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TransLink’s Oakridge bus depot sold for $440 million for redevelopment

Kenneth Chan Dec 20, 2016 8:39 am 6,560

TransLink has sold its massive Oakridge Transit Centre facility to a group of locally-based real estate developers for the purpose of a major redevelopment.

In a release, the public transit authority announced that it had sold the 13.8-acre property for $440 million to Vancouver developer Intergulf-Modern Green Development Corporation, and it is being billed as one of the largest real estate transactions in the history of the province.

The transaction is structured, with TransLink expected to receive the full payment by 2022. Revenue generated from the sale will go towards financing the cost of building the region’s major transit projects.

Image highlighting the location of Vancouver Transit Centre. (Image by: Cushman & Wakefield)

“The proceeds from this property sale will provide additional regional funding for the Broadway and Surrey rapid transit projects,” said Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, in a statement. “It helps maintain momentum of the 10-year Vision and will provide additional regional resources to help match anticipated Federal and Provincial funding to support the projects identified in the Vision.”

The recently-approved $2-billion Phase One plan for improving transit in the region already includes $150 million from the sale of the transit centre. The remaining $300 million in proceeds will be reinvested back into the property needs required to support transit expansion projects.

TransLink says it received and reviewed competitive proposals from 14 buyers.

This property transaction adds to TransLink’s successful bond program. Earlier this month, the transit authority said it had successfully launched its ninth bond issue raising $150 million for capital projects, such as those that fall under Phase One.

1,200 new residential units, buildings up to 15 storeys high

Located approximately two blocks west of Oakridge Centre shopping mall and the Canada Line’s Oakridge-41st Avenue station, the site is framed by West 41st Avenue to the south, the lane behind Oak Street to the west, West 38th Avenue to the north, and the lane behind Willow Street to the east. It was the city’s main bus depot until 2006 when TransLink relocated its maintenance facilities, 1,200 staff, and hundreds of electric trolleys and diesel buses to a new depot located just west of the Arthur Liang Bridge on the north shore of the Fraser River.

Almost exactly one year ago, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved the Oakridge Transit Centre Policy Statement, which provides the overall guide to the rezoning and redevelopment of the property.

Artistic rendering of the future redevelopment at Vancouver Transit Centre. (Image by: Cushman & Wakefield)

Conceptual depiction of the future of Oakridge Transit Centre. (Image credit: Perkins + Will)

The site was still used by TransLink in a limited capacity until earlier this year when the new Hamilton Transit Centre in Richmond opened. Remaining maintenance operations and buses were moved to both Hamilton and Burnaby transit centres, and Oakridge Transit Centre was subsequently closed and declared surplus property.

Under the policy statement, between 1,000 to 1,200 residential units will be built on the property, and there is a requirement that 20 per cent of the units be allocated for affordable housing. At least 35 per cent of the total number of market residential units must have two or three bedrooms while a higher standard of 50 per cent is required for the affordable units

Building heights will range between three to 15 storeys, with the tallest buildings located within the centre of the site and along West 41st Avenue. Shorter buildings will be located along the north and east perimeters to provide a transition to the existing low-density neighbourhoods.

Local retail and services, such as a small grocery store, cafe, and medical offices, will line the new development’s street front. There will also be a 2.3-acre park in the middle of the site as well as a childcare facility.

Approximately 0.75 km of streets and lanes will be built, and pedestrians and bicycle facilities will be a major focus; A network of streets, mews, pathways, open and public spaces will be created within the site.

Excluding the park space, the development will have a floor square ratio density of 2.5 FSR by the time it is fully complete.

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