This rendering of the second phase of the Bosa Properties Miramar Village project was released in 2011.

White Rock returns attention to Bosa towers

Zoning amendment necessary for second phase of building at site of Hillcrest Mall

The third and fourth towers of Bosa Properties’ Miramar Village development are back on White Rock’s hilltop horizon again.

The city will host a public information meeting next Wednesday, 5:30-7 p.m.  at the White Rock Community Centre in Miramar Village (15154 Russell Ave.) to discuss details of the project, which includes towers 14 and 17 storeys high.

Residents who live within 100 metres of the site received a notice of the meeting by mail.

All four towers were approved by the city at the same time in 2007 in a decision that divided the community, but so far only the first phase – including towers of 21 and 17 storeys – has been built, completed in 2010.

The city is making a text amendment to the current zoning bylaw for the property at 15177 Thrift Ave., current site of the Hillcrest Mall, to restore zoning that was inadvertently changed when the development permit application was updated in 2013.

The mixed-use development would include space for a grocery store and other ground-floor commercial units, and also a main public plaza area.

Changes to the plan since it was originally proposed in 2006 include an increase in residential and amenity floor area, an increase in residential units to 248 from 202, and a proportional increase in parking spaces.

At the same time, lot coverage for buildings three and four is reduced from 65 per cent to 53.4 per cent, and there is a slight reduction in the gross floor area.

In 2011, residents – many of them from the first two towers – spoke out against amendments that would increase the number of residential units, increase parking spaces, reduce the space between two of the towers and impact views in ways not anticipated when owners first bought into the project.

In 2013, Bosa’s vice-president of sales and marketing told Peace Arch News that the second phase was “not viable at the moment,” citing retail and residential market conditions.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said Thursday that while he has not had a chance to look at the current plan in detail, he’s glad to see the project, which is in keeping with the city’s OCP for the town centre Johnston Road corridor, finally moving toward long-awaited completion.

“I think the final result will be beautiful…. The revised design, as I understand it, is thinner than was originally proposed, which will open up the view corridor (for current residents).”

Baldwin said he expects some public pushback against the project, however.

“Anybody who was upset about it in the past will probably feel the same, and anybody who has moved into Miramar Village since 2011 will probably want to air their grievances, but I don’t think it will be a big event,” he said.

“This will get it finished and it will work in well with the revitalization of the Johnston Road corridor, (leaving) no guesswork about it.”

Coun. David Chesney said he had been surprised to hear about the public information meeting, which had not, as of Thursday, been posted on the city website, although it appeared in a city advertisement in last Friday’s Peace Arch News.

“The first I heard about this was that business owners at Hillcrest had received a  notice that demolition work could begin in 18 months,” he said.

Chesney said he is supportive of the development, however, as part of his commitment to “stick to the OCP.”

“I’m happy they’re finally going to provide some of the amenities that were promised, including a public courtyard and open-air stage. There was a lot that was promised that was never fulfilled.”

Approval of the project set the bar for the character of development in the uptown area, he said, noting the current design does not call for any increase in height.

“No matter how many times we click our heels it’s not going to go away,” Chesney said. “I’m happy they’re finally proceeding with the development – let’s finish it off and make it big and beautiful.”

 

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