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Mary Anne’s Place 'a wonderful tribute': Downtown Port Moody project gets the green light

A new six-storey development along Clarke Street received unanimous support from Port Moody council.
Mary Anne's Place, a new development on Clarke Street in Port Moody, will see the old P. Burns butcher shop relocated next to the Queen's Street Plaza.

Family and friends of Mary Anne Cooper say they're delighted and excited the late advocate for Port Moody's heritage will have her name attached to a new development in the city's historic downtown.

Tuesday, Sept. 5, council gave unanimous support to the project — to be called Mary Anne's Place — by North Vancouver-based Placemaker Communities and GBL Architects.

It will see the construction of two six-storey residential and commercial buildings on 10 lots in the block bounded by Clarke and Spring streets, between Kyle Street and the Queen's Street plaza.

The plan includes the relocation of the former P. Burns butcher shop, that was built in 1908 and is on the city's list of protected heritage projects, further west along Clarke next to the Queen's Street plaza.

Cooper's daughter, Corrina Goodman, said the project is "a wonderful tribute" to her mother, who died in 2021 at the age of 107.

She said Cooper, who fought for years to save the old Ioco Townsite on Port Moody's North Shore, would be especially pleased about the preservation of the old butcher shop, that is currently occupied by the GRIT café and gallery, as well as efforts to reflect the area’s heritage character in the colour palette and architecture of the two modern structures.

More importantly, Goodman added, the mix of rental and strata units ranging from live/work studios to three-bedroom family apartments will help "create a real community of residents."

Helen Daniels, who operated the Gallery Bistro that once occupied a portion of the block along Clarke Street until it and the neighbouring Roe and Abernathy grocery store burned down in 2019, said the project’s name is a "fitting tribute" to Cooper.

The Centenarian was a frequent customer of the bistro that became a hub for artists, musicians and authors during its seven-year tenure; in fact, Cooper was among a group of friends celebrating Daniels' birthday just hours before the fateful fire four years ago.

"We believe this project will be a definite asset to Clarke Street," Daniels said.

Sentiments of support were expressed by every speaker at a public hearing that preceded Tuesday's third reading of amendments to the city's zoning and official community plan bylaws required for the project to proceed, as well as a heritage revitalization agreement for the old butcher shop.

Coun. Callan Morrison said it was an impressive accomplishment and a testimony to the developer's efforts to engage with the community as its plans evolved over the past three years. He said the project will bring new residents and vibrancy to the area.

"I'm excited to see it."

Coun. Amy Lubik said relocating the P. Burns butcher shop next to the Queen's Street Plaza will create new opportunities to enliven the public space.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said she was impressed by the broad approval from the business community, including several proprietors who stand to be displaced by the construction and a ringing endorsement by Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Placemaker's Hesam Deihimi said he was overwhelmed by all the kind words. He said they wouldn't have come without "lots of coffee meetings and public engagement," adding, "it's a very special site."

The two U-shaped buildings include 103 strata condos in the larger structure and 79 market rentals in the other, including nine live-work studios.

The buildings will be separated by a public mews and there will be more than 24,000 sq. ft. of commercial space on their ground floors.

And while the project doesn't include an affordable housing component, Port Moody's assistant manager of planning, Wesley Woo, told council staff is satisfied by an independent analysis submitted by the developer that it wouldn't make financial sense.