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Woodward’s Square Creates New Community
Concert/Holborn redevelopment proposal spans city block.
Vancouver, BC, Canada – A public square, university campus and a mix of social housing and loft-style apartments are highlights of the Woodward's Square proposal submitted jointly to the City of Vancouver by Concert Properties Ltd. and Holborn Holdings Ltd.
"Woodward's Square creates a new and vibrant community that also respects the needs of existing area residents and neighbourhoods," said David Podmore, President and Chief Executive Officer, Concert Properties. "Our plans will continue to evolve as we consult with stakeholders and make refinements that reflect their issues and ideas."
Designed by architects Davidson Yuen Simpson Architects and Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, Woodward's Square is a bold move in the design and programming of the project.
The proposed $121 million redevelopment calls for a dramatic and exciting new city square in the centre of the project. Surrounding the square are heritage buildings that will be renovated and re-used. The oldest of the buildings, the 57,000 square foot historic 1903/1908 corner building at West Hastings and Abbott Streets, will be completely renovated for uses designated by the City of Vancouver.
The balance of the heritage buildings will be converted into 135 loft-style apartments with 16,000 square feet of retail space at ground level. One hundred non-market homes will be placed on the upper floors of a new building with Simon Fraser University's School of Contemporary Arts occupying the first 10 floors. Vancouver Community College will establish its Contemporary Design Centre and School of Music in a 55,000-square-foot campus in the Woodward's building, in space fronting Cordova Street at ground level and one floor below.
A unique aspect of the Woodward's Square proposal is a "density transfer" from Woodward's to 1133 West Georgia.
"We feel that converting the heritage buildings into loft-style housing with the non-market housing in a new tower is very appropriate for this location," said Podmore.
"We feel the excess density should be used in the context of a higher density/height zone where it fits with adjacent development and the skyline, as opposed to the Woodward's site within the Victory Square/Gastown areas."
Although proponents for the Woodward's redevelopment project were able to submit proposals with or without the Simon Fraser University component, the Concert/Holborn team believes it is key to the project's ultimate success. As a result, Concert/Holborn will provide Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College with the capital funds required to locate campuses at Woodward's Square at an agreed socially responsible rate of return.
Simon Lim, President and Managing Director of Holborn Holdings Ltd., noted that if Concert/Holborn is the successful proponent, work could begin immediately.
"All of us in the area have been anxious to see the Woodward's redevelopment begin," he said. "Our team is prepared to provide full financing for the Woodward's Square project, which means we can begin work as soon as the existing development permit is amended and the City gives us the go-ahead."
Properties Concert is an award-winning diversified real estate enterprise involved in developing and acquiring commercial and industrial properties, rental housing, multi-family condominium housing, seniors living communities, and resort developments in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. www.ConcertProperties.com
About The Holborn Group
The Holborn Group operates internationally in Asia, South Africa, Australia and Canada. Its fields of interest range from equity markets to hotels, and it owns significant real estate in Vancouver and Whistler valued in excess of $250 million. The Holborn Group intends to develop an even stronger presence in Canada by further investing its capital, labour and experience.
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