Redevelopment plan for Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre continues to evolve

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      The City of Vancouver and members of the public will have more opportunities to influence the redevelopment of the Oakridge Centre.

      Last December, the team behind the project unveiled refinements to the design since city council approved the rezoning of the 11-hectare shopping centre on West 41st Avenue and Cambie Street in 2014.

      The group, which is primarily QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Development, and lead designer, Henriquez Partners Architects team, expects to apply for development permits later this year.

      On Wednesday (February 7), the Urban Design Panel will hold a workshop on the design changes.

      The development team wants feedback from the panel before taking the next steps.

      The February 7 agenda of the Urban Design Panel states the redevelopment will consist of 10 towers of different heights up to 44 storeys, three mid-rise buildings with commercial, office, and residential uses; a civic centre with a new community centre, public library, seniors’ centre, theater, and childcare facility; one and two levels of retail and service; more than three hectares of park; and three levels of underground parking.

      According to presentation boards prepared by the development team, the current proposal is “better” than the one approved in 2014.

      For one, the new design presents a more accessible public park, most of which will be either at grade or one level above street level.

      The proposed civic centre has been enlarged by 50 percent to 102,270 square feet. It has been relocated to West 41st Avenue for better access to the public.

      The original plan for 11 towers has been scaled back to 10.

      In addition, the mall will remain open during construction, which is expected to last six-and-a-half years.

      “The current design represents an evolution of the 2014 design that improves the public realm and enhances the public amenities being provided,” according to the team.

      The 2014 plan called for 2,334 units of condos, now reduced to around 2,000 in the new design.

      The number of market and affordable rental homes envisioned remains at 290 units for each category, or a total of 580.

      A rendering of the proposed redevelopment looking north.

      While the rezoning of the Oakridge Centre site was approved by council in 2014, the enactment of the new zoning was delayed because of a number of factors.

      These include the discovery of an aquifer below the mall, and ownership changes, which saw QuadReal purchasing the property from Ivanhoe Cambridge, and later partnering with Westbank.

      According to the team’s presentation boards, it expects the rezoning to be enacted this summer.

      In March, the city will lead an open house, which will present an opportunity for the public to comment on the new design.

      The new Oakridge Centre plan will be taken up again by the Urban Design Panel in April, followed by the Development Permit Board and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in May.

      The expected enactment of the rezoning in summer is expected to lead to development permit submissions up to December 2018.