Eight — or possibly nine — new condo towers are set to rise on the site of a former elementary school in Coquitlam.
But the proposal by Polygon for the Coronation Heights neighbourhood isn’t unique because of its scope and scale, as the city rolls out sneak peeks of several massive developments along the Evergreen Extension.
Rather, its application to house about 5,000 residents stands out because, if OK’d, the new community will be located directly beside another area where Wesgroup Properties is planning to house 5,000 residents.
That proposal, sited in Port Moody, calls for five towers — up to 40 storeys — and five six-storey buildings on 14.8 acres.
By comparison, Polygon is currently offering eight towers — up to 45 storeys — on 10 acres, to be built out by 2038.
Its master development plan and development agreement for the designated high-density apartment zone, located at 135 Balmoral Dr. and 2518–2548 Palmer Ave., are set to return to council by next summer.
But before then, Polygon is expected host a virtual public information meeting to gain feedback on its mega-proposal.
Its preliminary development came before Monday’s council-in-committee, as part of a new planning process at city hall: Last month, council heard from Morguard about its proposal for about 5,000 residents at Burquitlam Plaza mall. And, in June, Marcon and Quadreal Property Group showcased its plans for 8,000 residents across from Coquitlam Centre.
The transit-oriented developments are aimed at boosting growth around SkyTrain stations — in these cases, Inlet Centre for Polygon, Burquitlam for Morguard and Coquitlam Central for Marcon and Quadreal.
What's Polygon planning?
Here are the highlights of the Polygon bid, which will be phased in eight stages:
- eight towers with about 2,558 units, housing some 5,100 residents (including a signature tower along Barnet Highway as the “gateway” to Coquitlam); a ninth tower may be constructed on assembled land
- 98 units of below-market rental homes, 492 units of market rental homes
- one-acre public park, with 40 per cent of the site left as open space
- 3,600 sq. ft of commercial space, a 20,000 sq. ft. clubhouse
- 6,000 sq. ft. for childcare
If greenlighted, the full project would generate about $120 million for the city in the form of density bonus payments, development cost charges and voluntary community amenity contributions, wrote Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam’s director of development services, in his report for the Oct. 25 meeting.
But while council applauded Polygon for delivering on rental units, it criticized the company for providing a childcare facility with only 37 spots.
Under its first-ever childcare strategy, of which the final report is due this fall, the city plans to add about 2,000 new licensed group childcare spaces over the next decade (currently, there are only enough childcare spots in the municipality for one-quarter of Coquitlam’s kids, from newborn to 12 years old).
“Thirty-seven spots is great for one or two towers,” Coun. Chris Wilson said. “We need a lot more childcare spaces.”
He suggested Polygon dig further down to take advantage of the city’s incentives that would add more room for childcare and rentals.
As well, Wilson also questioned why Polygon would add a childcare facility in its fourth phase of development — instead of its first — and why the venue would be located in the gateway tower next to Barnet Highway.
Coun. Brent Asmundson also called for Polygon to have active playgrounds, as the site was previously used as an elementary school, while Coun. Trish Mandewo asked for a community garden for food security.
Located in the City Centre Area Plan, a recently adopted blueprint to add 24,000 more people to the Coquitlam core, the Polygon site currently has seven single-family lots and a city-owned lot that the company intends to buy.
“This is an amazing project and it’s an amazing property,” Mayor Richard Stewart said, noting its proximity to a SkyTrain station.
As for council’s request to go another storey down to boost density, the mayor pointed out that Polygon is offering nearly 600 units for rental — without a government subsidy. “This is a project that any other community would say Hallelujah,” Stewart said, adding later, “We’ve been begging for the delivery of housing.”
“I thank them for what I think is a remarkable project, and I look forward to seeing the meat on the bones,” the mayor said.