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12K homes, 15 towers planned to kick off massive Metrotown mall redevelopment

12K homes, 15 towers

The future of Burnaby’s Metrotown is on display in a new public engagement website by developers seeking feedback on one of the most important master plans in the city.

Developer and owner Ivanhoé Cambridge plans to transform B.C.’s biggest mall at 4700 Kingsway into a vibrant and walkable downtown core – and keep part of the mall, according to the engagement website.

The proposal for the 35-acre Metropolis at Metrotown site, right across the street from Metrotown SkyTrain station, includes a new city park, enhanced streetscapes and new shops.

With seven parcels of land, the developer plans to build in phases, beginning with 15 new buildings in Phase 1 from 2025 through 2054.

Phase 1 of the development, over the next 30 years, proposes around 10,000 market units and 2,000 affordable rental units, the developer told the Burnaby NOW.

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Map of Metrotown mall: Phase 1 (2025-2054) of the master plan development highlighted in pink. By Ivanhoé Cambridge

 

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Public open green space in the Metropolis at Metrotown master plan.  By Ivanhoé Cambridge

 

 

Later phases of the redevelopment will come after 2054 after the leases end for the mall’s “significant anchor tenants.”

Julie Bourgon, Ivanhoé’s head of retail, Canada, told the NOW the long-term vision is much the same as the plan that was presented in 2019, which built on Burnaby’s 2017 Metrotown Downtown Plan, though some changes include road alignments and the location of the neighbourhood park.

The Downtown Plan established Metrotown as a regional town centre and as Burnaby’s downtown core.

The Metropolis at Metrotown master plan is phased over decades in part due to the well-performing mall, according to Bourgon.

“Our plan is a little bit different in the sense that we have a very performing mall that we want to maintain for the long run, as much as possible,” Bourgon said.

“Here we have a mall that is extremely liked by its residents and very performing; it’s really a centrepiece of the City of Burnaby.”

Bourgon said she heard strong community support for the planned housing options, parks and improved connectivity of the proposal during an open house at the mall last week.

“It’ll be a great mix of retail and residential eventually and we hope to see even more people come to the mall … with a more pedestrian feeling within a great enclosed mall that people are going to be able to come on rainy days,” Bourgon said, adding people were happy to hear part of the mall will be renewed.

New roads, mobility hubs, pedestrian bridge: Metrotown transportation

One of the plan’s goals is to provide a stronger network of pedestrian, cycling and vehicle connections in and between the neighbourhoods, according to the engagement website.

The plan includes three city-owned roadways: two new north-south arterials, McMurray Street and Sussex Avenue, and east-west Kingsborough Street.

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Proposed vehicle network for the Metropolis at Metrotown master plan. By Ivanhoé Cambridge

 

The developer has planned three mobility hubs for transportation convenience.

The mobility hubs would be a central place for locals to catch their car-share rides, food delivery, or even pick-up and drop-off of self-driving cars, according to Maxime Allaire, Ivanhoé’s director of asset management, retail.

The hubs would also include parking for bicycles and micro-mobility like e-scooters and e-bikes.

“This is where we’re trying to concentrate people coming in from those (transportation modes) and then dropping those things off and walking from there,” Allaire said.

The proposal would minimize commercial loading and unloading on street level to create “safer, quieter streets while improving efficiency for commercial deliveries.”

There are also plans in the works for the Metrotown pedestrian bridge between the mall and SkyTrain station (which is currently split off from the station, rendering it useless).

The City of Burnaby has tentatively scheduled demolition of the pedestrian bridge to Metrotown SkyTrain for this year, before preparing to build a new bridge.

Bourgon said the bridge is a “strong element” of the development, noting Ivanhoé wants to provide a connection between the train and mall for the community.

“Nothing we can share at this point, but our hope is really to be able to provide a connection,” she said.

While the development is under construction, the Metrotown bus loop will have to be moved, but the developers said those plans are currently in the hands of TransLink and the City of Burnaby.

Metrotown and Patterson SkyTrain stations accommodate almost eight million passenger boardings each year, and the town centre is home to more than 24,000 jobs, according to the engagement website.

Parks, public space, events centre: Metrotown entertainment

The proposal calls for new plazas, squares and parklets, along with a new city park.

More than five acres have been planned as open space, including “the Neighbourhood Park” along Sussex Avenue.

The neighbourhood park would connect people to nature and include a lawn, trees, garden spaces, children’s water play, picnic areas, berry picking, “outdoor reading area,” walking circuit and retail spill out.

Watershed Plaza, planned right outside the three existing Metrotowers, could incorporate a "Live Arts Terrace Entry," and a "significant" piece of public art intended to be a major focal point and place maker that could be viewed from the SkyTrain and Central Boulevard.

McMurray Street and Sussex Avenue will be an opportunity for watershed streets that “highlight best practices in rainwater management and add a natural enhancement to the public realm.”

The development’s goal is to reach 20 per cent tree canopy on the whole site; trees will also be planted on roofs and “structural tiers” of new buildings.

The southern end of Sussex Street, next to Central Boulevard, could host street festivals, food trucks and performances.

The City of Burnaby has previously proposed a Metrotown Events Centre, which included a new Burnaby Art Gallery and plaza in one version of the plan.

Bourgon said art is part of the site’s core values and added the developer is ready to work with any municipality or group on a facility for events or theatre.

Residents can give feedback on the plan until April 22.



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