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Any words on the names of the buildings? Developer (Concord probably)?

See? Another example how the downtown east side will soon be swarmed with high rises or condos. Downtown East Side will soon become Yaletown #2 in about seven years from now.

All of North False Creek is owned by Concord, so yes all of that is Concord Pacific's developments.

The Downtown Eastside will see a revival but not of the same kind as the Downtown Eastside. I see the historical facades (most of them are bricks) of the Downtown Eastside restored with tall towers built above them, with a combination of retail, office, and residential.....very much unlike Yaletown where the main focus was residential. Also expect social housing and public amenities proposed by developers in exchange for building density and/or height for market purposes.

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$500-million Urban Village


An artist’s rough draft drawing of a 135-unit housing development in Whalley, which will be the first of about 1,600 apartments and townhouses planned for the area.

By Kevin Diakiw

Staff Reporter

Sep 22 2006

A major development firm is planning a $500-million remake in Whalley, transforming it into an Urban Village with a Yaletown feel, The Leader has learned.

If WestStone Properties’ plan comes to fruition, it could be one of the most significant developments ever constructed in the North Surrey neighbourhood.

The first project in the works is a 135-unit complex with townhouses and apartments planned for 102 Avenue between 133 Street and 133 A Street, next to the Surrey SFU campus.

That’s just the beginning, however, as WestStone Properties plans to unveil “one of the largest multi-family ventures ever to be undertaken in the Lower Mainland,” WestStone general manager of sales Robert Dominick said in an Aug. 21 letter to the Whalley Business Improvement Association (BIA).

WestStone began building homes locally a number of years ago, then expanded into the United States, where the company built five “communities” in Arizona. The firm also built a residential/commercial complex in Sun Peaks Resort, as well as housing complexes in Abbotsford, Kamloops and Calgary.

The complex in the works for 102 Avenue is less than a tenth of the company’s total plan for this area.

“Right now we’re saying 1,600 (units),” Dominick told The Leader Tuesday. “But it will be far more substantial than that once it’s completed.”

He estimated the total value of commercial and residential development will be in the neighbourhood of $500 million.

Dominick said the exact location and size is not yet public knowledge.

“It’s going to vary because our land holdings in Whalley are very extensive, some of them are under wraps because of the sensitivity of what we’re doing.”

The WestStone Properties website already advertises the first part of the project called “Agenda Urban Village,” in which the Surrey location plays prominently.

“We’ve got a great belief in Surrey and I’m sure we’ve got a long future with Surrey as well,” Dominick said. “We’re very proud to be in Surrey.”

In fact, the company is moving its head office from Abbotsford to Guildford in Surrey.

Construction of the first phase will begin as soon as possible.

“We’re starting as soon as we get all our readings (by city council) finished,” Dominick said. The company is also planning a commercial component with a vision for a Yaletown feel. (Yaletown is an upscale area near Vancouver’s False Creek with a mix of residential and commercial development, close to public transportation).

“Walk to work, walk to transit ... the SkyTrain is the godsend that we’re revolving around,” Dominick said. “We’re hoping to draw buyers from downtown because of the affordability and we’re hoping to cater to the local community as well.”

The company will be holding a grand opening at Central City Towers on the plaza level Oct. 28, where the entire plan will be unveiled.

“Floor plans and pricing will be online probably next week,” he said, adding units will begin at below $150,000.

Mayor Dianne Watts hadn’t seen the complete plan, but has scheduled meetings with WestStone principles and may be part of the October opening by the group.

The densed tree area in the center of the photo...


In contrast, the Korean five 36 storey tower Central City Project cost $350 million.

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Surrey's city reputation is slowly going upwards because of the new mayor, fixing up the crime. I heard an article on Global News saying that Surrey may install fixed cameras hihgh-crime activity places. Vancouver should do that too. I don't see anything wrong with installing them in downtown, bridges, etc.

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Surrey's city reputation is slowly going upwards because of the new mayor, fixing up the crime. I heard an article on Global News saying that Surrey may install fixed cameras hihgh-crime activity places. Vancouver should do that too. I don't see anything wrong with installing them in downtown, bridges, etc.

