The new owners of Oakridge Centre have announced they are restarting the design process for the shopping centre’s planned retail, office, and residential development.
Earlier this year, Vancouver-based real estate investment firm QuadReal Property Group acquired the 28.4-acre property from longtime mall owner and operator Ivanhoe Cambridge. The property officially changed hands to QuadReal on June 1.
However, the redevelopment plan is being redesigned and will likely be scaled down after a shallow aquifer was discovered below the site in 2015.
A 2007 rezoning initially permitted a redevelopment with a floor area of 2.6 million square feet. This first plan would have expanded the existing shopping centre from 575,000 square feet to 950,000 square feet and added 326,000 square feet of office space and 1.25 million square feet of residential. New buildings would reach no taller than 24 storeys.
But Ivanhoe Cambridge came back to Vancouver City Council several years later with a request for greater density.
After much deliberation, Council approved another rezoning in 2014, increasing the redevelopment’s maximum floor area to 4.6 million square feet, including more than a dozen buildings, ranging between 12 and 44 storeys. This second plan included 1.385 million square feet of retail, 424,300 square feet of office space, and 2.761 million square feet of residential for 6,200 people.
However, in response to the discovery of the aquifer in 2015, this was reduced by about 25% – to 3.5 million square feet, with much of the loss coming from a reduction in the size of the retail expansion.
Construction on the project was set to begin in 2016 for a full completion of all phases by 2024, but this was never started.
Now, with a third plan announced, it remains to be seen when shoppers will be able to enjoy a new Oakridge Centre.
New design will retain community benefits
In a release on its intentions for the property, QuadReal says it has retained Westbank as the project’s partner and suggests no new rezoning will be required as the new redevelopment plans – the third full plan in a decade for the site – will align with the City of Vancouver’s approved rezoning in 2014.
Cancelled 2007 plan
Cancelled 2014 plan
The company states that all community benefits promised in the 2014 rezoning will be implemented into the design, including a nine-acre public park, 70,000-square-foot civic centre with a new library, daycare, seniors centre, and community centre, and 290 affordable homes.
“We are in the process of designing an inspiring residential, shopping and business community that abides by the rezoning already approved by the City of Vancouver, and enhances the area’s multicultural character and the shopping centre’s flagship status,” said Remco Daal, President of QuadReal’s Canadian real estate division.
The new redevelopment plans will be made available to the public for review this fall.
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