Looking west, from the 55th floor of Surrey’ Civic Hotel in the city centre. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Big year for construction in Surrey’s City Centre: mayor

McCallum says about 16 high-rise projects currently in ‘different phases’ of planning process

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says 2019 could “easily” be one of the biggest years for high-rise development in City Centre.

Currently, McCallum said, the city has about 16 high-rise projects that are “in different phases in our planning process.”

“Some just started, others midway through and actually some that council is going to be dealing with probably in the next couple weeks that are at fourth reading,” McCallum told the Now-Leader.

McCallum said there is “a lot of high-rise development” in the City Centre that will be starting construction “fairly soon.”

“I think it could probably easily be one of the biggest years for… high-rise development in our City Centre.”

RELATED: Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building, Nov. 16, 2018

RELATED: Phase three of ‘King George Hub’ development gets the green light, Sept. 21, 2018

In January, 2017, city council approved the Surrey City Centre Plan which is aimed at developing the area into “a walkable transit-oriented downtown core,” according to the city’s website.

The City Centre plan, according to the city, encompasses more than just the general area around city hall. The area extends from about 112th Avenue in the north to about 96th Avenue in the south, but also includes Surrey Memorial Hospital. The plan also extends to 132nd Street in the west to 140th Street in the east.

In the long-term, McCallum said the city is working with its partners in the city such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Simon Fraser University to “develop” programs to help, which has its new Sustainable Energy and Engineering currently under construction.

In the short-term, he said the city is working with the YMCA to build a new facility in City Centre to benefit the influx of people expected to move to the area.

RELATED: New YMCA to be built in Surrey’s City Centre neighbourhood, July 14, 2016

RELATED: YMCA in talks with SFU about second Surrey location, June 2, 2018

But how many people will be moving to City Centre with all the development, McCallum said he isn’t sure.

“It’s going to be a mix use in the City Centre and that’s what we’re encouraging also because, also, I think we need to see that mix use,” he said. “It’s a little difficult to forecast how many people will be here.”

It also helps, McCallum said, that within City Centre are three SkyTrain stations which is “one of the major reasons” why developers want to build in the area.

“What SkyTrain brings to cities anywhere is a lot more density and a lot more high-rise type construction along its corridors. That’s how you build cities, I think, in the future.”

Asked if the cancellation of LRT has affected any developments in the City Centre, McCallum said the city hasn’t “seen any of that.”

“Since we’re going to build SkyTrain along Fraser Highway, it’s encouraged developers to bring their high-rise development forward in our city centre. We’re actually seeing the opposite of that.”

McCallum said the city is also starting to see more development proposals come up along the King George corridor between City Centre and Newton.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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