Concord Pacific planning 5 additional towers for Sears Metrotown redevelopment

Oct 5 2021, 10:00 pm

The second phase of Concord Pacific’s development at Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre is moving forward, and it is expected to be significantly larger than the first phase.

The developer has started the rezoning application process with the City of Burnaby to redevelop the eastern half of the portion of the mall previously owned by Sears, located at the northeast corner of the overall shopping centre site.

Concord acquired the nine-acre property from Sears in 2015, entailing a portion of the surface payparking lot facing Kingsway and the Sears department store building, which has been under-utilized since the chain’s closure in Canada.

Concord Metrotown’s first phase is already underway, with the developer building three towers on the eastern portion of the site, currently used for parking. This first phase entails three towers — including Metro Vancouver’s new tallest tower, standing at 755 ft (230 m) with 65 storeys. Except for 30,000 sq ft of ground-level retail and restaurant space, the first phase’s total floor area of 1.2 million sq ft is almost entirely residential, with roughly 1,400 homes.

concord metrotown map overlay

Approximate footprints of Concord Metrotown’s first phase (blue) and second phase (red) on the property formerly owned by Sears at Metropolis at Metrotown mall. (Daily Hive/Google Maps)

metropolis at metrotown redevelopment

Concord Metrotown in relation to Ivanhoe Cambridge’s future Metropolis at Metrotown redevelopment. (Concord Pacific)

Early directions for the second phase show the maximum permitted density is twice the first phase — over 2.4 million sq ft. But unlike the first phase, this includes a very significant commercial space component, with half of the second phase’s floor area — 1.2 million sq ft — dedicated for retail, restaurant, and office uses.

Concord has indicated it is planning to build at least a very substantial portion of this commercial space, along with the residential uses.

In a letter to the City of Burnaby in August 2021, Concord senior vice-president of planning Matt Meehan states the second phase of Concord Metrotown will include five towers on commercial and rental podiums. It will consist of three residential towers on six-storey retail and rental podiums, one rental housing-only tower, and one office tower over a podium with retail, rental housing, and additional office space.

At this early stage of planning, the exact tower heights have not been provided. New roads would be built through the site to create new city blocks serving the buildings.

The second phase would also necessitate the demolition of the mall’s former Sears building, which is one of the oldest sections of the indoor mall. It is currently purposed as a presentation centre for the developer.

concord metrotown sears

Exterior of the former Sears department store at Metropolis at Metrotown mall, currently used as a Concord Pacific presentation centre. (Google Maps)

concord metrotown sears

Exterior of the former Sears department store at Metropolis at Metrotown mall, currently used as a Concord Pacific presentation centre. (Google Maps)

Altogether, both first and second phases each have about 1.2 million sq ft of residential space, including added density to allow the developer to abide with the municipal government’s inclusionary rental housing policy.

Concord is aiming to complete the first phase of the Metrotown project towards the middle of this decade. The second phase would likely follow afterwards. When fully complete, there would be eight towers sitting on podiums, with retail and restaurants activating the new public streets.

concord metrotown first phase rendering

Artistic rendering of the first phase of Concord Metrotown, including Metro Vancouver’s new tallest building. (Concord Pacific)

concord metrotown

Artistic rendering of the Metropolis at Metrotown redevelopment. (Ivanhoe Cambridge)

concord metrotown

Artistic rendering of Concord Metrotown in relation to Ivanhoe Cambridge’s future Metropolis at Metrotown redevelopment. The first phase of Concord Metrotown is depicted, but the shown second phase, now with five towers, is no longer accurate. (Concord Pacific)

A number of major towers, each taller than existing buildings in downtown Vancouver, are also planned by other developers for the area.

This includes a long-term vision by Ivanhoe Cambridge to redevelop the mall into dozens of towers with 15,000 new homes, plus ample retail, restaurant, and office space. The indoor mall would be demolished to carve in new city blocks. Ivanhoe Cambridge previously indicated to Daily Hive Urbanized a potential partnership with Concord Pacific for their portion of the mall property is possible.

To the north in Burnaby’s Brentwood area, Concord has also indicated to the municipal government it is ready to advance the third phase of its Woodlands redevelopment into five buildings, including four condominium towers and one non-market rental housing building. A major city-owned public park would also be created in the process as part of Woodlands’ third phase.

The maximum density allowed for the Woodlands’ third phase is about 2.45 million sq ft, which would be almost entirely residential.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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