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Towers eyed for Oxford Street
A public meeting next week will give area residents a first chance to see plans and drawings for two apartment towers proposed for the White Rock hilltop at Oxford Street.
The meeting, April 9 at 5:30 p.m. at First United Church (15385 Semiahmoo Ave.) will provide a look at detailed plans for The Oxford – at 1454 Oxford St. – prepared by Chris Dikeakos Architects on behalf of Richmond-based Elegant Development Inc.
Current plans call for a 24-storey tower and a 21-storey tower, providing a total of 124 luxury apartments.
The site is a 2.7-acre parcel to this point owned by water utility Epcor, adjacent to Epcor’s newly redeveloped pump station, chlorination and water-treatment facility.
The development is subject to the city rezoning the land from its institutional use, said Mark Sager of Sager LLP, representing the project.
“There’s no fixed timeline for this – it’s entirely at the discretion of council,” Sager said, adding that the rationale for the current tower configuration is the preservation of a one-acre stand of mature trees.
Initial informal presentations on the project and potential change in land use were held on Jan. 23 and Feb. 20 he said, and the message from public feedback – particularly at the first meeting, attended by around 90 people – was loud and clear.
“We asked people what their concerns were about the change in land use, and they said ‘please save as much of the treed area as possible’,” Sager said.
The area in question, he said “looks like a park, but it’s not – it’s zoned for a public utility.”
As a result of the feedback, the company has moved away from a lower, more squat – and more easily developable – building concept, Sager said.
“(They’ve) decided to go to higher buildings with a much lower density,” he said. “It would be around 60 units per building and larger units – this allows for all of the trees to be retained and the (treed) area to be dedicated to the city as a park.”
Sager said the first informal meeting on the proposal indicated that it was “better received than one might expect.”
“There were about 17 to 20 people who were opposed to everything, but the balance presented input and a lot of different views,” he said.
“An issue I’ve heard a lot is that (the proposal) offers a chance to improve the municipal tax base, which is not what one commonly hears about a proposal of this kind.”
He said the April 9 meeting will provide “lots of opportunity for the public to ask questions and look at floor plans, drawings and elevations.”