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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2011, 2:38 AM
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[New Westminster] Civic Centre | 11 Floors | Completed




New Westminster city council had a chance to discuss the possible design of the planned Downtown multi-use civic facility on Monday.

The preliminary design concept, prepared by architecture firms Hughes Condon Marler and Musson Cattell Mackey, was presented at the Jan. 10 committee of the whole meeting.

At the corner of Eighth and Columbia streets, the city’s civic facility and restaurant space will total approximately 92,000 square feet.

Developer Uptown Property Group has partnered with the city on the project and plans to construct an up-to-130,000-square-foot commercial office tower above.

In the preliminary drawings, the main lobby entrance on Eighth Street is flanked by retail space on the left and a restaurant on the right.

The mezzanine and second floor have space allocated for an art gallery, museum and teaching space, as well as storage and support, while arts function space is planned for the second and third floors.

Administration offices and a theatre, which sits at a slight angle to the street, are also planned for the third level.

The remainder of the 11-storey building is to be office space.

Bart Slotman, vice-president of the Uptown Property Group, declined to comment on the architectural plans, saying the city has driven the design process.

A report to council says the two distinct components—the multi-use facility and the office tower—will complement one another.

Four buildings must be demolished to make way for the new development, and although none of them are heritage properties, the report states “the context of surrounding heritage buildings are being considered in the project design process.”

Coun. Bill Harper said the city has already heard comments from the public as to whether the structure’s glass front is “sympathetic” to the Downtown heritage district.

“Some people may jump up and say a glass front, for instance, is not sympathetic, when in fact the actual shape of the building may be more sympathetic,” Harper said, adding, “It’s not going to be a 1910 Chicago-style building on the outside.”

“What council wants is an iconic look on the street that’s not completely out of sync, or out of character with the rest of the Downtown, which we’ve designated as heritage.”

He said he has faith in the architects, who have delivered what council asked for when it comes to the square footage of each component.

“We’ve been lucky to have them take on this building and I think one of the reasons they took it on was because they know this is going to be a major feature of New Westminster for the next 50 to 100 years.”

Coun. Jonathan Cote is confident the preliminary design incorporates the right mix of arts, city, green and convention centre components, but he wonders how the structure will appear to someone walking down the street.

“I want to make sure it actually does fit in with the historic district and also that it still has that human scale when you’re on Columbia Street,” he said. “It’s an interesting design and I’m interested to hear how the architects came up with that.”

The project has a $35-million budget financed by gaming funds and must be completed by December 2013. To meet that deadline, excavation of the underground parking lot is expected to start this summer.

A public hearing will be held Feb. 21 at city hall.

Source: http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_v...113100079.html

I like this proposal. It looks like the original idea was to partner the centre with a residential high-rise (http://commercial.ecorealtyinc.ca/Ne...vicCentre.html). The extra residential density would have been nice, but this is a pretty classy building, and I think the long-term plan is to stuff the area bounded by 12th St. and Stewardson Way with residential.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2011, 3:39 AM
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With the old train station and plaza on the south west corner, the new mall complex on the North west corner and this potentially on the north east corner, this intersection in New West will have taken quite the transformation!
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2011, 6:48 AM
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I approve of this building and the design!
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 8:16 AM
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 10:01 AM
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Actually not crazy about the big blank wall facing Begbie. While I understand the space limitations of this project, it would be ideal to have maximum window and/or retail presence downtown for that "eyes on the street" effect.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 6:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff's two cents View Post
Actually not crazy about the big blank wall facing Begbie. While I understand the space limitations of this project, it would be ideal to have maximum window and/or retail presence downtown for that "eyes on the street" effect.

That is exactly what I saw first. Why ignore the Begbie frontage?

They could easily add a series of retail CRU's and increase the size of the building slightly to make up the interior space. They are driving the bus after all.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 6:38 PM
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here's the site.

would have been cooler if it could have been done a half-block to the west there, in terms of both site dynamics and taking out less retail, but i suppose this isn't too bad. cool design too. one thing that this ought really to help with is revitalizing the quay.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 6:46 PM
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Is New West sending a message that they aspire to be a mall town? This building is brutal, and not in a good architectural kind of way. In my opinion, they should scrap this design entirely and start again. Pull those blank walls off the street front, raise the height of the office component or bury it. Iconic should not mean standing out for the sake of looking clean and new, but rather to establish a benchmark for what new development in the district must meet or surpass. This design sets the bar too low. It offers nothing new to say, ignores the heritage of the district, and disrespects the scale of the street.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 7:12 PM
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For the most part I agree.

The irony is when the initial application for the inter-urban ( across the street) went forward it was for a completely modern building . The City made them revise their plans to add the heritage style facades on the podium. Now the city comes forward with a concept that dismisses the street and ignores the heritage character of the area.

I don’t mind the massing of the offices though. It fits that scale of the surrounding towers. Remember commercial floors are typically significantly taller than residential floors. So the 11 storeys is actually more like 15.

It is an early concept though. hopefully they resolve some of these issues moving forward.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 11:20 PM
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I agree with the comments on the blank wall along Begbie St. (at least some display windows for posters would help). That's likely the theatre space, so maybe elevate it up a floor?

