The plans for a 123-unit purpose-built rental building at the Strawberry Hill Shopping Centre are moving forward.
Council unanimously voted in favour of approving a development permit for form and character, a development variance permit which will go to public notification and then a bylaw introduction, followed by first, second and third reading for a housing agreement. Council will vote on final approval at a later date.
According to a staff report, the variance permit would be to increase the allowable height to 19.8 metres from 14 metres and to reduce the parking to 170 stalls (154 resident parking stalls and 13 visitor stalls) from 199 parking stalls.
The housing agreement would secure the rental apartments for a period of 20 years.
Only Councillor Steven Pettigrew spoke about the proposal, saying that he likes what he’s seen “so far” from the plans, but he would still like to see green roofing.
There is no ground-level commercial proposed for the building. The current zoning, which was recently rezoned to Comprehensive Development Zone from Town Centre Commercial Zone, allows for multiple residential units.
Staff says this six-storey proposal is “greatly needed” rental housing that can be built without rezoning or plan amendments.
It would include one- and two-bedroom units. Forty per cent of the units are two-bedroom, with eight two-bedroom townhomes. The remaining are one-bedroom units.
Indoor amenity space would include a fitness room, kitchen, theatre area and a guest suite. Outdoor amenity space would include a covered patio with a fireplace and a natural play area.
The apartment building would be in the northeast corner of the site, south of the library and fronting 122nd Street. The building would use the existing entrances to the shopping centre.
The Surrey school district projects three students for Westerman Elementary and one student for Princess Margaret Secondary.
If approved, it’s expected to be completed by summer 2022.
The report states that the owner of the shopping centre is RioCan (Real Estate Investment Trust), which is “preparing for future consumer needs” and looking to redevelop the shopping centre into a “vibrant mixed-use centre in the near future.”
However, redevelopment is still in the “initial planning phases” and would require a “comprehensive planning process” that would include rezoning the site.
Currently, the shopping centre has 35 units of about 21,710-square-metres of commercial floor area. The Scottsdale Transit Exchange and the Strawberry Hill branch of Surrey Libraries is also on the site.
RioCan held two public information meetings, with one on May 29, 2019 before a formal application was submitted and then a second on Oct. 16, 2019.
Staff says, in total, about 40 people attended and 15 comment forms were submitted. Comments related to concerns about traffic and parking, support for rental housing and the “desire to prioritize safety.”
The Now-Leader has reached out to RioCan for more information on future plans.