It doesn't have to do that much with the mayor, but more that geographically downtown Surrey - or known as "Whalley" - is the centre of the GVRD. With SkyTrain already there, with low taxes, with other condo developments, with Central City, and of course with the city's commitment to revitalize the area - is why Surrey is being reborn.

I'm glad they got Doug out of the mayor seat in the last election.....there wasn't one proposal he didn't like.

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meeting with the City Planning Department held Aug. 31. regarding the new HOTEL GEORGIA PROPOSAL:


Rough notes from the meeting:

The City commented that there were some interesting, subtle aspects to the tower demonstrated in the material provided to them, but the overall form and expression was "too subtle".

The Hotel Georgia is seen as being one of the first of the "new generation" of towers in Vancouver, and is one of only 3 or 4 taller towers anticipated in the downtown core.

The prominence of this site and the height of the proposed tower demands a strong, dynamic architectural statement. Considerations include;

- A more dramatic tower form and top as seen on the city skyline both day and night

- A more sophisticated tower "skin" and expression, particularly on the south and west exposures where issues of orientation, solar heat gain, views, etc need to be reconciled. Options for solar shading, innovative glazing systems, etc... should be explored.

- Overall sustainable design considerations are important

- The tower's contextual relationship to neighbouring buildings and in particular its role as a backdrop to the existing heritage hotel building.

The City suggested that some leeway in height may be considered if warranted to achieve a more interesting, unique profile to the top of the building.

The City noted that attention should be given to the street level drop off area in order to achieve an exciting arrival experience (dramatic lighting, animation, transparency, etc...)


The current planned height is no less than 160m but an exact height is unconfirmed.

To add to all this wonderful information, here are some newer renderings of the tower...




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Downtown Costco an instant hit

Warehouse retail chain opens doors of its most urban outlet in North American to a horde

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, November 11, 2006

vancouver I The first big-box store embedded in a downtown residential tower complex opened in Vancouver Friday to big crowds and enthusiastic reviews from shoppers.

"It's just thrilling. And I love the light. It's easier to see stuff here," said Dawn Knight, a post-production film worker who was shopping with friend Melissa Ruffle, a film accountant, at the city's newest Costco.

The two had one cart piled high with packages of green beans and the store's trademark Ling Ling chicken potstickers, among other things, as they patrolled the aisles of the high-ceilinged and brightly lit warehouse space.

Around them, throngs of people were nibbling on free samples of everything from chocolates to butter chicken to croissants.

The new store is a feat of engineering and an unusual mix of uses. It is built in a hole bordered by GM Place, the Georgia viaduct and the escarpment on the eastern end of Vancouver's downtown. The 127,000-square-foot store, built by Concord Pacific, has two floors of parking below it, two floors of parking above it, and then, above that, another four towers of residential condos with 900 units.

As pedestrians and cars streamed into the warehouse store below, construction crews were still working on the sold-out condo project due to be finished and occupied in mid-2007.

It's the most urban Costco in North America, said Robin Ross, the chain's regional marketing manager for Western Canada. Only San Francisco has an equally downtown location, but it is located in a commercial area, not a residential tower.

To appeal to what is expected to be a slightly higher proportion of downtown shoppers, the store stocks a bigger variety of home-ready meals -- chicken parmigiana, prawns and pasta, souvlaki, lasagna, and the like -- electronics and leather goods, said Ross.

But other than that, it looks and feels like a regular Costco. While many might imagine that people living in downtown apartment wouldn't have room for a Costco-sized box of Cheerios or a 48-pack of toilet paper, that didn't appear to be the sentiment of the thousands who thronged to the store.

Moyez Bhattia, a 37-year-old West End resident, said he buys in bulk and then splits some of that with his mother or sister.

Like many, he was thrilled with the new convenience of the store and found the access -- right off Expo Boulevard -- and parking easy.

Joanne Mah, an adjunct professor in medicine at the University of B.C. who was shopping with her son, Ryan, a chef, also found the location and parking far more convenient than the suburban stores she usually goes to.

The lot is covered, which makes it more pleasant on a rainy day than an outdoor lot. Mah said the location also makes it exceptionally easy for her to do her regular stop in next-door Chinatown.

The 700 parking spots will cost $2 for two hours, but in an effort to keep out downtown office workers, the system requires parkers to return to the lot every two hours.

