Revised plans for Coquitlam waterfront: 5,500 homes with more rentals, public amenities

May 2 2022, 6:43 pm

The plan to provide Coquitlam with its own waterfront community has gained new momentum, with the developer providing the municipal government with an update that outlines major revisions that add more housing and community amenities.

The redevelopment of the old Fraser Mills site was previously green-lit in 2008 under the city’s Waterfront Village Centre Neighbourhood Plan, but since the initial approval, the project has evolved and grown in size.

Based on the newly submitted application by Beedie, the development site, largely previously a sawmill, has grown from 89 acres to 91.5 acres with the acquisition of the former ICBC Air Care site. Fraser Mills will be a pocket of mixed-use area on the Fraser River’s industrial waterfront — at the southern foot of King Edward Street, and just south of Highway 1 and Coquitlam’s IKEA and Cineplex.

While the redevelopment will offer some new industrial uses, the mixed-use development comes at a time when there is a growing regional consensus to protect existing industrial lands, and prevent further attrition into non-traditional industrial uses, given the extreme shortage and high demand for industrial spaces. Three new industrial buildings have been built next to the site since the original 2008 approval, including the AG Hair building.

fraser mills coquitlam location

Location and walking distance of Fraser Mills to SkyTrain Braid Station. (Google Maps)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

Location of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

There will be 16 towers, with heights ranging from 29 storeys to 49 storeys, plus various low- and mid-rise buildings.

The total number of homes now reaches about 5,500 units — up from the previous 5,000. This is partially from increasing the number of rental housing, with 235 market rental units and 235 non-market rental units, alongside 5,030 condominium units.

A childcare facility component has been added, with an initial capacity for 69 kids, and ultimately expandable to 114 kids when the neighbourhood is more built out and sees more residents. Space will also be set aside for a potential future school.

The developer is committing to incorporate 795,000 sq ft of employment space, including retail and restaurant spaces, office uses, and light industrial. This represents a slight decrease in overall employment space compared to the previous plan and a slight decrease in retail, but an increase in office and light industrial. Overall employment spaces are expected to support at least 1,700 on-site jobs.

The retail space, including a grocery store, would be focused around the community centre at the core of the site, next to the river. Retail-lined streets were previously planned, but the concept now calls for a more concentrated retail cluster.

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Mixed-use plan of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Tower heights of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Site plan of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Previously conceptualized as a private amenity building, the public community centre will span 50,000 sq ft, potentially featuring an aquatic centre.

The community centre is planned for a parcel adjacent to the riverfront park, which will be one of the largest public parks in the redevelopment’s total of 16.6 acres of parks and open spaces. As a unique riverfront public space, the old Kiewit wharf will be retained and refurbished for publicly accessible use, and a new pier will be added. These features necessitate the finalization of a 20-year lease with the Fraser Port Authority for the use of land and amenities along the river.

Two creeks running north-south would see their riparian areas improved. A greenway paralleling a western creek provides a pedestrian route between the riverfront park and a large dog park at the northern end next to United Boulevard.

To establish east-west links across the site, three new additional bridges will be built across the Historic Como Creek Greenway, including a road extension of King Edward Street and two pedestrian bridges. Two more new bridges, one as a road and another for pedestrians, are also planned for Como Creek on the eastern perimeter of the site.

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022 10

2022 revised concept: New and improved public spaces and riparian areas at Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

coquitlam fraser mills beedie

2020 artistic rendering of Fraser Mills in Coquitlam. (Beedie Development Group)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Artistic rendering of a residential building in an initial phase of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Artistic rendering of a residential building in an initial phase of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Artistic rendering of an industrial building in an initial phase of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

A considerable level of residential and employment density is planned for Fraser Mills, but the area is poorly served by bus services, and is at least a 20-minute walk to SkyTrain Braid Station through an industrial area with poor sidewalk infrastructure.

Beedie is proposing to provide TransLink with an ongoing subsidy to provide Fraser Mills with additional bus service to meet a level consistent with frequent transit network standards — at least every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and at least every 20 minutes on Sundays/holidays from morning to late evening. The developer’s operating subsidy for the bus service would last until both projected populations and ridership levels are achieved.

Fraser Mills would initially be served by a “short turn” route between the development site and Braid Station, and the future rerouting of the No. 159 bus through the development instead of along United Boulevard.

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2022 revised concept: New and improved public spaces and riparian areas at Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

Fraser Mills Coquitlam Waterfront Village Centre 2022

2022 revised concept: Phasing plan of Fraser Mills. (Beedie)

The revisions call for redevelopment in six phases, with work beginning on the western parcels and then gradually eastward. This will start with two industrial buildings, and then the first 2,000 homes — including all of the rental housing — plus the initial retail with a grocery store, childcare facility, riverfront park, refurbished wharf, Historic Como Creek Greenway, and two industrial buldings.

The community centre, a major plaza, and more retail would be built in the third phase.

The bulk of the housing, as well as the office space, another industrial building, and remaining retail space, would be built in the final three phases. If the school is achieved, it would be built in the final phase, when the residential component is fully built out.

Altogether, there would be up to 5.3 million sq ft of residential floor area, 100,000 sq ft of retail floor area, and 700,000 sq ft of light industrial and office floor area.

In exchange for the density and various uses, Beedie will provide the City of Coquitlam with $125 million in municipal development cost charges, $6.14 million to the city’s affordable housing reserve fund, and $61 million for the construction of the city-owned and operated community centre. Another $3.5 million would be dedicated to up to 15 pieces of on-site public art.

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