Surrey Central Station bus loop and North Surrey Recreation Centre to be redeveloped

Aug 22 2019, 2:20 pm

A significant site currently occupied by SkyTrain’s Surrey Central Station bus loop, North Surrey Recreation Centre, and North Surrey Arena at the core of Surrey’s emerging downtown area is slated for a major redevelopment.

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The first big steps for the eventual redevelopment of this so-called Centre Block, which includes a ground-level parking lot, of Surrey city centre have been set in motion, now that the City of Surrey has established a timeline for the permanent closure of North Surrey Arena and the attached North Surrey Recreation Centre (NSRC).

“To deliver the Transit Village plan, it will be necessary to remove both the existing bus exchange and the existing NSRC. Once complete, a significant amount of land where the existing bus exchange and NSRC will be freed up for redevelopment,” reads a June 2019 city staff report.

Surrey city centre

Aerial view of the existing condition of Surrey City Centre’s Centre Block, with the parking lot, bus loop, and old recreational centre and arena. (Google Maps)

Surrey city centre

Street view of the Centre Block in Surrey City Centre, currently occupied by a parking lot, bus loop, and the old recreation centre and arena. (Google Maps)

Both recreational facilities will see their programming relocated to the newly-built, $52-million North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex (NSSIC) near Scott Road Station, which is scheduled to soft open on September 3.

The old arena will shutter shortly after the opening of the NSSIC’s ice rinks, while the recreation centre will close on December 22, after recreational programs are fully relocated to the new facility.

With the closure of the ageing facilities, this will allow for the demolition of the structures and redevelopment. No timeline has been established for the demolition, but the municipal government wants it performed quickly after the closures.

“Staff strongly recommend a complete decommissioning of the existing NSRC as soon as possible after the opening of NSSIC,” continues the report. “This will help control and reduce costs and will remove any barriers to the development of Centre Block and the replacement of the transit exchange and facilitate the completion of abatement of hazardous materials without any impact to the public.”

Surrey city centre

Conceptual artistic rendering of the Centra Block redevelopment in Surrey City Centre, with an off-street bus exchange, towers, and plaza space. (City of Surrey)

The municipal government believes the Centre Block can be redeveloped into over two million sq. ft. of high-density space for office and retail, and an expansion of Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) satellite campus in the area.

Aligning with the city’s 2017-approved Surrey City Centre Plan, there would also be a north-south pedestrian corridor meandering through the Centre Block, providing a continuous large, open public space between Central City to the south and Surrey City Hall to the north. It would essentially be a southward extension of the public realm created by Civic Plaza.

Some of the functions of the recreation centre, including its aquatic centre, will be replaced by a new city-supported, 60,000-sq-ft YMCA aquatic centre and recreational hub in the city centre. The YMCA is aiming for a 2021 opening of its second facility in Surrey.

Surrey city centre

Conceptual artistic rendering of the Centra Block redevelopment in Surrey City Centre, with an off-street bus exchange, towers, and plaza space. (City of Surrey)

As for the replacement bus loop, the city and TransLink have been working on an on-street replacement exchange design.

Instead of a traditional bus loop, there will be an on-street bus passenger drop-off on the west side of a realigned 102A Avenue, in the general location of the current exchange. The on-street bus passenger pick-up area will be located on a widened Central Avenue, with an additional eastbound lane for buses to pull over and wide sidewalks that can accommodate the expected pedestrian and bus passenger volumes.

An off-street bus layover facility would also be built immediately west of the recently-opened SFU Engineering building.

Surrey city centre

Conceptual artistic rendering of the Centra Block redevelopment in Surrey City Centre, with an off-street bus exchange, towers, and plaza space. (City of Surrey)

The existing bus loop sees over 20 different bus routes and is one of Metro Vancouver’s busiest bus exchanges.

The municipal government says it has been working with SFU and TransLink since 2012, and is developing a memorandum of understanding with each agency.

South of the bus loop, the owners of Central City have long-term plans to redevelop much of the indoor shopping mall into an outdoor, pedestrian-oriented retail destination, with an extension of the city street grid through the site and new towers.

Existing condition of Central City shopping mall:

Central City Surrey

Existing condition of the Central City property. (Google Maps)

Future condition of Central City shopping mall:

Central City Surrey

Future redevelopments on the Central City property. (Blackwood Partners)

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