Trapp gets grant extended

As redevelopment of the historic Trapp and Holbrook blocks kicks into high gear, the project has received an extension to a grant that was first approved by the city in 2004.

The Salient Group is redeveloping the Trapp and Holbrook blocks at 660 and 668 Columbia St. and building Trapp+Holbrook, which will include retail and residential spaces. The developer will reconstruct the Edwardian façades of the Trapp and Holbrook blocks and build a 20-storey residential building with 196 residences.

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"New Westminster has charm and character, and although it's been overlooked for years, this neighbourhood is now hot again," said Robert Fung, president of the Salient Group. "With Trapp+Holbrook, we've created modern urban homes while retaining the building's much loved heritage architecture."

While a preview centre for Trapp+Holbrook is opening on April 28 at 668 Columbia St., the development is aiming to be complete at the site in 2014.

In 2004, city council approved $50,000 for a façade improvement through a Columbia Street financial incentive program and $210,000 for seismic upgrading of the building through the seismic upgrade grant program.

"Council allocated a significant amount of money for the Trapp Block because of the prominence of this building on the street," stated a staff report. At the time of the original grant approval in 2004, the project applicant intended to preserve the entire building."

Fung told The Record in 2008 that the "romance of the historic façade" is what originally attracted him to the Trapp Block, which was built in 1899.

The Salient Group later determined that the building couldn't be conserved. It submitted a new proposal for a mixed-use project that would retain the façade of the Trapp and Holbrook blocks.

Since the grants were issued in 2004, the Salient Group has received three extensions of the two grants. Council recently agreed to approve the grant until Dec. 31, 2014.

After the developer's plans to retain the Trapp and Holbrook Blocks changed because of the building's structural condition, staff reviewed the new proposal and concluded it still was eligible for the grants.

A staff report stated that the Trapp project meets the city's objectives and guidelines for the community plan.

tmcmanus@royalcityrecord.com

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