A hotel with a convention centre, homes for 8,000 residents in 50-storey towers and more than half-a-million square feet for shopping are planned for a key intersection in Coquitlam City Centre.
Today (June 8), the city’s council-in-committee heard an hour-long delegation from the developers of “Coquitlam Central,” a master planned community that’s intended for an 11.6-acre site east of the Coquitlam Central public transit hub — located at Lougheed Highway and Pinetree Way.
The high-density application, which is expected to go to first bylaw reading in mid-2022 after public consultations, is being proposed by Marcon and Quadreal Property Group in two parts:
• Northside: Two rental buildings with 1,000 units and a strata building with 500 units (residential); 535,000 sq. ft. for retail, office and a hotel (commercial); and a 0.3-acre urban park
• Southside: Five strata buildings with 2,500 units (residential); 47,000 sq. ft. of retail (commercial); and a 1.2-acre central urban park, a 0.6-acre public park and a 10-metre wide greenway
The Coquitlam Central bid is the first application to be presented under the recently adopted City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) update; it’s also the first proposal to come before committee — allowed by council under a new policy adopted last month — for developers to get preliminary feedback.
According to a city staff report, the project — if approved by council — would include about $150 million in development cost charges (DCC), density bonus payments and community amenity charges (CAC) to the city. As well, it would add a pedestrian/cyclist bridge over the Lougheed to the transit hub, a daycare for 150 children, a grocery and $900,000 in public art.
The site itself would take over several properties along Pheasant Street, Christmas Way and Lougheed Highway, including the current car dealership, as well as city-owned land at 2976 Pheasant St. That sale to the Marcon/Quadreal Property Group is now under consideration.
Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development services, described Coquitlam Central as a “game changer” for the city as it adds a “small slice of a downtown” to a key location; it also lines up with the CCAP, which calls for 24,000 more residents to City Centre.
“It is quite stunning,” McIntyre told the committee of the mega-proposal noting the commercial floor area proposed for Coquitlam Central is more half the size of the Coquitlam Centre mall.
Marcon owner Nic Paolella said Coquitlam Central will be a catalyst for the area and will be the first development in Metro Vancouver to be near a SkyTrain, West Coast Express and bus depot.
In his presentation with Ryan Bragg, architect with Perkins and Will, Paolella showed artist’s renderings and a video of the proposal that, when complete, would have two acres of parking below grade for eight levels — despite the high-water table — and provide jobs for 1,800 people.
And Bragg said the proponents looked at high rises in New York City and designed their future towers at Coquitlam Central to also have clean, strong vertical lines, and grouped into two rows.
As for the hotel and convention centre, at the Lougheed/Christmas Way corner, it will share space with the office high rise; however, the group’s request to the city for $7.6 million to build the shell of the 20,000 sq. ft. convention centre is still being negotiated, McIntyre said.
City manager Peter Steblin said while the city is “quite excited” about the proposal and has advocated for a hotel in City Centre for years, the city’s executive team is “uncomfortable” with spending taxpayers’ funds for a private enterprise, given the ongoing budget constraints.
Several councillors also questioned the size of the convention centre, which they say may be too small given the proximity to public transit. Coun. Brent Asmundson suggested it could be a regional centre that would compete with the Vancouver market while Coun. Dennis Marsden also recommended making the footprint of the convention centre bigger to spur economic growth.
Asmundson also queried about the noise for the future residents, as the new neighbourhood would be next to Lougheed Highway and the CP Rail tracks, the latter at the south of the site.
And Coun. Bonita Zarrillo asked Marcon/Quadreal to also consider the future demographics for the site as she believes that office space won’t be in as much demand as before the pandemic; she suggested some of the office units be converted for medical uses such as laboratories.
Meanwhile, McIntyre said the proposal will go before council next year to rezone the full site — similar to what council did for the Windsor Gate application by Polygon Homes. Subdivision and building permit bids would follow and “need to meet the requirements of the day,” he said.
Coquitlam Central is one of four master planned community bids being processed by the city.