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New West residential/retail project to coordinate with 22nd Street planning work

30-storey tower would includes residential, retail, daycare and community spaces
Marine Way rendering - orange line is Bby and NW border
A conceptual rendering of a project planned in New West near the Burnaby border (the orange line) that was recently considered by the land use and planning committee.

A 30-storey highrise on the New West/Burnaby border will be considered as part of the 22nd Street visioning process.

The city has received a pre-application review for 2342 to 2346 Marine Dr., where an applicant is proposing to build a 230-unit highrise that includes 185 market rental units and 45 below- and non-market units. It would also include 192 square metres (2,055 square feet) of retail commercial, 295 square metres (3,180 square feet) for childcare space and a 425 square metres (4,574 square feet) for community uses.

In a report to the city’s land use and planning committee, staff sought support to work with the applicant to integrate their Connaught Heights site, and potentially adjacent sites, into the 22nd Street area bold vision process. The staff recommendation noted this would result in a slowing of the application review.

“The proposal aligns with the city affordable and market rental housing objectives,” said the staff report. “However, proceeding in advance of the 22nd Street station area visioning and implementation is likely to put additional cost burdens and risk on the applicant, such as bearing all costs related to adequately servicing to the site and undertaking transportation networking studies.”

The report goes on to say that proceeding with this project in advance of the 22nd Street visioning process would also likely limit opportunities for the applicant to participate in potential neighbourhood-wide climate action and sustainable transportation “big moves” that could be identified through the planning process.

“It is recommended that staff engage with the applicant to integrate their site into the 22nd Street area bold vision process to address cost burdens and risks and to align a proposal with ‘big moves’ developed through this process,” said the report. “This has been discussed with the applicant, who has expressed general interest.”

In December, city council directed staff to proceed with a workplan for the 22nd Street station bold vision, which aims to create a roadmap for redevelopment and the transition of the station area into an eco-neighbourhood. In future years, it’s envisioned that higher density uses would be considered around the SkyTrain station, stepping down to middle-density uses in the surrounding neighbourhood.

According to staff, the Marine Drive site is located 120 metres (394) feet outside the 22nd Street station area. It’s being proposed by the non-profit that owns the Schara Tzedeck Cemetery, which has been in the city for decades.

“This project will serve as a catalyst to help to start to define the guiding principles of future development in this area, while at the same time, providing much needed rental housing,” said a letter from the applicants to the city.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said the land use and planning committee heard from the applicant about its “really interesting” proposal at its Jan. 31 meeting.

“He told us that they were sitting on this land and wanted to put it to good use; they had some ideas on some density,” said Puchmayr, chair of the LUPC. “We talked about the 22nd Street plan that was being put in place and asked if he felt comfortable being part of that plan or if he wanted to move quickly. He had decided that he was willing to wait to be part of that evaluation.”

Puchmayr said the site is next to the Schara Tzedeck Cemetery in New Westminster, but Burnaby is across the street.

“There is a really good mix of below-market housing and rental housing. It sort of fits what we are trying to do to create more affordable housing for people in New Westminster and people moving to New Westminster,” he said of the concept. “We basically gave them the green light to be involved in the planning process.”

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