City Centre surges on development tidal wave

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A City Within a City

The Lansdowne Park Masterplan shows roughly two dozen residential towers occupying the site of Lansdowne Centre mall, formerly a horseracing track prior to 1975. Submissions have been made to city planners, who are expected to assess the proposal after Richmond Centre. “We’re a couple (two to three) years away from starting development,” says Jim Cox, vice-president of Vanprop Investments. The proposed plan foresees about 3.8 million square-feet of living space (3,000-4,000 units) and about 600,000-square-feet of commercial/retail space. It will come in three phases, with the last resulting in the ultimate demolition of Lansdowne Centre mall. Phase One sees the largely unused east parking lot developed, followed by Phase Two along the west parking lot. Eventually, Hazelbridge Way and Cooney Road will be extended across the site and a new east-west road will dissect the 50-acre site. The plan calls for an entertainment area, so it could be an opportunity for a movie theatre to return to downtown Richmond. Elsewhere, imagine townhouses and retail shopping opportunities along tree-lined streets, with glass and concrete mid-rises above. Green roofs are prominent among the buildings and there will be three major plazas (Lansdowne station, Hazelbridge, Kwantlen Street), a seven-acre “central park” in the middle, and a 20-metre-wide linear park known as Lansdowne Promenade, along Lansdowne Road, which is expected to help balance out the man-made landscape. Cox said building setbacks will allow for the preservation of mature trees that line the property.

 

Richmond’s City Centre area, from Brighouse to Bridgeport, is expected to reach a population of 90,000 residents in 15 years. It is the fastest-growing area in the city, and is experiencing a boom of development — slightly beyond what was initially imagined in the Official Area Plan, adopted in 2009 — thanks in large part to foreign investment, immigration and a growing economy bolstered by construction.

While city planners expected most of the growth in the first two decades of the 2009 plan, many major projects lie ahead in the near future, ready to transform City Centre from a suburban hub into a downtown core.

 

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