lounge areas, an egg-shaped glass observatory, and a 400-metre walking and running track shaped with the infinity figure, which will be illuminated at night. Various indoor amenity spaces on the third level open up to this outdoor amenity space.
The first tower being marketed is the 45-storey centre tower with 429 units. All three towers are expected to reach completion towards the middle of this decade.
The western half of the Concord-owned property will have three additional towers, bringing the developer’s entire project on the former Sears site to up to seven towers. This future phase will be required to follow Burnaby’s inclusionary housing policy of incorporating some rental homes into the residential mix. The rezoning of this next phase has yet to reach completion.
Moving forward, the developer says its building designs will have an enhanced health safety-oriented design. The “Bio Space” initiative incorporates better spatial planning, better airflow to reduce exposure to pathogens, hepa filtration, fewer touchpoints such as touchless building entry, and even elevator e-call by mobile device. The developer’s first project to receive these design components will be Marylebone Square in Central London in the United Kingdom, which had its groundbreaking today.
Over time, the entire Concord Metrotown two-phased redevelopment will be integrated to the overall future plans to redevelop the rest of the shopping mall property, which is owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge.
The developer is in the early stages of consultation and planning for the multi-phase, decades-long vision of demolishing most of the existing indoor mall to create new city blocks for a mix of new high-density towers with retail, entertainment and cultural uses, office space, and housing, as well as new public spaces. A smaller indoor mall component will be retained near the core of the site, and a performing arts centre will also be located adjacent to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Station.
The southward extension of McMurray Street into the Concord site will be the first leg of the extended McMurray Street through the mall.
“The City of Burnaby is wanting to try and reintegrate the arterial roads back through the land the mall presently occupies,” continued Webb.
“New roads will bisect through the Metrotown mall, but they will take many decades to evolve to that point. The mall has very many long-term leases that restrict the ability to change. There will be an effort to put arterial roads through.”
Ivanhoe Cambridge is planning to build up to 15,000 homes on its 47-acre mall site, with 30% of the units dedicated as rentals.
Webb adds that Concord may be involved as a partner for some of these residential developments within the Ivanhoe Cambridge-owned property.