Concord Pacific has also incorporated an elevator and stairway that connect the store to the Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station above it.

The project, unlike the Wal-Mart proposed for Southeast Marine Drive, had no public opposition. Former city councillor Anne Roberts, who has worked on anti-Wal-Mart campaigns, said at the time that Costco made sense because it was in a downtown location, close to transportation.

Costco has, in general, provoked far less community opposition throughout North America than Wal-Marts have.

Unlike Wal-Mart, it has received public accolades for paying its employees well and providing good health benefits.

The chain started in 1983 in Seattle. The first B.C. store opened in Burnaby in 1985.


© The Vancouver Sun 2006

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In Vancouver, a gallery on the move

At 75, the Vancouver Art Gallery has new energy under director Kathleen Bartels -- and it's seeking an iconic new building to match, ADELE WEDER writes


Special to The Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER -- 'People like to give me a lot of credit, [but] I'm just one of a team," says Kathleen Bartels. The high-energy director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Bartels is awash in credit and praise these days, for at this once-derided gallery, life is sweet. As the VAG enjoys a prolonged 75th birthday celebration, its brass are basking in the wake of successful exhibitions, critical acclaim and soaring gallery memberships. "It's a wonderful moment in its history," says Bartels.

Now, the VAG is poised to make its most biggest move ever: to a new downtown site and iconic new building.

A gallery committee, chaired by cultural philanthropist Michael Audain and advised by Henriquez Partners, has been looking at potential sites. Bartels herself remains tight-lipped about the impending move, stating that several possibilities are still being considered. But insiders say the decision is narrowing down to two parcels of city-owned land just a few blocks away. Bounded by Georgia, Dunsmuir, Hamilton and Beatty streets, they boast the aging Queen Elizabeth Theatre on one block and a parking lot on the other.

This is also the future epicentre of the city's proposed "cultural precinct." Along with the VAG, potential projects for the sites include a performing-arts complex, aboriginal national gallery, and fund-generating federal office tower. The city is still negotiating and crunching numbers, but insiders say the likely result will be a integration of office tower, performing arts complex and theatre, with the new Vancouver Art Gallery as the flagship project -- all to be shaped by a major-league international design competition that will be announced in six to 12 months.

The VAG board has committed to fundraising for its new home while the politically savvy Bartels deals with the premier and City Hall. "It's terrific that we have a province and a city that are supportive of cultural facilities," she says. Bartels is now hoping to make the long-delayed announcement by the end of the year. And she hopes work by Vancouver star artist Jeff Wall will be the inaugural exhibition.

Bartels arrived from Los Angeles's Museum of Contemporary Art five years ago, as the VAG was suffering from infighting and lack of direction. Since then, it has pulled off hugely successful exhibitions.

This year brought a survey of cutting-edge artist Brian Jungen and then Raven Travelling, a comprehensive show of Haida art. The latter brought more than 200 Haida masterworks from international collections to Vancouver, some for the very first time.

The gallery has also augmented its photo-based art, acquiring the important Schwartz collection in 2003. It includes major works by Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth and Dan Graham. The VAG topped that up the following year with the acquisition and showing of the magnificent Beck/Gruft collection, a richly diverse body of more than 450 works that helped distinguish the gallery having as one of the most important photography collections in North America.

"Kathleen Bartels is the best thing to have happened to the VAG in a very long time," says collector, architect and academic Andrew Gruft. "She has encouraged artists, collectors, curators and staff, and revived support for the VAG in the arts community, turning around what had been a divisive atmosphere in Vancouver." Vancouver artist Roy Arden concurs: "She's been the best director since God knows when." And her quest to move the gallery is utterly appropriate, adds Arden: "It's just time."

The gallery has outgrown its current locale, the 1911 provincial courthouse at Robson and Hornby streets, reconfigured by Arthur Erickson in 1983. The VAG had hired Los Angeles architect Michael Maltzan to study new approaches for the current location. But, last year, the VAG stopped working with Maltzan and focused instead on finding a new site. The gallery needs to double its exhibition, programming and storage space, Bartels says. The artists themselves face logistic nightmares: Roy Arden cites the awkward layout, unwanted rotunda light, and nondescript entries to exhibition floors.

