The redevelopment plans for Oakridge Centre have gone through another major revision, marking the fourth time the project, currently under construction, has gone through fundamental changes over its 15-year planning period.
A new rezoning application submitted by QuadReal Property Group and Westbank calls for height increases of up to 100 ft, accommodating between two and nine additional floors on nearly all of the tower and mid-rise buildings.
Height and building width increases will change the redevelopment’s total residential floor area to 3.031 million sq. ft., up from the previous approved plan for 2.761 million sq. ft.
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Although there is a decrease in total condominium floor area, the number of units for this housing tenure will increase from 1,968 units to 2,330 units.
The number of secured market rental homes will double from 290 units to 609 units, with the secured market rental floor area increasing from 209,578 sq. ft. to 497,145 sq. ft.
There is also a new affordable rental housing component of 94 units over 75,600 sq. ft. However, the social housing component of 290 units remains the same, albeit with a slight increase in floor area.
Overall, there is a net increase of 775 new homes — from the previous plan of 2,548 units to 3,323 units.
The office space component has also increased from 433,176 sq. ft. to 810,436 sq. ft., amounting to a 377,260 sq. ft. increase on job space. This is partially accomplished by a two-storey increase to the existing northeast office tower that will be renovated, a two-storey increase to several other buildings, and a reallocation of the planned new retail space.
The total retail floor area will decrease by 76,859 sq. ft. to 1.206 million sq. ft., largely from a reduction in the second level retail area.
Overall, the redevelopment’s total floor area will increase to about 5.05 million sq. ft., increasing the floor space ratio density from 3.7 to 4.1 times the size of the 28-acre site.
“With a project of this size and complexity, being developed over more than a decade, it is imperative to continue to address the evolving nature of this community and the evolving needs of the city,” explains the application, which discusses the changing conditions of the real estate market as a factor for the revisions.
“Adding more housing diversity to the area makes sense. In this context, considering how dramatically the financial underpinnings of the project have changed, we believe what we are asking of the City is both reasonable to achieve and important, for the project and the city as a whole. We remain committed to ensuring Oakridge delivers more to this community than what was promised.”
Most of the proposed changes are for the second phase of the redevelopment’s construction, outside the scope of the first phase undergoing construction, which is set to reach completion in 2024.
“The project addresses the City of Vancouver mandate for more affordable housing options as well as more density at Transit nodes,” reads the application.
“Strong demand for workspace at Oakridge is and will continue to be fuelled by its locational advantage in one of Vancouver’s Municipal Town Centres and by demand for alternate workspace locations outside of the downtown peninsula that are highly accessible by transit. This rezoning proposes to nearly double the amount of office space adding jobs and public services at a major transit node at the centre of Vancouver.”
The architectural design by Henriquez Partners Architects remains largely the same, but there are several notable additions and improvements.
There are new improved connections to the nine-acre rooftop park and SkyTrain’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station, including a new underground retail corridor that directly connects to the Canada Line station’s underground ticketing concourse level, similar to the CF Pacific Centre entrance to Vancouver City Centre Station.
A new roof canopy provides continuous weather protection between the redesigned street level entrance for the station and the new mall and existing northeast office tower’s frontage along West 41st Avenue.
The base of Building 5 facing Cambie Street will gain new landscaping that wraps around the perimeter of the residential lobby, as well as a new indoor mall entrance carved into the terraced landscaping that is defined by an experiential media screen.
This is conceived as a contemporary “traditional moon gate,” with digital displays covering the walls and floor of the portal-like entrance.
It should also be noted that Building 5, previously containing a condominium component, will now be 100% rental housing with nearly 6o0 units.
A so-called Family Room Mixing Chamber will be a multi-level, vertical circulation node between underground parking and the mall, office, and public park levels.
This large circular opening, located near the core of the mall, features a spiral staircase, escalators, and elevators.
At the public park level near to the food hall’s large patio area, a large covered stage has been added to create flexible space for events and performances.
Other changes to the rooftop park level create organic terracing landscape topography that envelops and conceals the interior spaces of the mall, food hall, and service spaces below.
“The landscape slopes up over the volumes and is expressed as hills and ridges in a unified whole. The terraces are inspired by Asian rice paddies that conform to the topography of the landscape, while the flat planes of each contour provide occupiable and accessible levels,” reads the design rationale.
“A Teahouse at the summit is a meditative multi-use space located within the topography and will be an extension of the restaurant below.”
Upon the full completion of all phases, the new Oakridge Centre will have over 7,000 residents and 6,000 permanent on-site jobs related to the retail, office, public park, and community centre.