Office space coming to North Road

Despite some misgivings from a neighbour, a six-storey commercial/office building is now slated to be built on 323 North Road following a unanimous vote from Coquitlam council Monday.

Michelle Kim, the property manager at nearby Hanin Village, asked council to defer their vote, suggesting the applicant had not acted in good faith with their next-door neighbour.

“Our property and our existing building are being used as a blank canvas,” Kim wrote in a letter to council.

At issue are the potential relocation of a drainage pipe that serves the H-Mart building as well as an extension of Alderson Avenue, which Kim said would cut through 329 North Road.

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The evening’s decision centred on land use, leaving some of the fine details to be determined prior to a development permit being issued, Mayor Richard Stewart explained.

“Assuming they can work out the details with the neighbour’s property, with the planning department with transportation . . . then it comes back to council for one final reading and adoption,” he explained.

The project, which would replace a two-storey auto sales and repair shop, would consist of commercial retail units on the first two floors beneath four storeys of office space.

Speaking on behalf of the project applicant, Hanin Investment Group, Michele Chow touted the need for office space in the neighbourhood.

“With the densification of Coquitlam there is a lack of replacement commercial and office space. There is a further demand in this neighbourhood given that this is considered the hub of the Korean business community,” she said.

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Support

The project received letters of support from Charles Nam, a real estate agent with Sutton West Coast Realty.

“We are looking for another location since the landlord in this building [#102 -403 North Road] has agreed to renew just three years of lease,” Nam wrote to council. “We are considering where to go with over 1, 500 agents because there are not many office spaces in the North Road and Lougheed Highway area.”

The project was also supported by SHARE Society CEO Claire MacLean.

MacLean described Kyu Kim of Hanin Investment Group as someone who championed programs to support newcomers to the community.

“It is our understanding that he hopes to continue this work through the development at 323 North Road,” she wrote. “The inclusion of commercial space for non-profit organizations and Korean cultural and social groups in the development is encouraging, and would be welcomed in the community.”

The project also received letters of support from Senator Yonah Martin. Naturopath Taesung Kim and acupuncturist Boonghee (David) Kim, each of whom practise at a Lougheed Highway clinic in Burnaby, also supported the development.

Hanin Investment Group

Kyu Kim’s company, Hanin Investment Group, bought the largely vacant land that would become Hanin Village in 2001, selling the property in 2006.

Cash on the table

If approved, the project is expected to generation approximately $802,600 for the city, including $300,000 as payment-in-lieu for a 10 percent parking reduction.

Parking

The project is also slated to include 89 parking spots in three levels of underground parking.

Next step

Council voted unanimously to approve the project.

Coun. Steve Kim recused himself, owing to a potential anchor tenant’s business relationship with his father.

The project requires one more formal vote from council before construction can begin.

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