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Public hearing tonight for development in Port Moody's historic downtown

Port Moody's historic P. Burns butcher shop, that now houses GRIT café and gallery, will be moved next to the Queens Street plaza as part of the redevelopment plan.
A rendering of Mary Anne's Place, a mixed use development being proposed for Clarke Street in Port Moody's historic downtown.

A redevelopment proposal that would dramatically alter a portion of Port Moody's historic downtown goes to a public hearing tonight, Sept. 5.

The project, by North Vancouver-based Placemaker Communities and GBL Architects, would see the construction of two six-storey U-shaped buildings on 10 lots in the block bounded by Clarke and Spring streets, between Kyle Street and the Queens Street Plaza.

Part of the block has been vacant since a fire in 2019 destroyed the old Roe and Abernathy Grocery Store as well as the neighbouring Gallery Bistro.

The plan would also see the relocation of the former P. Burns butcher shop, that was constructed in 1908 and is on the city's list of protected heritage properties, further west along Clarke next to the Queens Street Plaza.

The building currently houses GRIT café and gallery and owner Cezar Salaveria told the Tri-City News he hopes there will be a place for him to continue his business when the project is completed.

Placemaker's project includes 103 strata condos in one of the buildings and 79 market rental units in the other. A total of nine units will be live-work spaces that could accommodate artists' studios.

The two 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.

The project is to be named after Mary Anne Cooper, the beloved advocate for Port Moody's heritage who passed away in 2021 at the age of 107.

According to a report by Port Moody senior planner Kevin Jones, the proposal for an "underutilized block" provides for "potential enhancements to Queens Street Plaza and a mid-block mews that provides a pedestrian connection, but also for community use."

Several members of council praised the project on July 25 when it gave first and second readings to the zoning and official community plan amendments that would be required for it to proceed, as well as a heritage revitalization agreement.

Coun. Samantha Agtarap lauded the developer's plan to install air conditioning in all the residential units while Coun. Amy Lubik said she really loved "the focus on placemaking. That's so important."

But some councillors said they also want to see some economic justification from the developer for its decision to eliminate 14 below-market rental units that had been part of its original submission to the city.

The public hearing commences at 7 p.m. in Port Moody council chambers at 100 Newport Dr., as well as online

The Clarke Street project is one of three items to be considered during the hearing. The others are a rezoning application for two properties on Henry Street to facilitate their subdivision into four lots and a similar rezoning application for a single lot on Westmount Street prior to its subdivision into two lots.

Following the public hearings, council will convene a special meeting to determine whether the three applications can move forward.