Future Development at Gilmore Station in Burnaby

Proposal for Towers Adjacent to Gilmore Skytrain Station

Proposal for Towers Adjacent to Gilmore Skytrain Station

The Proposal
The developer is proposing to turn the area immediately surrounding Gilmore Skytrain Station into a mecca of development, with some 3 million SF of residential and commercial space spread out over 5 separate towers. Construction of a transit village, similar to the one being constructed at Brentwood Mall will occur over 12 acres of prime land. Developer Omni Group proposes close to 2,500 residential units for the property, including 743,200 SF of retail and 996,900 SF of office.i This proposal puts forth a truly mixed-use and transit-oriented vision for the lands that adjoin the rapid transit station.

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A Look at the Transit-Oriented Urban Village Around Gilmore Skytrain Station

What is it Replacing?
The site is currently home to 4 low-rise office/light industrial buildings which will be demolished to make way for the new development. Omni Group is the manager of the two taller buildings which are 4190 and 4180 Lougheeed Highway. At 4180 Lougheed the total height is 6-storeys while at 4190 Lougheed it is 5-storeys, both were built in 1983. The building at 4180 Lougheed Highway contains a total of 86,521 SF of office space and is classified as Class B office. The building at 4190 Lougheed Highway is a total of 70,004 SF and is also classified as Class B office space.ii There are also two other 2-storey buildings along Dawson Street. One houses a Gold’s Gym at 4161 Dawson Street and the other houses Stanley Security located at 4175 Dawson Street. As we’ve seen with previous demolitions of low-rise buildings in other parts of the city, land values in Metro Vancouver are so high as to justify the destruction of relatively new and dense buildings.

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Buildings at Commerce Court Along Lougheed Highway to be Demolished

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Buildings along Dawson Street to be Demolished

A New Norm?
The construction of new urban villages at select rapid transit stations (Brentwood Mall, Marine Gateway) marks a pronounced shift away from traditional development patterns. The large indoor malls surrounded by a sea of pavement are a thing of the past, what consumer’s desire now are destinations that are directly adjacent to high capacity transit like Skytrain. This new type of development only makes sense; it will always be the land directly beside stations that warrants the highest and best use when it comes to new development. There is still a wealth of different stations that could benefit from this form of development, with many still surrounded by a mostly low-density urban form. It will be very interesting to see which stations are slated for further intensification in the near future.

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Plans for Towers Beside Gilmore Station in Burnaby

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Artist Rendering of the New Gilmore Station Development

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i http://www.gilmorestation.ca/
ii https://spacelist.ca/p/bc/burnaby/4190_lougheed_hwy

Pacific Northwest: Where Airport Rapid Transit is the rule, not the exception.

The new standard for world-class cities is for them to have efficient rapid transit to and from the airport. In North America especially, this has been so far difficult for most major cities to achieve. What were once top priority plans to expand rapid rail transit airports in cities across this continent, are now nothing more than long-term planning at best. What went wrong? Well a whole lot more than went right, from the financial collapse to cost overruns, bad planning and lack of funding. Let’s take a look at three cities in the Pacific North West where it has gone right instead.

Vancouver

The city built the $2 billion plus Canada Line to Vancouver International Airport to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympics. At the time the rising cost of construction and ridership predictions which were considered way too generous caused a lot of backlash against this project. Usage has grown steadily from 83,000 in September 2009 to well over 110,000 in February 2011. The line carried a record of 228,190 people during the 2010 Olympics and is well on track to meet its 2021 ridership target of 142,000.

What went right here is that all levels of government came forward to recognize the true importance of connecting the Downtown Vancouver area with Canada’s second largest airport and Asian hub (YVR). People coming in and going out of the city now have a 25 minute ride into downtown that is reliable and efficient even in the worst rush-hour traffic. The rail line is even now sparking multitudes of pedestrian friendly and transit-orientated development along its route.

City Vancouver
Metro Population 2,659,623
Current Rapid Transit Network Skytrain – 3 lines, 47 stations, 69 km.
Daily Ridership 381,100
Airport Connection Since 2009
Future? 3 expansion lines by 2020

Expanded Skytrain Network 2020

 

Seattle

Years ago few would have predicted rapid transit in the Emerald city, let alone rapid transit connecting downtown and the airport. Expansions to Monorail and the building of light rail were shot down time and time again. Eventually cooler heads prevailed and today Seattle  is undergoing a light rail renaissance with 2 active lines and more than 5 other expansion projects in various stages of development. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the regions largest, serving over 30 million passengers each year. With the ongoing traffic jams along Highway 5 it only made sense to give people an alternative to driving.

Ridership of 25,000 in a metropolitan area of over 4 million may seem like small potatoes. When you consider that Seattle was late to the game in building rail rapid transit and has only had it operational for a handful of years, it’s a good deal of progress. While the city may have a long way to go to catch transit friendly Vancouver in ridership numbers, Portland on the other hand may be within striking distance if the building of light rail continues at such a rate.

City Seattle
Metro Population 3,439,809
Current Rapid Transit Network Link Light Rail – 2 lines, 18 stations, 17miles (28km)
Daily Ridership 24,700
Airport Connection Since 2009
Future? 3 expansion lines by 2023

 

Portland

Out of the 3 biggest Northwest cities, Portland was the first to establish a direct link between downtown and its own airport (PDX). Portland has a light rail system called MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) which is similar to Seattle’s yet much more extensive and established.

City Portland
Metro Population 2,238,895
Current Rapid Transit Network MAX Light Rail – 4 lines, 85 stations, 52miles (84km)
Daily Ridership 121,300
Airport Connection Since 2001
Future? 3 expansion lines by 2023