Homes for up to 18,000 people proposed for Point Grey in Vancouver (RENDERINGS)

Oct 19 2021, 11:00 am

The year is 2050, and the final phase of the Jericho Lands development in Vancouver’s Point Grey neighbourhood has just reached completion.

Imagine dozens of buildings, ranging from low-rise buildings to high-rise towers, within an urban fabric that encourages non-vehicular modes of transportation. A new on-site SkyTrain station as part of the potential future Millennium Line extension from Arbutus Station to the University of British Columbia serves much of the transportation needs of residents, workers, and visitors.

The Jericho Lands has grown into a vibrant, mixed-use community, providing ample new housing for diverse incomes and significant new commercial space.

That is the vision being outlined for the proposed development of the 90-acre Jericho Lands — a largely undeveloped site framed by West 4th Avenue to the north, Highbury Street to the east, West 8th Avenue to the south, and Trimble Park to the west. The sprawling, hillside site, a former military base, is owned by a partnership of three local First Nations — Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh, collectively known as the MST Development Corporation — and federal crown corporation Canada Lands Company.

During a launch event on Monday evening, after years of planning, proponents and city staff unveiled the envisioned scale of development and outlined two different potential options — named “Eagle” and “Weave” — for how the overall neighbourhood and specific amenities and features can be configured and oriented. These details are being released for a new round of public consultation.

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Existing condition of the Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Building cluster and height options: Option 1 Eagle (left); Option 2 Weave (right). (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

There could be up to 10 million sq ft of floor area in the project, including nine million sq ft of residential space containing about 9,000 homes for between 15,000 and 18,000 people. These residences would be largely market housing, but there would still be a substantial 30% affordable housing component, with 20% of the units set aside for social housing and 10% as rentals.

If realized, this single development would more than double the entire Point Grey neighbourhood’s existing population of 13,000 residents spread over more than four sq km.

About one million sq ft of floor area would be dedicated to retail and restaurant space, office and institution space, and amenities.

The total floor area of Jericho Lands would be 40% larger than River District in the East Fraser Lands, 70% larger than Wesbrook Village at UBC, double that of the new Oakridge Centre, two-and-a-half times larger than Squamish Nation’s Senakw, triple the size of the Pearson Dogwood redevelopment, four times larger than MST Corporation’s Heather Lands redevelopment, five times larger than the Plaza of Nations redevelopment, or nearly seven times larger than the combined original buildings of the Olympic Village.

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Layout concepts: Option 1 Eagle (left); Option 2 Weave (right). (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Building cluster options: Option 1 Eagle (left); Option 2 Weave (right). (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

In both concepts, the bulk of the retail spaces — establishing a new retail district — are generally located in the northeast quadrant of the site, effectively as a westward continuation of West 4th Avenue’s retail strip. This is a mixed-use area with commercial spaces in the lower levels, and residential uses in the upper levels.

Both the Eagle and Weave options also entail three tall landmark towers up to 38 storeys within the northwest quadrant, in the approximate area of the existing Jericho Hill Centre. The trio of towers, dubbed the “sentinels,” symbolizes each of the three First Nations involved in the project. The area anchored by the sentinels would see a mix of residential and office uses. Although the retail cluster is in the northeast quadrant, the core of the neighbourhood is in the northwest quadrant at the sentinels.

As these sentinel towers are on a higher elevation compared to parcels of the site to the east, they will appear even taller than their actual height from certain perspectives.

At this preliminary stage of planning, the proponents are envisioning locating an underground SkyTrain station near the geographic centre of the site, right next to the sentinels, to serve the development’s highest employment and residential densities.

Such a location for the station would likely have some implications on the construction cost of the subway line given the routing that detours from the previously assumed straight-line route that follows 10th Avenue west of Alma Street, as well as increased travel times for passengers using the line. But the envisioned scale of development would almost certainly improve the already-compelling case for building the UBC extension, along with a station that specifically serves Jericho Lands. The proponents have suggested they could offer the land needed for a station.

Option 1 Eagle:

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Land use and layout of Option 1 Eagle for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

Option 2 Weave:

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Land use and layout of Option 2 Weave for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

Other than the sentinels, the second tallest building height in both concepts is proposed to reach 32 storeys.

The level of density achieved through height reduces ground footprint usage, allowing for 20 acres — more than one-fifth of the overall site — to be dedicated as public park and open spaces, including a sports field near the core of the site, plazas, grassy areas, and naturalized areas.

Both options feature a wide corridor for pedestrians and cyclists that crosses through the site east-west. This corridor also links to the broader network of pedestrian and cyclist pathways that criss-cross the site.

