4,000-unit development gets warm reception from Coquitlam council

Coquitlam to consider selling city-owned land to developer

There’s a lot to see and, for Coquitlam council, there was a lot to like.

While the project is still a long way from approval, council generally seemed supportive of a 4,000 unit development spanning 11 acres at the southeast corner of Pinetree Way and Lougheed Highway.

“I really like what I’m seeing,” said Coun. Craig Hodge, discussing Marcon development company’s in-stream application during Monday’s council meeting. Hodge lauded the plan for creating something of a “gathering space.”

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While primarily strata, the project offers 1,000 rentals including 150 below-market units on the north side of the development. The north phase also includes a 500-unit strata building as well as a hotel adjacent to a conference centre.

The south phase consists of five strata buildings totalling 2,500 units.

The proposal also includes 582,000 square feet of office, retail and hotel space as well as a park and a plaza.

“I think you’ve really created a sound, livable plan,” said Coun. Brent Asmundson. “I like what I see here now.”

“It is a self-contained community, to a large degree,” said Coun. Dennis Marsden.

Under the table

Despite a high water table in the area, all eight levels of parking are set to be underground.

The water table occurs at about three metres below grade, putting the vast majority of the project’s parking below the water table, according to Marcon architect Nic Paolella.

To prevent seepage, Paolella said they would install a cut-off wall.

“Basically, the site becomes a big bathtub,” he told council.

That design element won praise from Coun. Teri Towner.

“I love the look of all that parking underneath,” she said. “I’ve come to detest surface parking, especially in our city centre area.”

Hotel and convention

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If approved, Marcon would also build a conference centre including a ballroom with space for about 560 people.

That centre should serve the city’s needs for the short- and medium-term, according to Coquitlam’s director of development services Andrew Merrill. The mid-sized convention centre would put Coquitlam in the “middle of the pack” compared to other suburban hotel/conference centres, he added.

“Coquitlam is not trying to compete with, say, Downtown Vancouver or the Vancouver Convention Centre in terms of conferences,” he said.

Sale pending

Council is set to consider selling city-owned property at 2976 Pheasant Street to facilitate the project.

Breakdown

Floor area ratio: Approximately 7.0 (FAR is calculated by measuring a project’s total floor space against its lot size)

Jobs: Marcon projects the development will create of between 900 and 1,500 jobs.

Public space: The project includes a half-acre earmarked for a park that would be developed by the city and a plaza that would be privately owned and maintained but publicly accessible.

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Transportation: The project includes pedestrian/cyclist bridge over Lougheed Highway connecting the site to SkyTrain.

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Child care: The site is slated to include a child care centre with space for about 222 children.

Cash on the table

If approved, the applicant would pay the city approximately $150 million through community amenity contributions and development cost charges.

Schedule

The project still needs to go through a public hearing and receive three readings as well as final approval from council before shovels can hit the ground.

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