Massive redevelopment with 4,000 homes proposed for SkyTrain's Moody Centre Station

Jul 29 2020, 4:56 pm

One of Metro Vancouver’s largest transit-oriented, mixed-use, high-density redevelopments is proposed for one of the region’s smallest municipalities, Port Moody.

A formal application to amend Port Moody’s official community plan (OCP) for a 23-acre site immediately next to SkyTrain and West Coast Express’ Moody Centre Station has been submitted to the municipal government.

The area accounts for seven city blocks of different sizes, framed by St. John’s Street to the south, Moody Street to the west, SkyTrain and Canadian Pacific Railway to the north, and Buller Street to the east. Currently, the site is low-density commercial and industrial, with a mix of occupied and vacant buildings.

The application — designed by Perkins + Will Architects — is spearheaded by Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group, a consortium comprised of nine property owners, including Anthem Properties, Beedie Living, PCI Developments, Woodridge Homes, three local families, the provincial government, and TransLink. The public transit authority is exploring a redevelopment of its park-and-ride next to the station.

Current condition:

moody centre transit oriented development port moody

Existing condition of the Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development site. (Google Maps)

Future condition:

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual form depiction of Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

There could be as many as 4,135 new homes, including 2,500 to 3,300 condominiums, 300 to 385 market rental homes, and 400 to 450 affordable homes.

These homes will be largely contained within over a dozen towers reaching up to 36 storeys in height, with the tallest towers located next to the station and tapering downwards for parcels farthest away from the transit hub. Tower spacing will allow for solar access and protect views of the inlet and mountains. Building heights in this area are currently restricted to up to 12 storeys.

Podium levels at the base of these towers will see uses that include retail, restaurants, office, tech, light industrial, and post-secondary institutions, creating about 600 retail and restaurant jobs and 1,400 jobs for the other uses. The employment generated will increase Port Moody’s total job supply by 27%.

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual form depiction of Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual artistic rendering of Spring Street at Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

Retail frontage will be required for the full length of St. John’s Street on the development site, a section of Spring Street near the core of the site, and Williams Street to enhance the street corridor leading to the transit hub.

The entire redevelopment is being designed as a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented district that is fully integrated with the transit hub.

Spring Street, which runs east-west across the site, will be narrowed into a one-way street for vehicles to accommodate wider sidewalks and bike lanes.

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual artistic rendering of the pedestrian overpass over SkyTrain and CPR tracks and the developments at Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

Currently, the area suffers from poor connectivity due to the physical barrier created by the SkyTrain guideway and CP railway tracks.

But a new pedestrian overpass over the tracks will connect the new downtown and transit hub to the south with PCI Developments’ new redevelopment and Rocky Point Park to the north. Ramps on both ends of this overpass will ensure the route is fully accessible.

A 15,000-sq-ft urban plaza at the foot of Williams Street will provide an entrance gateway into the transit hub’s entrance, the pedestrian overpass, and a community gathering space that is suitable for events, food trucks, and other seasonal activities.

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual artistic rendering of the transit plaza outside the SkyTrain station entrance and the pedestrian overpass at Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

“The Moody Centre TOD plan presents a large opportunity for the City to concentrate its region’s growth in a transit-oriented location that preserves open and rural space. The plan presents an exciting prospect for a new and holistic approach towards transportation,” reads the application.

“The site will integrate multiple modes of mobility to provide a centralized nexus for transportation, helping the City realize its plans for a walkable and inviting City Centre area. New growth and the integration of transit into the urban fabric will contribute to the revitalization of Spring Street.”

When all phases of the redevelopment are complete, the proponents believe downtown Port Moody will achieve a transportation mode split of 45% automobile, 45% public transit (bus loop, SkyTrain, and West Coast Express), and 10% walking and cycling.

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual artistic rendering of a park, retail, and office space at Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

Due to its location, Port Moody is a “natural commuter conduit” for vehicle traffic from Coquitlam, Burnaby, and other areas traveling through the city on their way to another destination. The proponents see this regional vehicle traffic as problematic.

“The flow of traffic through Port Moody has long been an issue. The question is whether this external condition should continue to limit the opportunity to create a truly wonderful City Centre within Port Moody, one that can be far less car dependent than the farther afield communities that feed traffic into the area,” reads the application.

“Moody Centre provides the opportunity to improve the urban fabric by influencing the nature and destination of the traffic that causes the congestion.”

Based on traffic models, the arterial roads of Murray Street and St. Johns Street are expected to reach capacity by 2050 without the Moody Centre redevelopment.

“Studies have shown that proceeding with any development in central Port Moody without additional road capacity will not increase vehicle volumes on the study area road network rather, the number of vehicles on the road will stay constant and external trips passing through the study area will be replaced by local trips,” continues the application.

Other public realm elements that will be incorporated include daylighting the Dallas and Slaughterhouse creeks running near the core of the site with natural features, as well as pocket parks and pedestrian mews.

Moody Centre TOD Area Master Planning Group Port Moody

Conceptual artistic rendering of daylighted streams at Moody Centre Transit-Oriented Development in Port Moody. (Moody Centre TOD)

If approved, the revised OCP will guide future rezoning and development applications by the various property owners. In exchange for the form of development, the developers will provide the municipal government with a combined total of $135 million in bonus density, community amenity contributions, and development costs, including $75 million from in-kind contributions and over $60 million in direct funding.

Earlier this year, Mayor Rob Vagramov called on the consortium to reduce the number of residential towers, lower the tower heights, increase affordable housing options, increase the focus on tech and office space, and increase park space, but the resolution was rejected by a majority of city council.

Port Moody’s population is expected to grow from about 34,000 today to 50,000 by 2041. This redevelopment next to the transit hub could potentially add tens of thousands of residents to the city.

A number of other major redevelopments are planned for the city, including the approved Flavelle sawmill redevelopment on the waterfront, located just west of the Moody Centre site. It includes a dozen towers reaching up to 38 storeys, 3,400 homes, and about 500,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant, office, and light industrial space.