The Eagle and Weave options also incorporate extensive water features that stretch relatively linearly across the site, including along the site’s frontage with West 4th Avenue. During earlier consultations, the possibility of daylighting buried streams on the site was suggested as an idea.

New signalized traffic intersections and crossings for pedestrians and cyclists along West 4th Avenue would serve to calm vehicle traffic flowing the area. East-west active transportation pathways would be added from this street redesign, and connectivity to Jericho Beach Park immediately to the north would see improvements.

Option 1: Eagle

The skyline of the Eagle option has one main peak, established by the sentinels in the northwest quadrant, and a secondary peak in the southeast quadrant, where there is a shorter cluster of towers, including the second tallest building heights in Jericho Lands.

The Eagle concept features an elongated car-free green spine that stretches throughout the entire site, with zero road crossings for vehicles. It runs diagonally across the site from the northeast corner (intersection of West 4th Avenue and Highbury Street) to the southwest corner (Trimble Park; intersection of West 8th Avenue and Discovery Street).

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 1 Eagle concept for Jericho Lands, looking southwest into the car-free corridor from the entrance plaza at the intersection of West 4th Avenue and Highbury Street in the northeast quadrant. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 1 Eagle concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 1 Eagle concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

From the intersection of West 4th Avenue and Highbury Street at the site’s very northeast corner, the spine for pedestrians and cyclists begins from a large plaza.

As the pathway ascends up the hillside, it is lined by stormwater channels to a central park of natural woodlands and recreational spaces, crosses through a mixed-use urban plaza next to the sentinels with the subway station entrance, and reaches up to the lookout plaza at the top of the ridge next to Trimble Park.

Framed by a canyon of buildings, the spine provides a protected view corridor of English Bay, the downtown Vancouver skyline, and the mountains from the lookout plaza.

A super-sized water feature along the site’s West 4th Avenue frontage would be accomplished by drastically narrowing the width of this major roadway — the complete elimination of the existing eastbound lanes, and a reconfiguration of the existing westbound lanes for both vehicle lane directions. The existing treed median would be integrated into the site’s green spaces.

West 4th Avenue is a critical east-west arterial roadway serving UBC and destinations along the way.

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Narrowing of West 4th Avenue for a water feature at Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 1 Eagle concept for Jericho Lands. Click on the image for an enlarged version.. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 1 Eagle concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

Option 2: Weave

Rather than having a single pinnacle point, the Weave’s skyline is distributed across the site, with taller building heights scattered.

For the Weave concept, the neighbourhood would be established through a fine-grained “mobility and social space” network that winds around a central east-west pedestrian and cycling corridor.

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 2 Weave concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 2 Weave concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 2 Weave concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

This central spine ties together three distinct neighbourhood hearts and is bisected by a north-south park, urban forest, and open space patch. Cultural and community amenities, retail spaces, and the subway station next to the sentinals are intrinsically connected. There are also stormwater streams interwoven through the site along pathways and other public spaces.

Unlike the Eagle option, the concept for the Weave incorporates some new local north-south, through-road connections for vehicles between West 4th Avenue and West 8th Avenue. The streets connect to the surrounding neighbourhood with welcome entrances.

jericho lands vancouver concept plan weave

Option 2 Weave site concept plan for Jericho Lands. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 2 Weave concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

jericho lands vancouver concept plan

Option 2 Weave concept for Jericho Lands. (MST Development Corporation/Canada Lands Company)

Project proponents and the City of Vancouver are seeking public input on the concepts through an online survey, which will remain open until November 14, 2021.

Input will be used to refine a concept for the Jericho Lands draft policy statement, which will go to public consultation before it is considered by city council. If approved, the policy statement would guide the future rezoning applications for the Jericho Lands.

Construction on the first phases of the development could begin as early as 2025. The project would be constructed over the span of between 25 and 30 years.

Unlike Senakw, the Jericho Lands are not on reserve, requiring the proponents to follow the City of Vancouver’s policies and approval processes.

The MST Development Corporation partnered with Canada Lands Company to acquire the site’s two parcels from the federal and provincial governments in the mid-2010s. Both parcels were acquired in two separate deals for a combined value of $717 million.

The recently decommissioned Jericho Garrison on the site was the last of the military installations in the area.

jericho lands west point grey

Aerial of the Jericho Lands in West Point Grey. (City of Vancouver)

Jericho Lands 8th Avenue Vancouver

View of the Jericho Lands from the site’s southwest corner, looking northeast from West 8th Avenue. (Google Maps)


Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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