Bartels has been discussing her vision with several high-profile architects, from Japan's Tadao Ando to London-based Zaha Hadid -- reportedly her favourite architect. The land value alone of these two lots is over $50-million, and one rumour projects a budget of $300-million for the new VAG. A City Council report notes that "VAG wants iconic design, and an architectural competition; others are seeking integrated facilities designed from the inside out." Bartels cautions against reading too much into the statement. "The word 'iconic' is being thrown around quite a bit," says Bartels. "I think what the gallery needs is a really good art museum."

Some observers, while supportive of the VAG's ambition, caution against overemphasis on so-called "starchitecture" -- huge attention-grabbing buildings in the mode of Daniel Libeskind's Royal Ontario Museum addition or Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao. "I hope it isn't done just for the sake of flamboyance, but for the sake of getting a great gallery," says Vancouver architect and planner Joost Bakker. He warns that the area already has many big stand-alone buildings that stifle street life. "To drop another one on that site seems counter to the ambition that we animate these areas." Vancouver architect Bing Thom, for his part, has been pushing for a more integrated approach to developing the city-owned site, with the participation of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, and other cultural institutions.

Artists themselves are mostly aligning with Bartels' architectural ambitions, wherever she chooses to take them. "We have so many internationally renowned artists in Vancouver," says veteran artist Gordon Smith, citing Jeff Wall, Graham Gillmore, Stan Douglas and others. "I support getting the best architect in the world here."


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Repair, cleanup work in full swing

B.C. Hydro says about 500 repair crews fanned out

One-hundred-kilometre-per-hour winds and buckets of rain pounded the Lower Mainland via a powerful storm. Boundary Bay residents managed to hold off the high tide from breaching the retaining wall that was built after the last storm, which flooded bay-side homes.

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2006

The repair and cleanup work is in full swing after a powerful Pacific storm battered southwestern B.C. with high winds and heavy rain.

B.C. Hydro says about 500 repair crews have fanned out across the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island to work on downed power lines. Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno says almost 200,000 homes and businesses were blacked out in Wednesday's storm.

The bulk of the outages are in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack on the B.C. mainland and Port Alberni, Campbell River, Parksville and Qualicum on Vancouver Island.

The storm also cut road links to several towns with floods, toppled trees and power lines, or mudslides.

"This is a severe and sustained storm in terms of winds," Moreno said yesterday. "We haven't seen anything like this since 2004."

On Vancouver Island, five flood warnings were in effect.

Highway 19, 75 kilometres north of the Sayward junction, was covered by a 50-metre mud slide. And Highway 14, the main road into Port Renfrew, was closed for hours by a fallen tree.

Port Alberni was hit hard by a power outage and flooding that closed Highway 4, the main road to the coast. The valley was soaked by 132 millimetres of pounding rain.

"We have very, very high winds, significant rains. We have trees down, lots of lines down and trees down on houses. In some of our lower areas, we've got 21/2 feet of water on the roads," said RCMP Cpl. Ian Arklie.

The Tofino weather office was forced to shut at noon because of a power outage.

Transportation was disrupted when ferry service between Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the mainland was halted because of the high winds. Partial service returned by 3 p.m.

Harbour Air cancelled its float-plane service between Vancouver and Victoria and Nanaimo, although West Coast Air maintained flights between Vancouver and Victoria.

The monster low-pressure system was caused by a collision of tropical and Arctic fronts.

By 8 a.m., the storm reached the mainland and brought winds gusting at more than 100 km/h to West Vancouver.

Thirty people were evacuated from a West Van condo development, about five kilometres north of Horseshoe Bay, as trees were hurled against homes.

High winds also brought trees down in West Vancouver, where several homes were damaged and at least one car was flattened.

In Maple Ridge, 700 residents in homes near 132nd Avenue and 232nd Street were asked to park their cars and walk in when the area became inaccessible due to downed power lines and trees.

In East Vancouver, high winds may have contributed to the collapse of a steel-framed building under construction.

The dozen workers on site were on a break when the girders tumbled down.

"It's extremely fortunate that no one was hurt -- the timing was exquisite," said Vancouver fire Capt. Rob Jones-Cook.

