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Photos: New mid-rise is 'a huge vote of confidence in our downtown': Port Coquitlam mayor

NorthStar Developments plans to rezone four lots next to Leigh Square and raze the old Elks Hall.

A bid to build a six-storey mid-rise next to Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam is being heralded by the mayor as a “huge vote of confidence in our downtown.”

Last week, the city’s committee of council heaped praise on the proposal that, if approved, will see the Elks Hall razed and the parking lot to the south redeveloped for the commercial/residential building at 2272 Leigh Sq. and 2265 and 2291 Wilson Ave.

NorthStar Developments plans to rezone the four lots to create a 40,759 sq. ft. consolidated site east of Shaughnessy Mall, A&W restaurant and Dairy Queen.

If OK’d following a public hearing, the building would include three commercial units to be owned by the city on the northern side of the development — adjacent to Leigh Square — plus six privately owned commercial units along Donald Street and Wilson Avenue.

All of the commercial spaces would have 19’ high ceilings; however, some businesses would not be allowed to set up shop in the building, including:

  • thrift stores
  • dollar and discount stores
  • cash for gold stores
  • payday loan and cheque cashing services
  • adult stores
  • stores selling e-cigarettes and vaping devices

A restrictive covenant would also be registered on the property title to make sure exhaust from a restaurant tenant is addressed.

As for the five floors above, there would be 108 condos, according to a report from Bruce Irvine, PoCo’s director of planning and development, and, below, a parkade with 107 stalls, including one spot for car sharing.

NorthStar’s open house on July 13 drew positive reviews in general, Irvine noted in his report, with respondents commenting on the additional retail in the downtown core and the al fresco dining possibilities overlooking Leigh Square.

As for the design, the proposed building would use similar materials and elements as the updated Veterans Park and Leigh Square with matching surface pavers, Irvine wrote.

A mix of trees, shrubs and perennial plants would go in planters while an apple tree of heritage significance will be cut.

As a result, NorthStar’s horticultural team took cuttings from the tree and grew genetically matched new apple trees, which they plan to replant on site — a move praised by Coun. Nancy McCurrach.

“I look forward to seeing those trees,” she said.

If the rezoning passes, the city will gain:

  • $2.5 million for payment-in-lieu of parking
  • $774,520 in amenity contributions through density bonus
  • $77,4000 in amenity contributions in lieu of affordable housing

Mayor Brad West said the proposal is in line with the Downtown Action Plan that the city approved in 2017, as well as the 2022 Housing Needs Report that calls for 550 new units a year over the next decade.

“I like the development and I want to see it move forward,” Coun. Glenn Pollock said at the Sept. 12 committee in council meeting.

Coun. Steve Darling said the building looks “phenomenal” and captures a welcoming spirit in the core.

“I think this is a huge vote of confidence in our downtown and what we are going to achieve in our downtown,” Mayor West said while commending the city’s partners for making the vision a reality.

McAllister Mid-rise

Meanwhile, as part of the downtown upgrade, the committee of council on Sept. 12 also OK’d a development permit amendment bid from Quarry Rock Developments to add another residential floor to its new building at 2245 McAllister Ave.

The sixth storey would result in a total of 80 condos, Irvine wrote.

The vacant 33,130 sq. ft. site, on the northern side of McAllister (east of PoCo Bowl and north of city hall), is currently under construction.

“I’m very excited to see this move forward. It’s a tremendous benefit to the downtown,” Mayor West said.