In 1956, Oakridge Centre, a 28.3 acre site originally owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway, became the first CD-1 zoning approved in the city. In 1959, the City’s first mall was built here.
Today, Oakridge Centre remains much the same, with its low-rise retail buildings, small office towers and sprawling parking lot containing more than 3,000 parking spots.
Vancouver City Council first considered redevelopment of the site in 2007. But the economic downturn stalled the process.
Then in 2012, the City restarted the process that would transform Oakridge centre from an outdated mall to a vibrant city centre.
Oakridge’s proximity to the Canada Line makes it an ideal location for increased density for three reasons:
• the City estimates the Cambie Corridor will grow by as much as 30,000 residents over the next 30 years
• Metro Vancouver estimates the region’s population will grow by 1.2 million residents to 3.4 million persons
• Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy encourages new density along key transportation corridors
The rezoning application
In October 2012, Henriquez Partners Architects on behalf of Ivanhoe Cambridge and Westbank Development submitted a rezoning application for Oakridge Centre for a mixed-use development including commercial, office, residential and public amenity space. The plan includes 13 residential towers housing 2,818 residential units in buildings ranging from six to 45 storeys.
Retail space will more than double to 1.4 million square feet and office space will almost quadruple to more than 424,000 square feet.
Public amenities will include a new community centre with a dedicated seniors space and community kitchen, an expanded library, a child care facility with outdoor play area, and rooftop green space. The City estimates the project will create 3,000 new jobs.
|Currently on site||2012 poropsed rezoning|
|Building height||up to 7 stories||up to 45 storeys (412 feet)|
|Total sqare feet||822,000||4,597,559|
|Publicly accessible open space on the roof will include:|
|Parks and lawns||Waterfalls and reflecting pools|
|Terraced gardens||Community gardens|
|Japanese gardens||Pedestrian walkways|
|Volleyball court||Running loop|
|Multipurpose field||Multi-use courts for basketball, badminton, etc.|
|Bocce ball field||View decks|
|Wedding pavilion||Tai Chi pavilion|
Affordable housing at Oakridge Centre
Vancouver’s inclusionary housing policy for major projects applies to the Oakridge Centre rezoning and sets a 20% affordable housing target. This means that of the 2,818 units, 695 could be affordable housing.
The City will consider a range of options to deliver affordable housing for the Oakridge redevelopment, including:
• Social and market rental housing – both private and non-profit
• Clear title to a land site that could accommodate 20% of the units
• Off-site provision of affordable housing
Since March 2012 the City has hosted open houses, stakeholder meetings, information kiosks and an online consultation.
Concerns have focused on whether the proposed redevelopment would fit into the existing neighbourhood, the height of buildings, and the potential for overcapacity of transit.
The City has determined the proposed redevelopment is in keeping with City and regional policies adopted in consultation with residents, including:
• Oakridge Langara Policy Statement
• Riley Park South Cambie Vision
• Greenest City 2020 Action Plan
• Cambie Corridor Plan
• Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2012-2021
• Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future (the regional growth strategy)
• Transportation 2040 Plan
• Vancouver Economic Action Strategy
• EcoCity Policies for Rezoning of Sustainable Large Sites
• Green Building Rezoning Policy
The proposed rezoning requires approval. The approval process will include a public hearing where residents and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to talk about the rezoning application.
Should the rezoning process proceed smoothly, construction could potentially begin in 2014.
For more information visit the City of Vancouver’s web site at: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/oakridge-redevelopment.aspx
Photo source: City of Vancouver