Looks like a windfall for Westbank!
But if they want to increase density they will need to make the canada line stations bigger and add extra cars to increase volumes (otherwise people will be packed in like a can of sardines).
Oakridge Centre redevelopment plan sent for public comment
New proposal for retail site would add housing, offices, parks
By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun July 26, 2012
Vancouver's Oakridge Centre land could be transformed into a small community if a major expansion plan goes ahead.
Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc., which owns the mall, wants to redevelop the property with a broad range of housing, more retail, offices, parks, walking paths, a new library and bikeways.
A report outlining the plans for the 11-hectare site was presented to city council at the standing committee on planning, transportation and environment Wednesday, along with a staff recommendation that the matter move to the public consultation stage.
It passed unanimously, according to a report by Coun. Andrea Reimer.
A smaller plan to redevelop the 56-year-old mall at 41st and Cambie was given the green light by the city in 2007 - before the Canada Line was built and before the global recession - but the mall owners say things have changed a lot since then and that they now want to build something much more than originally approved.
Ivanhoe Cambridge has partnered with development company Westbank to pursue the centre's redevelopment.
"Personally, I think it's a reasonable request given there's been a number of advances in policy in that area," said Coun. Raymond Louie in an interview before Wednesday's vote, which would allow staff to proceed to the rezoning stage and address key issues. "But there's still a lot of work to be undertaken to determine what is built."
Louie said he anticipates some local residents will raise concerns about increased density, while others will welcome the additional services. "Council will have to balance the needs of the community."
According to a city staff report prepared by Matt Shillito, assistant director of community planning, Oakridge Centre aspires to be "a civic hub of activity that includes retail, office, residential, housing, and a diverse array of civic spaces and amenities, creating a vibrant, culturally-diverse community that is lively and safe, day and night."
Although specific details haven't been worked out, the staff report noted that the plan for the project would "significantly increase the density of residential development on the site" and provide a diverse mix of housing options.
The report noted that the expansion would capitalize on the Canada Line, "explore significantly reduced parking ratios" and include a multi-functional civic building, along with green spaces, galleries and pedestrian pathways.
Staff noted that the developer would pay $1.1 million for the additional staff time needed for the redevelopment process, and that the rezoning would take at least 24 months to be processed.
The report said that key issues to address include the retail component's mix and density, and whether the residential component fits with the existing neighbourhood.
The city report quoted the developer who said the Canada Line has been "a welcome game-changer in the future development of Vancouver by presenting opportunities that are only now becoming apparent," and that its plan would be "a model of thoughtful densification," with the intention of creating "a real community by integrating housing, retail and office into a comprehensive whole."
However, city staff warned that the scale of the plan "requires an enhanced program of public engagement at the rezoning stage." Spokesmen for Ivanhoe Cambridge and Westbank could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business...#ixzz227llbXCT