On the heels of Sears Canada’s recent decision to shut down its operations across the country, Burnaby City Council will evaluate an early-stage rezoning application on Monday submitted by Concord Pacific to redevelop the Sears Metrotown site it owns at Metropolis at Metrotown.
In 2015, Sears sold the 8.9-acre site to the local developer for $100 million with the purpose of redeveloping the parcel at the southwest corner of the shopping mall site fronting Kingsway and Nelson Avenue.
This parcel includes the aging Sears department store building, the Toys ‘R Us at the mall’s basement level, and ground-level and underground parking facilities.
According to the rezoning proposal designed by local architectural firm IBI Group, there will be seven towers ranging in heights of between 20 and 65 storeys.
The redevelopment will be relatively dense with an overall floor space ratio (FSR) density of 9.75 FSR, with 1.946 million sq. ft. of residential space and 623,000 sq. ft. of commercial space within the podiums.
The project will be built over four phases, with the first phase at the corner of Kingsway and Nelson being the most significant.
The form of the towers will take on a semi-U-shape along its length on Kingsway.
“As a juxtaposition of the existing rectilinear street walls and orthogonal tower forms, the built form is to be comprised of two distinct yet integrated elements, the commercial podiums and the residential towers, which are arranged in a gentle curve along Kingsway,” reads the concept statement.
“The tower heights and tops themselves also curve to create a holistic skyline.”
At this stage, only detailed preliminary plans have been drafted for the first phase, which will consist of 1,309 residential units, 95,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, 1,485 parking stalls within seven levels of underground parking, and 47,000 sq. ft. of communal space and amenity facilities for residents. Phase one includes the development’s tallest tower – a 65-storey “signature tower” that overlooks the prominent corner.
Across the entire development site, a number of public spaces – such as plazas and rain gardens – are planned. The City’s street grid will also be extended into the site with several new roads, with separated bike lanes and wide sidewalks.
The first phase’s new ‘Metro Way’ road will be a new access point into both the development and the existing shopping mall’s underground parking.
Concord Pacific’s redevelopment encompasses just a small fraction of the envisioned future redevelopment of the entire shopping mall site, which is largely owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge.
Earlier this year, City Council approved the ‘Metro Downtown’ master plan for the area outlining the vision for the area that includes not only the mall but also the surrounding sites. It involves the eventual complete demolition of the shopping mall.
“The vision for the site is for a pedestrian-oriented, transit-connected community that reflects the strong urban design principles and an urban form unique in the City,” reads the scope of rezoning.
“The Sears Metrotown site is envisioned to be fully integrated with the surrounding Metro Downtown neighbourhood and the broader Town Centre through the creation of a new vehicle, pedestrian and cycling connections to existing streets to the north including McMurray and McKercher Avenues, as well as facilitating new future connections to the south and west through the Metropolis at Metrotown site and Station Square.”
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