Another neighbourhood-sized redevelopment has been approved for the Cambie Corridor, with the latest project located just west of Oakridge Centre shopping mall.
In the continuation of the public hearing on Wednesday, Vancouver City Council approved Modern Green Canada’s rezoning application for the redevelopment of TransLink’s former Oakridge Transit Centre.
City council approved the project in a 10-1 vote, with NPA councillor Colleen Hardwick in opposition.
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The 14-acre vacant site is framed by West 41st Avenue to the south, located near the northeast corner of the intersection with Oak Street. The R4 RapidBus serves the property, and SkyTrain’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station is either a short walk or bus ride away.
The policy statement for the redevelopment was approved by the previous city council in 2015, and TransLink sold the site to the developer in 2016 for $440 million after it completed the relocation of its facilities to the new Vancouver Transit Centre next to Arthur Laing Bridge.
A number of changes have been made to the project ever since, especially after the rezoning project was referred back to city staff to ask the developer to incorporate additional social housing.
There will be a total of 17 buildings of varying heights up to 275 ft with 26 storeys, with the tallest buildings located along Oak Street — aligning with the tower heights of the Vancouver Jewish Community Centre redevelopment across the street.
The significant social housing component is now consolidated onto a 2.5-acre parcel near the core of the site, creating a total of 330 units — up from the previous 300 units — over 278,000 sq. ft. of floor area. Between four and eight units will be licensed for family childcare operations (up to seven childcare spaces each), creating up to 56 additional new childcare spaces.
There will also be 180 market rental units over 126,000 sq. ft., with 45 units set aside for households with moderate incomes.
The remaining 1,120 units will be condominiums, giving the project a total of 1,630 homes.
Retail and restaurant space will total 24,000 sq. ft. — up by 9,000 sq. ft. — along a new pedestrian-only street parallel to Oak Street at the south end of the property.
A new two-acre central public park with a sports field includes a single-storey pavilion building with a universal public washroom and a purpose-built childcare facility for up to 69 children. This is in addition to up to 56 additional new childcare spaces from family childcare operations within the social housing component; between four and eight social housing units will be licensed for family childcare operations.
Over 40% of the property will be set aside as publicly accessible spaces, such as public parks, open spaces, and new streets, and there will be extensive green design and infrastructure. Moreover, the project will have up to 400 fewer underground parking stalls than required.
James Cheng Architects is behind the overall design of the project, while PFS Studio is the landscape architect.
“This is the largest project of this nature that this city council has contemplated. It’s a pretty significant piece of city building that we’re doing here, and certainly with the long-range plans for the Oakridge Town Centre, this is going to be a fantastic addition to it,” said Green Party councillor Pete Fry.
“I really appreciate the extent of the green and open spaces being contemplated in this design, and I really appreciate the developer Modern Green’s approach to this and their ability to pivot back on some of the requests when we first referred this report to make sure they achieve more for social housing.”
NPA councillor Lisa Dominato added: “I really appreciate the mixed tenure that is here, and the additional social housing that was achieved through referring this back. I think that’s a highlight for me. Most particularly the focus on the public realm, and I think that speaks to council’s point on the social connectedness and how important that is to city building — that we’re not just talking about buildings, we’re talking about people and homes and where people live, thrive, and connect.”
The redevelopment’s total floor area is 1.47 million sq. ft. It will be constructed in four separate phases over 10 to 12 years, with the first two phases located at the southern end of the property. Most of the social housing is in the second phase, with the remainder in the third phase.
The total value of public benefits is $114.3 million, with $65.9 million from the value of social housing, $8 million from the parkside childcare facility, $5 million for the new public park, $1.8 million from the financial contribution for transportation upgrades, $31.2 million for development cost levies, and $2.4 million from the public art contribution.