4-storey project offering office space, 185 jobs, gets good marks from Port Moody council

Space for an estimated 164 office jobs and 21 retail jobs would be created if the project goes forward. image supplied

A potential four-storey employment space in Port Moody received glowing marks from city council.

A pre-application for the new mixed-use building on 2605 Clarke Street and 42 Mary Street was discussed by council on Jan. 17.

“I think this is a really interesting proposal I would like to see more of,” said Mayor Meghan Lahti. “Ostensibly, this is an office building. And so it’s an employment space, which is what we’re looking for in that part of town and it’s close to SkyTrain.”

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The proposed building would combine two parcels to create 22,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, with 35,000 square feet of office space above, along with three residential studios used as temporary housing for office employees.

The proposal would create space for an estimated 164 office jobs and 21 retail jobs.

Zoning for area allows up to six-storey buildings, but staff note that the design still may be “overbuilt” for the area, referencing the floor-area-ratio.

A two-level underground parkade would include 75 parking spaces – 11 fewer stalls than the city usually requires for a development of this size, according to an analysis by city staff.

Staff recommend the applicant provide a parking analysis to support the design, noting that the site is close to the Moody Centre Skytrain Station.

One issue staff took note of was a lack of any tree retention, as there is room for full grown trees to help address the urban heat issues in the area.

Currently the site contains an auto repair shop and a two-storey office building.

The applicant, Steve Hawboldt, president of Yellowridge Construction, has been a long-time Port Moody business owner. The company’s current headquarters is in the office building on site, but he said they need to expand.

Hawboldt said that they want to maintain their business in the city, and the office space with residential units would allow employees to live and work closely together.

“It’s probably not the most financially profitable project because of that. But again, it’s important to for us to be able to keep our operations here,” Hawboldt said.

The two buildings currently on the development site. Google Maps image.

Council comments

No member of council showed opposition to the project going forward.

Coun. Callan Morrison said the location was the right area for employment in the city. He suggested the development could even be increased by another storey.

“I almost feel like it’s short a floor in a way,” Morrison said.

Coun. Kyla Knowles said thought the building design was “a little boring” and she wanted more trees in the area, echoing staff’s comments.

However, she said she was not concerned about a lack of parking, due to the site’s proximity to rapid transit.

“There’s plenty of parking, and I think people who are coming to work in this office should find other ways to get there,” Knowles said. You literally are located like a block from the SkyTrain station.”

Coun. Haven Lurbiecki said the city needs more employment spaces, stating council will never achieve its jobs-ratio goals by just passing through proposals that contain retail space on the ground floor.

“We need purpose built commercial, and job spaces like this one. So I’m very happy to see this,” Lurbiecki. “This can bring well paying jobs to our city, within transit.”

She added, however, that council needs to have a better strategy regarding parking space, and they should be asking developers in lieu of spaces if they fall under the requirement.

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