Concord Pacific believes its case for a non-industrial, high-density, mixed-use redevelopment for the former Molson Coors brewery site is getting stronger as time flows on.
The longstanding industrial zoning designation remains as the primary obstacle for the developer’s plans to proceed with a detailed formal proposal to redevelop the 7.6-acre property at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge into Quantum Park.
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Last week, Daily Hive Urbanized provided a first glimpse of the finer details and architectural designs of the preliminary concept for the massive redevelopment.
In a follow up interview on Monday, Peter Webb, the senior vice-president of development for Concord Pacific, told Daily Hive Urbanized this is one of the several schemes that they considered for the property, but it is also the latest scheme — designed before the revelation and approval of Squamish First Nation’s adjacent Senakw development in late 2019.
This is far from being the final design, and future revisions will account for the compatibility of Quantum Park with Senakw. Webb said this includes a larger planning study that includes the Senakw lands to explore shared solutions of access, and conducting other studies that potentially reach Vanier Park and Kitsilano Point for a more wholistic look into the neighbourhood.
“We’ve worked with the Squamish First Nation in the past, and we’ll continue to do so in the best as we can to come up with a symbiotic design solution that works as a larger master plan approach,” said Webb. The First Nation is also one of the developer’s potential partners for the redevelopment of the St. Paul’s Hospital site further north along the Burrard Street corridor.
But all of this is contingent on the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver Regional District permitting a change of land use.
Webb asserts the brewery no longer fits in the new and evolving context of False Creek into mixed-use districts and neighbourhoods — a departure away from the inner harbour’s historical uses for heavy industry and railyards.
Another vestige of the area’s industrial past is located just to the west. Lululemon’s existing global headquarters at 1818 Cornwall Avenue was previously a Coca-Cola bottling plant prior to its conversion into office space.
“The way Vancouver has grown over the years, it’s almost obvious that the appropriate use of industrial use for the location is no longer the case,” he said.
There are also transportation issues for freight trucks if the property were to see new traditional industrial uses. Freight trains previously operated on the railway on the Arbutus Corridor, with the last train operating in the early 2000s when the brewery switched its transportation method to trucking.
The brewery at its peak employed up to 250 employees. Over its final years before the recent relocation to a new facility in Chilliwack, employment was under 90 staff.
Webb argues that Quantum Park’s composition of 300,000 sq. ft. of tech-oriented office space, plus retail and restaurant spaces, will create thousands of jobs that make a mixed-use redevelopment a far more valuable proposition. When combined with the planned 3,000 homes within the upper levels, it creates a “campus-style design.”