One of the city’s largest real-estate developers hasn’t ruled out including a craft brewery in its planned community in Southeast Vancouver.
David Wesik, director of corporate development at Wesgroup Properties, told the Straight by phone that it’s “not out of the question” for his company to seek a zoning amendment to allow this in the River District, which is a 52.6-hectare site between Kerr Street and Boundary Road.
“That’s something we would potentially consider doing, for sure,” Wesik said.
He pointed out that Wesgroup owns the building that houses the Big Rock Urban Brewery at 310 West 4th Avenue.
In the meantime, Wesgroup is planning to build a four-storey wood-frame structure and a 19-storey concrete tower in the River District’s town-square precinct. During the next two decades, the area is expected to be home to about 15,000 residents in a variety of housing forms, including towers.
Wesik said his company is close to confirming that a grocery store and, possibly, two banks will move into the area, which runs along the north side of the Fraser River below Marine Way.
So what lessons has Wesgroup learned from other planned communities, such as the Village on False Creek, the north shore of False Creek, and Coal Harbour? Wesik said that his company wants to ensure that commercial development is visible from Marine Way rather than tucking businesses behind condos closer to the river.
“Not everyone stays in their home 24 hours a day,” he noted. “They need to go shopping. They want to be able to walk to buy a coffee. You want a vet there in case you’ve got to take your dog somewhere.”
Wesgroup bought the former industrial area in 2003 and originally planned to sell parcels to developers, who would construct 6,000 to 7,000 new homes. Wesik said that his company now plans to develop the site on its own.
“We made the decision to bring our construction in-house and sales and marketing in-house,” he stated.