I do, however, like the modern style of the building. I don't think that it has to be "heritage"
- I think that New Westminster may be countering the general impression that "heritage" = "run-down / drug haven" ... i.e. breathing new life into the area. That could be derived from the existing / prior character of Columbia St. or imported from Vancouver and the DTES.

Juxtaposing the modern with the old works in other cities (i.e. London, UK), so there's no reason it wouldn't work here.
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2011, 6:43 AM
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All of the boards presented at the last meeting are here: http://www.newwestcity.ca/database/r...an_27_2011.pdf

Comments can be submitted here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KZLVRBY
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2011, 6:23 AM
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Thanks for the link Spork! I am curious what type of restaurant would open there... a Cactus club type place? Hmmm.. I hope they do get that outdoor patio space!
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 28, 2011, 8:30 PM
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Make new Downtown civic centre more pedestrian friendly: NWEP

By Grant Granger - New Westminster News Leader

Plans for New Westminster’s Downtown civic centre need to be tweaked, says Matthew Laird, vice-president of New Westminster Environmental Partners (NWEP).

While calling the project at Eighth Street and Columbia “great for the revitalization of Downtown,” he sees some plans that need to be fine tuned to improve walkability, livability and be environmentally sustainable.

Laird praised city plans to widen sidewalks and introduce coffee shops and outdoor patios to Eighth to give it more of a European flavour. But the proposal also calls for a parkade entrance next to an outdoor patio. That would mean patrons will not only be mixing espresso with exhaust, it will also be a safety hazard sitting right next to moving vehicles.

“The parkade entrance takes away that Granville Mall feel,” said Laird.

He also criticized plans to eliminate a mid-block crosswalk on Eighth to create a turning bay for the Plaza 88 loading dock across the street from the civic centre. Pedestrians, he said, will always seek the shortest route and those coming out of the SkyTrain station to go to the civic centre would likely jaywalk if the current controlled crossing is removed.

“We fought hard for that crosswalk,” said Laird. “It’s going to be a hard habit for pedestrians to break.”

...

http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_v...116675389.html
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2011, 4:28 AM
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I completely agree with all of his comments. New West remains the worst managed city in Canada! Whooo!
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2011, 12:05 AM
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New Westminster's new civic centre aiming to be an iconic building


BY THERESA MCMANUS, NEW WEST RECORD MARCH 29, 2011


The architectural team charged with designing the new civic centre continues to refine its designs for the project and ensure that the building won't be a "misfit" on Columbia Street.

Roger Hughes, a principal at Hughes Condon Marler Architects, gave council an overview of the latest concepts for the civic centre on Monday. Much of the discussion at council's working session focused on the exterior appearance of the building and the way it will relate to buildings in the Columbia Street Historic District. The design team is putting together its schematic design booklet, which will include possible materials for the building and the costs associated with using those materials. It expects to present the schematic designs to council by the end of April.

Coun. Jaimie McEvoy some residents have told him they are concerned how the building will fit in with the Columbia Street Historic District.

"I am encouraging an open mind," he said about the design. "It is important to some of our citizens that they feel it is not a complete misfit to the surroundings."

Hughes believes the proposed design incorporates "classical proportions" that relate well with other buildings in the heritage district.

Coun. Jonathan Cote said the biggest challenge is to create something that fits into the historic district but still makes a statement.

While people have one image of heritage - red brick buildings with arches, Hughes said New Westminster's heritage buildings have been built using a variety of designs and materials. He said the civic centre should be iconic, have classical proportions and be in scale with the buildings around it.

"There's a broad range of materials on Columbia Street and a broad range of styles as well," Hughes said. "We need to do something today that speaks to today."

Coun. Bill Harper wants the building to be iconic in its design, so people can immediately recognize it as a building of significance in the city. . . .

Read more: http://www.royalcityrecord.com/Westm...#ixzz1I2K1UM00
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2011, 12:55 AM
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I sure do hope that they don't overly cave to the "historic look" group that's out there. While it's important that the building fits in, you don't see enormous columns flanking the sides of 80-story office buildings on Wall Street.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2011, 7:08 PM
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This article has a link to a large image showing the street interaction of the building - http://communities.canada.com/vannet...be-iconic.aspx
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 10:28 PM
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The buildings on the site, between 8th and Begbie, have been torn down and are a pile of rubble (or were a pile when I went by last).

The building on the Plaza 88 site, at the corner of 8th and Columbia has also been torn down.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 11:50 PM
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I really like this building, the location, and design. I also really like what New West is doing around the New West Skytrain station. I'd lke to see that done a bit more often around Sky Train stations. Integrate them into the fabric of the area. Put retail right around them, love the sky bridge concept to get from 1 platform to the other rather than the current dull drab grey ramps and tunnels many stations use right now.

Imagine doing the same at King George, Surrey Central, Metrotown, and Broadway stations. I think the Joyce Station area missed out with all the development that has and is going on around there by not doing something similar to what New West is.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2011, 7:42 PM
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Thanks!
In that render it doesn't look as "block-ish" as it did in the previous renders (but the new render doesn't show the blank wall on the east side)
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