Don Luymes

Where country meets contemporary: Cloverdale’s new town centre plan

A breakdown of what the new plan means for Cloverdale.

The Cloverdale town centre plan isn’t a secret anymore.

It’s been presented to the business people of Cloverdale twice in two weeks: once at the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association’s AGM and once at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Don Luymes, the manager of community planning for the city of Surrey, said the plan will build on Cloverdale’s distinctive character, moving away from the “wagon wheel Western theme” that Cloverdale has been associated with in the past, and towards a “neo-warehouse” aesthetic.

“What the city is trying to do though new urban design guidelines is to add to that a more contemporary, you might call it hip, kind of vibe to the downtown area,” said Luymes.

The plan is designed to bring more vitality and street life to Cloverdale, especially on 176 Street and 176A Street. But how exactly is it going to make that happen?

Increasing residential density and walkability

“The city has always had in mind that it would become more dense,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA. “So the question now is fine-tuning the wings.”

The plan’s goal is to bring a younger demographic, including young families, closer to the town centre.

According to Luymes, doing so will create a pedestrian-friendly environment that supports businesses.

The new town centre plan has yet to be approved by council, but the goal of creating more residential density is already being carried out. Several sites in downtown Cloverdale are already in the process of being developed.

“You can make changes to the plan, but you have to have an interested party,” said Orazietti.

The increase in the interested parties is staggering.

“I’ve never had so many people coming into our door and saying, ‘Hey, what’s for sale? I have an idea, will it fit in?’” said Orazietti. “They’re trying to land here because they start to see they could be part of this newer vision.”

The former site of the Cloverdale mall, on the corner of 175 Street and 57A Avenue, is being developed by Mosaic. This project is expected to break ground in July 2017.

According to Orazietti, it will have 112 townhouse units and “will really create a continuity between the bypass and the commercial core.”

“There was a hope that there would have been something here that would have been not unlike the Bristol, where you had more commercial underneath,” he said.

Across the street, The Bristol is already well underway. This building will have 10,000 sq. ft. of commercial space on the bottom floor, as well as 97 apartments.

The third development is on 176A Street between the Petro-Canada and B’s Public House. Under the previous plan, the lot was designated Town Centre Commercial, although it remained vacant for many years. Now, the developer is putting in multi-family townhomes which Orazietti said are “part of this new generation of planning where you’re seeing much smaller units.”

STORY CONTINUES UNDER PHOTO

Many development projects are already underway in the areas surrounding Cloverdale’s town centre. Grace Kennedy

Other developments are in the works, although they are not nearly as far along as the three above.

The new town plan has also designated new areas to allow for more densification.

One of these is the old Bourassa Farm site. This is designated to allow for commercial at the corner of Highway 10 and 180 Street, and changing into townhouses and single-family homes as the property goes up the hill.

Others include: the property on 57 Avenue and 172B Street, newly designated for townhouses; the lots between 172 and 173 Streets, and 57 and 60 Avenues, which were undesignated but are now urban single-family; and several lots between 176A and 177B Streets, which were designated for parking but are now medium density residential.

Heritage core

“A lot of what we’re about is not a four-block strip,” said Orazietti.

The new town plan welcomes 176A Street as an important part of Cloverdale’s downtown core.

“There’s special urban design requirements for the 176A Street corridor…as a way of encouraging redevelopment there to create a parallel main street,” said Luymes.

It will “create a bit more of an opportunity for people to not just walk up and down one street, but loop and link and create more of an urban district.”

Unlike 176 Street, which will have a two-storey height limit to maintain its character and scale, 176A Street will be able to have taller buildings and more density with mixed-use developments. It will also be given new “beautification standards” to bring it to the same level at 176 Street, said Luymes.

Those standards won’t be the same ones Orazietti described as “Disney-esque” in the original town plan. Instead, they’ll incorporate a number of different design themes, both rustic and modern. Luymes pointed to places like The Vault and the Hawthorne as design precedents.

On 176A Street, improvements could include replacing the planters with in-ground gardens, installing new lampposts and street furniture, enhancing building facades and creating public art infrastructure.

Changing times, consistent goals

The new plan means there are some big changes proposed for Cloverdale, such as the creation of a high-tech business park on Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s land holdings and turning Bourassa Farm into a mixed-use commercial and residential property.

But for the most part, things are going to stay pretty consistent with the current plan.

“The differences in the plan are—I don’t want to use the word superficial, but they were detail executions,” said Orazietti.

“This plan is like a canvas,” he continued. “So what they’re doing is saying they want painters to come here and paint their own idea of what would be.

“And when you do all of that, you don’t really know exactly what it will be.”

The community plan will go to Surrey council for its first reading in the fall.

-With files from Sam Anderson

 

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