Proponents of a significant redevelopment next to the future 160 Street Station of SkyTrain Expo Line’s Fraser Highway extension are envisioning providing a mixed-use community hub for the emerging Fleetwood area.
Earlier this year, a rezoning and development permit application for 16065-16099 Fraser Highway was submitted to the City of Surrey called for three towers reaching heights of up to 40, 44, and 57 storeys, respectively, with uses that entail 1,320 homes and nearly 87,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, such as retail, restaurant, and office uses.
In a recent interview with Daily Hive providing further preliminary details on the proposal, Mike Bucci, the vice-president of development of Bucci Developments, said the uses, form, and heights of the redevelopment are still very much fluid, entirely dependent on community feedback and market demand.
- See also:
What they are envisioning is a big leap for the Fleetwood area, which is considered a transitionary area in the overall context of the South of Fraser’s urban growth.
Beyond providing merely strata homes, they are looking to incorporate a sizeable rental housing portion into the development, but he says the jury is still out on whether they can make the economics work given the location.
A substantial portion of the commercial space component is intended to be office space, but he is unsure of how successful such a use will be.
Bucci says anchor tenants with institutional uses could make the scale of this commercial space a “slam dunk.”
He has reached out to Surrey School District on the possibility of incorporating a Kindergarten to grade 3 primary school to help address the municipality’s dire shortage of school capacity, as well as turf play space for the children and office space for the school district.
Other envisioned uses entail a local police detachment for the new Surrey Police department that houses purpose-built facilities for the needs of Fleetwood.
As for the non-office commercial space, shops and restaurants could be oriented around a central public plaza, effectively activating this outdoor space by clustering these businesses in a tight and intimate configuration.
“Fleetwood needs a bit of an identity and character, it does not have a town centre. So we’re looking to create a juxtaposition with Surrey City Centre, which I define as very beautiful and tall towers with open plazas that are rarely at capacity,” he said.
“We need an architectural form and character that is quite different from Surrey City Centre, and one of the ways it can manifest is the mixed-use approach like the incorporation of the school.”
The development site is on two lots just east of 160 Street, totalling about five acres combined. Both lots are currently under-utilized automotive properties.
They have also offered a portion of their property for the required footprint of the SkyTrain station structure, which would effectively help solidify this development as part of the core of the new Fleetwood Town Centre.
The municipal government is currently in the early stages of its Fleetwood Plan process, which is slated to be completed in 2022 after various rounds of public consultation. Bucci is striving to have this proposal and the new Fleetwood Plan inform each other through collaboration, with factors that fulfill practical needs such as providing a sufficient level of density to justify the SkyTrain extension investment, addressing chronically overcapacity schools in the city, and offering local-serving retail, services, and amenities.
“It’s pretty rare to get such a large parcel of undeveloped land on a future SkyTrain line,” he said. “Let’s work together to find each other.”
This is the largest development proposal to date on the Fraser Highway corridor east of Surrey City Centre, and it has the potential to establish the benchmark of not only other future redevelopments around 160 Street Station but all along the SkyTrain extension route.
“I think we have to define what success looks like. I think if we just throw up a bunch of houses for the sake of houses, this will not be a successful exercise. We need to accept the fact that Surrey is the fastest growing city in Canada, it’s definitely shouldering the burden of Metro Vancouver’s growth,” said Bucci.
“We have much more progressive neighbourhoods and communities that are willing to look at new forms of development. I think success will involve a lot of mixed used and collaboration with the local communities to meet their needs.”
The project’s scale and diverse uses likely align with the City of Surrey’s new commitment to TransLink to significantly densify the areas around the future stations for residential, commercial, and institutional uses.
The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain Supportive Policies Agreement — agreed between the municipality and the public transit authority — requires the city to consult with both TransLink and the provincial government early in the planning process on development applications near future stations in order “to achieve the best possible land use, housing, transportation, and design outcomes.”
If all goes as planned, construction on the SkyTrain extension between King George Station and 166 Street, also in Fleetwood, could begin in 2022 for a completion in 2025. Additional funding is required for the remaining route between 166 Street and Langley Centre.