The proposal for a 25-storey office tower on Central City’s property will be going to public hearing.
Council passed first and second reading, as well as scheduled the public hearing for Nov. 4 during Monday’s (Oct. 21) regular council meeting.
In a report to council, city staff note that the City Centre area is currently underserved with quality office space as demand exceeds supply.
Envisioned is a 25-storey office tower on the southeast corner (100th Avenue and King George Boulevard) of the Central City Mall in City Centre. On the opposite corner of the Central City Mall site is the original Central City tower, which is 25 storeys as well.
But on Sept. 16, city council voted unanimously to refer the initial application back to staff, with Mayor Doug McCallum stating that 25 storeys was “way too low” for City Centre.
The mayor said at the time that he had “a number of concerns” about the proposal.
“Our City Centre has been developed with high-rise towers in it. We encourage everyone to build in our City Centre, but we want to see highrises. This is not a highrise development,” McCallum remarked.
Then, in a report to council on Monday (Oct. 21), Blackwood Partners Management Corporation indicated that based on market study analysis, it is “unlikely that it will be possible to secure sufficient pre-leasing commitments to support the development of a larger office tower.”
Despite the concern for the development when it previously came to council, only Councillor Allison Patton spoke, saying she was “excited” about the development coming forward.
The proposed office tower would include 567,114 square feet of commercial office space and 16,168 square feet of ground-floor commercial retail space fronting King George Boulevard, Old Yale Road and future City Parkway.
It’s expected the development would provide workspace for 3,500 people.
While the proposed density complies with the city’s Official Community Plan and City Centre Plan, it requires council’s blessing to rezone the site.
A city report says the proposal, which is 656 feet from King George SkyTrain Station, “conforms” to the goal of achieving highrise, high-density, mixed-use development around SkyTrain stations.
Office and commercial uses, according to the report, will “help diversify the city’s tax base, allow people to live in proximity to where they work, and increases vibrancy in the City Centre.”
The proposal includes five levels of underground parking, for a total of 982 parking stalls. It will also include electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and EV-ready parking spaces.
If the entire mall redevelopment goes ahead, the developer envisions multiple mid-rise and high rise office and residential towers on the property. Each phase will be subject to rezoning and development permit applications.
-Files from Lauren Collins