Archive for September 2012
Last week, probably on Thursday 13 September 2012, a large For Lease sign appeared at the Kingsway at Gladstone corner of the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site.
In mid 2011 Westbank purchased the 2.3 acre site for a little over $34 million. On 8 June 2012 the developer lodged a rezoning application with the City of Vancouver.
The For Lease advertisement seems odd, since the previous site occupant, Canadian Tire, was doing good business at the location and required no outfitting for useful continued tenancy. According to local rumor, Canadian Tire had an interest in purchasing the site, though likely not at the escalated residential price for the land deliberately brought on by the Norquay Plan.
The likeliest speculations are that recent market conditions have made immediate development less attractive and/or the application process is beginning to look more extended in face of the critical eye that the local community focuses through the lens of the Norquay Plan.
If the 2220 Kingsway site is leased on an interim basis, it is to be hoped that the developer will respect the community by not enabling a detrimental use, as occurred notoriously at the abandoned Safeway building located at the Kingsway and Knight triangle that became King Edward Village. It is further to be hoped that the City of Vancouver would not issue an inappropriate business license in an area targeted for “revitalization.”
Even an interim tenant would need to modify the existing structure, and thus require some guaranteed period of tenancy to recuperate those costs. It is also possible that the parking lot alone could be leased for short-term uses. This seems to have been the case recently for a large collection of vehicles apparently associated with a film production company. Again, the City of Vancouver may need to monitor such uses in the midst of a long-established single-family residential neighborhood.
The following City of Vancouver email was received today by unspecified Norquay residents and/or property owners. Executive summary with comment: Two open houses will be held “this fall” to present what city planners have developed while working entirely on their own since February 2011 on (a) three of four new zoning schedules (b) public benefits strategy (c) public realm plan. Planners anticipate taking their work on (a) and (b) to City Council “in early 2013” after allowing affected Norquay residents to glimpse what they have already decided on. A public realm planning “process” will commence in 2013, in the wake of a land-rush frenzy of major developments — 2339 Kingsway (completed), 2300 Kingsway (final stages), 2711 Kingsway (underway), and 2220 Kingsway (development permit application) — that have already been allowed helter-skelter to determine much of the hodge-podge character of the so-called Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre. This is what constitutes early 21st century “planning” in East Vancouver. A touchstone issue for any semblance of coherence in “Norquay” will be whether the explicitly unwanted glass-tower syndrome trying to emerge at 2220 Kingsway can be made to respect the brick theme articulated in the Norquay planning.
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From: Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Program — firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 2:16 PM
Subject: FW: Norquay update to front Rezoning Notification
Hello Norquay Resident/Property Owner,
You are receiving this email because you have signed up at a previous Norquay event to be updated on work to implement the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan. Please find attached a notification of an upcoming open house for a redevelopment of the Canadian Tire site at 2220 Kingsway. At this open house you can view plans, speak with staff and the project designers, and make comments on the proposal. This notification is also being mailed out to property owners within a 2 block radius of the proposed development.
We would also wish to provide you with a brief update on the progress on other implementation work in Norquay.
Finalization of the new residential zones for Norquay has taken longer than we originally projected. We are now expecting to finalize the three new zoning schedules this fall and forward them to Council in early 2013 for their consideration.
Public Benefits Strategy
Staff have completed background work and developed draft directions for the Public Benefits Strategy based largely on priority directions contained in the Norquay Plan. Funding from future rezonings in Norquay has been projected. This draft work will be shared with the community later this fall for their consideration and input before the Strategy is finalized and forwarded to Council along with the new zoning schedules.
Kingsway Streetscape Improvements and Repaving
Work on Kingsway to introduce a centre landscaped median, improved pedestrian crossings, landscaped curb bulges, new lighting and street furniture is progressing well. As development on key Kingsway sites such as Canadian Tire proceeds in future years, additional crossings, wider sidewalks, plazas and other pedestrian amenities will be added to enhance comfort and convenience for pedestrians and begin to create an identity for Norquay.
Public Realm Plan
A process to develop a Public Realm Plan for Norquay will begin in early in 2013 with the help of a landscape architectural/planning team and community members. This Plan will bring together the ideas identified in the Norquay Neighbourhood Centre Plan — the Linear Park linking Norquay Park to Renfrew Ravine, Kingsway streetscape improvements, important public spaces and community links. This document will create a more detailed vision for Norquay that will serve as a blueprint for the future of Norquay’s public spaces and streets.
Norquay Plan Implementation Open House
We will be inviting the Norquay community to two Open Houses this fall to discuss all this work with staff. These events will be advertised broadly via an invitation card to all residences in the neighbourhood once details are finalized. In the meantime if you have questions, please contact:
Jennifer White at 604-871-6474 or email@example.com
City of Vancouver
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Norquay residents have been watching to see whether and/or when the developer of the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site would post yellow signage about the development permit application submitted to the City of Vancouver on 8 June 2012.
It has taken about three months for the signage to appear on site. Three signs (Kingsway, Gladstone St, East 30th Ave) went up sometime between noon on Friday September 7 and Sunday evening September 9. This is less than two weeks before the developer holds an open house in the local community.
The timing of this signage posting raises questions such as the following:
Has the developer deliberately foot-dragged to minimize local community awareness
of the massive impending change that this development seems likely to bring?
Does the City of Vancouver allow the developer to do whatever suits the developer’s fancy,
whenever the developer happens to feel like it?
Would it not be appropriate for the newly posted yet tardy signage to advertise the already
scheduled open house?
Previous concern about this lack of respect for timely information distribution was recorded in Soon?
This morning’s mail brought the yellow Notice of Rezoning Application and Community Open House for 2220 Kingsway:
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Time: 5 — 8 pm
Place: Vancouver Alpen Club (Ballroom) — 4875 Victoria Drive
The official City of Vancouver document can be downloaded as Notice of Rezoning Application and Community Open House at Rezoning Application — 2220 Kingsway.
1 — The mailed notice was received less than two weeks in advance of the single open house.
2 — Three months have elapsed since application and still no yellow development permit application sign has been placed at the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site.