Detailed renderings of new design for North Vancouver recreation centre

Jun 4 2021, 2:57 pm

A downsized design for the new replacement Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre (HJCRC) in Central Lonsdale was revealed earlier this spring, and subsequently approved by the City of North Vancouver council.

The new facility was initially approved by the previous city council in 2018, but concerns with the project’s potential financial risk for the small municipality of about 55,000 residents led to the 2019 decision by the current city council to send the design back to the drawing board.

The revised design cut down the cost of the project from $237 million to $181 million by downsizing the aquatic centre’s lane swimming pool from 50 metres to 25 metres, eliminating the curling rink and second gymnasium, and reducing underground vehicle parking by half to about 300 stalls.

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Aside from the 25-metre pool and single gymnasium, downsized plans for the facility still entail an aquatics centre with a large secondary pool for leisure use, as well as an NHL-size ice rink with seating for up to 500 spectators, community atrium and gathering space, multipurpose spaces, fitness gyms, preschool/childcare spaces, youth and arts spaces, and outdoor recreational spaces including a new skate park, play areas, and multi-sport courts.

The spirit of the original architectural concept of the project’s initial larger scope is largely retained in the approved downsized scope, with the extensive use of wood for the underside of the cantilevered spaces and ceilings. HCMA Architecture is retained as the design firm.

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

The new HJCRC will be built immediately to the north of the existing 1966-built facility, which will be closed during construction to allow for its demolition and redevelopment.

The municipal government has chosen Darwin Properties as the partner for the redevelopment of the existing community centre’s 6.6-acre site into Lonsdale Square — a mix of towers and mid-rise buildings with over 800 homes and 20,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Darwin Properties will lease the site from the city over a 99-year term, generating $210 million in revenue for the municipal government over the lifespan of the lease to cover the cost of the new community centre.

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Beyond a smaller construction budget, the revised plan closes the existing facility during the new facility’s construction phase as an additional measure to cut the financial risk to the city further. The closure reduces the need from the initial plan to borrow up to $110 million for the construction financing needed to kick-start the project.

“Closing the facility, as well as leasing and developing the existing HJCRC lands allows the City to have cash in hand during construction. Being able to pay for the centre upfront mitigates much of the financial risk,” states a city staff report.

“Without closing during construction the City would have had to take on significant debt, which would have limited capacity to respond to other infrastructure requirements. Council determined this was an unacceptable level of risk for the organization and the community.”

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 basement floor plan of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 first level floor plan of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 second level floor plan of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

The new community centre will be situated on a city-owned block — next to Highway 1’s Lonsdale Avenue interchange — currently occupied by Centennial Theatre, Norseman Park, Lonsdale Skate Park, and surface parking.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the middle of 2022 for completion in 2025. The initial project timeline aimed for construction to start in 2020 for an opening in 2023, but this was delayed due to the direction of a redesign.

Earlier this week, Darwin Properties began construction on the first phase of Lonsdale Square, containing 113 secured market rental homes, 100 units for assisted living and memory care, and 8,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space.

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre North Vancouver downsized

2021 artistic rendering of the downsized scope of the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. (HCMA Architecture/City of North Vancouver)

lonsdale square north vancouver darwin properties

Artistic rendering of all phases of Lonsdale Square on the footprint of the existing Harry Jerome Community Recreational Centre in the City of North Vancouver. (Darwin Properties)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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