Planning Underway for 40-Acre Willingdon Lands

Aquilini Development has submitted an initial rezoning application for a 40-acre site in Burnaby that they own jointly with the Musqueam Indian Band and the Tsleil-Watuth First Nation. The site has been used over the years by a variety of institutional uses and many of the existing facilities on the site are currently leased back by the Province. All of the remaining services on the site will be relocated off-site by 2019.

The site is currently zoned CD and allows for commercial and institutional uses. The current application seeks to establish a master plan for the entire site, and a development plan for the first phase to be located on the Northeast corner. While details are still vague at this point, general concepts include:

  • commercial, residential and amenity uses including a child care facility
  • 4-acre public open space or “commons” at the centre of the site
  • potential street linkages at South and West sides of site

Willingdon LandsThe existing CD zoning had been based upon the P6 and B2 Urban Office District guidelines and envisioned uses including: high tech and office uses, vocational and post secondary uses, health care and seniors care uses, emergency, transitional and supportive housing, as well as supporting accessory uses such as retail, residential and mixed-use.

Separate rezoning applications for the master plan and for phase 1 will be submitted as a next step.

The site was purchased from the Province in 2014 for $57.9 Million.

Construction Update: 2975 Oak Street

Here is an update for an interesting rental apartment project at Oak and West 14th Street. The project, by Aquilini Development, involved heritage retention of an existing 14-unit apartment building known as the Santa Fe Apartments.

As part of the heritage retention, Aquilini received approval for a 10-storey, 50-unit rental apartment building in behind the current structure, with a total density of 2.8 FSR under the RM-3 zoning. The project was unique in that only 14 units existed on a 12,500 SF site.

The project was approved at public hearing in May 2014.

The concrete tower is now topped out, although completion appears to be several months away yet.

2975 Oak (4)

courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

2975 Oak (3)

courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

2975 Oak (2)

courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

2975 Oak (1)

courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

Construction Update: Rogers Arena South Tower

Construction is now well underway on Aquilini Group‘s second rental tower at Rogers Arena. The south tower will be 31-storeys with 5-levels of underground parking. It will include “over 250 residential rental units in addition to fitness and multipurpose facilities.

A rendering of the tower can be seen at Francl Architecture’s site.

Rogers Arena (1)Courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

Rogers Arena (2)Courtesy mcminsen via @imageshack

12-Storey Tower Proposed for Main & 2nd

Aquilini Group has applied to rezone a 33,746 SF site at the Southwest corner of West 2nd and Main Street known most commonly as the Maynards building. The plan calls for a rezone from IC-2  District to CD-1 to permit a 12-storey mixed-use building that includes:

    • 223 units;
    • 30 secured non-market rental units;
    • 13,000 SF of ground floor retail
    • artist production space of approximately 3,500 SF
    • a density of 5.50 FSR;
    • 297 underground parking spaces.

The design of the project is intended to meet the guidelines of the Mount Pleasant Community Plan.

The site was assembled over several years between 2008 and 2012.

1847 Main 1847 Main_2 1847 Main_3 1847 Main_4

50-unit Rental Project at Oak and West 14th Goes to Public Hearing

A project that we wrote about back in January goes to public hearing next week. 2975 Oak Street is an existing 14-unit apartment building at Oak and W 14th that is being proposed for partial heritage preservation and replacement with 50 rental units in a new 10-storey tower; for a total density of 2.8 FSR on the 12,500 SF site. All of this is being done under the existing RM-3 zoning.

2975 Oak 3

Existing Building

2975 Oak 4

Proposed New 50-unit Tower

The Aquilini family bought the property back in April of 2012 for $4,600,000 ($130 per buildable SF based on the proposed density).

Demolish 14 units and build 50…and no rezoning. How are they able to do this?

It’s all about the heritage. The existing building is a Heritage ‘B’ and the proposal includes a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) for the site.

Under the current RM-3 zoning applicable to the site, the existing building could be demolished and the site redeveloped with a density of up to 1.9 FSR and a building height of 120 feet without Council approval, subject to replacement of the existing rental units and securing these units through a Housing Agreement.

However, as incentive and compensation to the owner for the heritage designation, rehabilitation, and conservation of the heritage facades of the existing building built in 1928, an increase in permitted density to 2.8 FSR with a new tower is being supported by the City.

As with any demolition of existing rental, Aquilini had to provide a Tenant Relocation Plan which meets the requirements under the Rate of Change Guidelines for RM, FM, and CD-1 Zoning Districts.

Overall, not a bad little deal especially considering that this project isn’t going under Rental 100 and therefore rents won’t be capped. But before you get excited about finding another just like it, keep in mind that this one was unique with a very small heritage building on a disproportionately large site RM-3 zoned site. Even the City acknowledges that it won’t be setting a precedent as there are so few properties where an HRA would be viable in this area.

More details here.

City of Vancouver Sells Final Stake in Olympic Village

The City of Vancouver says it paid off the entire $630 million debt for the troubled Olympic Village project after selling 67 remaining condominium units for $91 million to the owners of the Vancouver Canucks.

Mayor Gregor Robertson told reporters Monday the Aquilini Group’s purchase of the condos ends the city’s involvement in the project that he once referred to as a $1.1-billion boondoggle.

“It’s a very good day for the City of Vancouver, in particular for city taxpayers,” said Robertson at a press conference at city hall. “Today, I’m thrilled to announce that we at city hall here have delivered gold for the taxpayers on our Olympic Village.”

Though the mayor framed the news as an Olympic-sized achievement, a later briefing by city manager Penny Ballem revealed the original revenue projections for the $1.1-billion project fell short by $130 million.

Originally, developer Millennium Properties Ltd. agreed in a 2006 deal with the city to pay $200 million for the land. The city only received $70 million.

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Aquilinis Partner with First Nations in Land Deal

The Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam First Nations announced this week they have partnered with the developer Aquilini Investment Group in the purchase and development of Burnaby’s Willingdon Lands.

“What I’m hoping to provide are economic benefits for the future,” said Tsleil-Waututh Chief Maureen Thomas. “We’re buying land that was originally ours to start with,” she added. “We don’t want to miss these opportunities.”

Brennan Cook, spokesman for the Aquilini Investment Group, said, “We look at our partnerships with First Nations as very valuable.”

So far there are no plans for the site, which includes 40 acres between Brentwood and Metrotown, directly adjacent to BCIT.

“It’s a prime site,” said Cook. “There’s lots of opportunity.”

The province announced two weeks ago that the Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam had bought the property at Willingdon and Canada Way for $57.9 million, but didn’t mention the involvement of the Aquilini Group at the time.

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