Construction begins on 1,250-unit condo project at UBC Pacific Spirit Park

Sep 29 2017, 3:03 am

A major housing development in the Vancouver Westside for up to 2,500 residents will provide Metro Vancouver with much-needed new housing stock.

Construction began today on the Musqueam First Nation’s development of Lelem on UBC’s Block F, an off-reserve 21.4-acre parcel of land that was formerly a part of Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

The site of the new development is bounded by University Boulevard and Toronto Road to the north, Acadia Road to the west, and Ortona Avenue and Norma Rose Point Elementary School to the south.

Location of the proposed development at UBC. (Musqueam Indian Band)

Dignitaries at today’s groundbreaking for the new Lelem development at UBC. (handout)

There will be 1.2 million sq. ft. of residential space for 1,250 condominium units, including multi-family and subsidized rental housing. The towers will range between 12 and 18 storeys in height, in addition to a number of four-to-six-storey buildings and townhouses.

The project will be built in two phases over a 10-year timeline. For the first phase, the First Nation has partnered with local developer Polygon. The first residential units will go on the market in summer 2018.

“Lelem is an exciting development that will create much-needed homes, including subsidized rental housing, for people in the region,” said BC Premier John Horgan.

“It represents an important economic step for the Musqueam and I congratulate the community on this innovative project.”

Planned uses of the new development at UBC Block F. (Musqueam Indian Band)

Planned layout of the development at UBC Block F. (Musqueam Indian Band)

As for amenities, residents will have access to a 15,000 sq. ft. community amenity building with a gymnasium, fitness centre, meeting rooms, and a 40-space childcare facility.

A 30,000-sq-ft retail village with restaurants, coffee shops, small businesses, and a grocery store is planned for the northwest corner of the site at the intersection of University Boulevard and Toronto Road.

The First Nation says about 63% of the site will be dedicated to open space and parks, trails, wetlands, greenways, and large gathering spaces.

Preliminary conceptual artistic rendering of the development at Block F. (Musqueam Indian Band)

Preliminary concept of the development at UBC Block F. (Musqueam Indian Band)

The developer says the new housing density and other planned redevelopments in the area will be supported by a future SkyTrain station of the extension of the Millennium Line to UBC.

Site preparation for the development began earlier this year with the clearing of the second and third growth forests on the property.

In 2008, the provincial government handed over the site to the Musqueam band as part of the Reconciliation Agreement with the First Nation.

Other sites that were a part of the treaty include the adjacent 120-acre University Golf Course, which must remain as a golf course until at least 2083 under the agreement, and the land in North Richmond that River Rock Casino sits on.

The band also has a significant stake in the redevelopments of the 90-acre Jericho Garrison Lands and the 21-acre old RCMP headquarters on West 33rd Avenue near Cambie Street.

Over the longer term, the band plans to develop its reserve lands on the southern end of the Burrard Street Bridge.

Site clearing of UBC Block F in February 2017 in preparation for development. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

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