A number of years ago, Delta council members were touring Scott Road and came upon a vacant lot where a five-storey low-rise building was planned.
“This is wrong,” Delta CAO George Harvie remembers Delta Mayor Lois Jackson saying.
Longing to revitalize the Scott Road corridor, Jackson felt more could be done with the property.
A short time later, Blexo Developments approached council and proposed a highrise for the 11941 80 Ave. property.
Jackson later asked Blexo’s Setish Sharma how tall a building they needed in order to make it work. He told them he’d need 37 or 38 storeys.
It’s a story Harvie told at the Wednesday unveiling of plans for Delta Rise, a 37-storey commercial and residential highrise being built on the lot.
It will be the tallest building in Delta – larger than Surrey’s 25-storey Central City highrise, which preceded a development boom in Whalley.
At the outset, the Delta proposal was controversial, with many area residents opposed to increased density in the neighbourhood of mostly single-family homes.
Others took issue with the building being given approval before Delta completed its North Delta Area Plan (NDAP), a blueprint for development in the area which is currently underway.
The mixed-use building will include 359 apartments and a four-storey commercial component with a maximum 2,304-sq.-metre (24,800-sq.-ft.) area.
Jason Lewko lives about a kilometre away, and told The Leader in January the tower sets a bad precedent.
“This is the first highrise,” he said at the time. “Just wait.”
As to why tower approval preceded the NDAP, Jackson said it was a rare opportunity for the municipality that Delta didn’t want to miss out on.
“Somebody comes along with a capital idea, and they are prepared to go ahead, and the market is right, conditions are right – all those things are more important than a piece of paper, really.”
Delta staff and politicians believe Delta Rise will be the impetus for development along the Scott Road corridor, which has long struggled to attract investors.
“The interest on the Scott Road corridor is starting to happen,” Harvie told a group of about 80 people at the Delta Rise unveiling.
That is being backed, he said, by capital investment by Delta, noting council is moving forward this year with a $10-million expansion to the North Delta Recreation Centre, at 11415 84 Ave.
Delta will also being offering incentives to other developers looking to build along the corridor. Depending on the type and scope of the proposal, that could include waiving a sizable portion of building permit fees and development cost charges.
Harvie said the Delta Rise project will provide competitive prices, offering opportunities for people who are retiring or others looking to get into the market for the first time.
The price of a one-bedroom, 572 sq.-ft. unit at Delta Rise will begin at $189,000. The two-bedroom, 734-sq.-ft. apartments will sell for $234,000 and penthouse suites will begin at $334,000.
Blexo will begin pre-selling units in November.
“What we’re offering is some of the best housing options that the community needs here,” Sharma said.
He’s hoping the development will encourage TransLink to invest more in transit, including light rail.
Construction is slated to begin early next year and the building is expected to be complete by June 2016.
More information can be obtained at www.deltarise.ca