Grosvenor received unanimous council support at 2nd and 3rd reading to move the project forward towards a 4th reading date where we hope to receive rezoning adoption.
Unanimous Council support is rare for development projects in the District of North Vancouver and especially for well-established infill neighbourhoods like Edgemont Village. A recent report by the Fraser Institute found that the District of North Vancouver has the highest regulatory barriers toward the development of new housing in the Lower Mainland, and is where new development is the most affected by local opposition. The report compares construction approval times, timeline uncertainty, regulatory costs and fees, rezoning prevalence and the effect council and community groups have on development.
Since 2013, Grosvenor Americas’ Vancouver development team has interacted with over 2,600 Edgemont Village residents and merchants through various methods of community engagement. Namely, a retail space on the main thoroughfare of the Village opened to the public as a Public Information Centre where project information, a scale model and the team were frequently available on an ongoing basis for a period of approximately seven months.
The community engagement programme also included participation in community events, door-to-door canvassing and several Public Information Meetings and Open Houses which were attended by record numbers of neighbourhood residents. Additionally, numerous meetings with Village merchants and community stakeholders allowed close relationships and trust within the community to be built.
Community feedback is an important element of the District of North Vancouver’s rezoning process. However, community members with family commitments or decreased mobility are often unable to attend and speak at rezoning meetings. Through cooperation with Council, Grosvenor introduced a process innovation that allowed these community members to have their opinions heard. Students from Capilano University were hired to create a short film and community members were invited to share their feedback on the project in lieu of attending the meeting. The short film was presented successfully at Public Hearing and can also be viewed here.
The feedback collected during the two-year public engagement process contributed greatly to the evolution of the project and ultimately to its rezoning success. Councillor Doug MacKay-Dunn stated during second and third reading of the rezoning application that “…this is one of the only times that I can remember during my time on Council where there is unanimous support for a proposal”. It was recognized by Councillor Bond that Grosvenor has “undertaken one of the most intensive public consultation processes that we’ve seen in the community”. Councillor Hanson was “struck by the consensus in favour of this development in the public hearing…” and congratulated “…the proponent of the development for their efforts in matching the proposed project to the needs of the community”.
Reflecting on the public engagement process, Marc Josephson, Senior Development Manager, Grosvenor Americas, says he is confident that the Edgemont Village development represents Grosvenor’s dedication to building healthy and livable places tailored to the people who live, work and recreate in established communities.
While addressing Council at Public Hearing, Marc emphasized that “from the thousands of conversations we’ve had we know that the community is excited about what this proposal has to offer in terms of walkability, animation, housing diversity, gathering places, new retail, public parking, and a true community gateway, all being added to an already cherished Village. We have aimed to meet the needs of the community not only for today but for future generations.”
The approval will see approximately 80 residential units built over 5,500 square metres of retail space on the 0.85 hectare site at the north-west gateway to Edgemont Village. The residential units will comprise the development’s second, third and partial fourth storeys, offering a variety of housing types including one and two-storey townhomes and flats. The units are targeted primarily to downsizing Edgemont Village residents who value comfortable square footage and features similar to those in their existing single family homes such as laundry rooms, ample storage and indoor-outdoor living spaces.
At street level, the development will contribute a new retail anchor to the Village. Thrifty Foods, a local grocery chain, will lease approximately 3,200 square metres of space in the development. The full-service grocery store will be accessed through a Village-scale frontage due to a design innovation that hides the store within the heart of the building. Other retail uses will include a pharmacy, restaurant, and spaces designed for smaller, Village-scale merchants.
In addition to the residential and retail components, the development will include three new public squares designed as community gathering places featuring public art and thoughtful landscaping and seating. Residents of the development will also benefit from an expansive landscaped courtyard which will include a variety of trees, a rock garden and an indoor-outdoor amenity space.
Edgemont Village has always been a desirable place for families to live. More recently, growing demand and a lack of new housing supply have contributed to an increasingly competitive market with prices that discourage many purchasers from moving to or returning to the neighbourhood. There is also a shortage in the supply and quality of existing multi-family housing units near Edgemont Village, limiting options for residents who wish to downsize and remain in their community. Grosvenor’s development in Edgemont Village seeks to address these issues and the initial demand for the units and overall community support for the project speaks to its success thus far.
Construction is planned to begin in 2016 and Grosvenor aims for project completion in late 2018.
For more information contact:
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Notes to Editors
Grosvenor Americas aims to become a market leader in select geographical areas and sectors in Canada and the USA through focused, strategic expansion. We use our knowledge of the cities we work in and our property skills to develop projects that contribute to the vibrancy of those communities. With a specific interest in retail, residential condominiums and apartments, and mixed-use sectors, the Company currently operates in Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Calgary. As at 31 December 2014, Grosvenor Americas had assets under management of C$3.0bn.