A fallen tree on the 500-block East 12th Avenue in Vancouver forced the road to close.

And so many trees fell across Highway 99 that the Sea-to-Sky was closed for several hours between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay.

On the Sunshine Coast, pandemonium reigned at the Daily Roast coffee bar in Sechelt, one of the few spots with power.

"It's nasty out there," said Candy, a harried barrista. "We've had a steady lineup for the past hour out the door."

Abbotsford was blasted with 100 km/h winds, but luckily for Chilliwack residents rains of up to 80 mm were not enough to break the banks of the Chilliwack River, which flooded last week, forcing hundreds to flee their homes.

The province's River Forecast Centre did not issue a flood watch, even though some coastal rivers were expected to rise.

At 4 p.m., an ambulance driving along Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge was struck by a falling tree, bringing power lines down on the cab, trapping the driver and attendant until B.C. Hydro crews were able to shut off power.

Minutes later crews had to free a woman who was stranded in her car on the Haney bypass when downed electrical lines caught in the wheels of her car.

Power outages forced the closure of 15 schools in Langley district.

And outages cancelled some classes and services, including the library, student services, the bookstore and document solutions at Simon Fraser University Surrey.

The Lower Mainland is expected to get scattered showers this morning with periods of rain in the afternoon. Friday and Saturday is looking like "a fairly nice day" with just clouds.

But another fierce storm is forecast to roar through Vancouver Island and the South Coast on Sunday, said Environment Canada meteorologist John McIntyre.

"November is the rainiest month of the year, but this one is wetter than normal," said McIntyre.

Vancouver Island is expected to have similar weather.

The rest of the week for the Okanagan looks like "more cloud than sun, isolated showers and relatively mild temperatures. But the high-elevation roads are getting snow."

By the end of the week, cooler temperatures are expected to bring snow to the Coquihalla Highway.

While Vancouver's North Shore mountains were rained on yesterday, snow was falling in Whistler.


© The Vancouver Province 2006

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  • 2 weeks later...

How is the weather in the Vancouver area now? Man, talk about winter over there:

Link: CBC: Snowstorm Blankets B.C.'s Southern Coast

At least, you guys over there do not have the wind chills that I'm having to go through right now. -33C windchills: not a good thing for anyone's health. :(

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There is about a foot of snow in the Vancouver City Region (not the airport which they take their meterology reports). Please note that there will be delays everywhere, including transit (SkyTrain, buses, etc.). If you don't have to get out of the house, don't - it's freezing and dangerous outside. Hopefully, I don't have to go to school tomorrow (waiting for VSB updates...). For videos regarding the vancouver snowstorm, you can look at Global BC at http://www.canada.com/globaltv/bc/

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Lucky... I'm typing this in Drafting Class... I'm still at school! I want to skip all my blocks. =D

I have to travel on SkyTrain, waited 10 MIN FOR ONE! Buses hell. In fact, Victoria is screwed since BC Transit is not avaliable.

Only 33 of the 55 trains on the system are online and each train is being attended by a SkyTrain staff. More trains will go on the system later in the day as more staff arrive.

I can imagine even more chaos with the buses.

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Well, with that RAV line under construction and some of the stations going to be underground, those same Skytrain stations will be very popular in that kind of weather you guys over there are experiencing right now. I hope you guys are okay over there. Some news reports are showing a couple of maniacs driving their vehicles "violently" on the slick streets, from what was shown on my local news show.

Edited by Guardian
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Well, with that RAV line under construction and some of the stations going to be underground, those same Skytrain stations will be very popular in that kind of weather you guys over there are experiencing right now. I hope you guys are okay over there. Some news reports are showing a couple of maniacs driving their vehicles "violently" on the slick streets, from what was shown on my local news show.

The Vancouver section of the Canada Line would be safe from snow since it's completely underground, but in Richmond...it's a different story. The type of rail the Line will have is third rail, which is very prone to overshooting stations in slick conditions (ice, snow, and even leaves).....but SkyTrain's linear motor technology isn't as prone.

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Actually, it will be worst with the Canada Line. Trains might be running slightly off schedule, but the trains are really short. Lots of ppl (especially snowy days) will croud around transit, especially Rapid Transit. So platforms will be packed (just like today =p).


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