Huge waterfront development seeks city's approval

A long-planned major development that will alter the face of Richmond’s middle arm portion of the Fraser River will soon reach a public hearing, as it nears approval from Richmond city council.

According to a report from the City of Richmond’s planning department, Yuanheng Holdings Ltd. is planning to build more than 1.2 million square feet of living and working space, spanning multiple towers in the rapidly-developing Capstan Village area, south of Bridgeport and No. 3 roads.

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The development, featuring 850 residential units, promises to bring a new community centre to the area, public access to a small waterfront park along the dyke, 59 affordable housing units and a $7 million contribution for a new Canada Line station — all community amenities negotiated by the City of Richmond for increasing density to the area.

The site will blend into the existing Wall Centre development and a new one-acre park along the dyke will compliment a planned linear waterfront park that will begin further south at Cambie Road. Yuanheng will also contribute $2.6 million for a pier and a viewing deck along the dyke.

Amongst the 47,820 square feet of affordable housing, will be 18, three-bedroom units, which will be rent-controlled by the city in perpetuity. Rent is currently set at $1,437 a month for a three-bedroom unit for any household earning less than $57,500.

The report indicates the affordable housing units will be clustered, and “may occupy entire tower floors or parts thereof.”

Typically, the city asks that affordable units be dispersed, however, the developer has said it can offer the units more quickly by clustering them.

The development is nearly directly beneath a flight path. As such, it requires aircraft noise reduction measures, such as concrete walls, double-pane windows and air conditioning.

The developer will yield some land to the city for public pathways to access the planned $25 million Canada Line station at Capstan Way.

As a result of other surrounding developments that will result in, potentially, 16,000 new residents, the city is planning to operate a new community centre by 2020. Yuanheng is providing 33,400 square-feet of space for the new centre (City Centre Community Centre is 28,000 square-feet by comparison). In 2020, the LEED Gold (energy efficient) centre will service up to 5,250 new residents.

The development requires rezoning and must be approved by council Monday for it to then go to a public hearing.  

Yuenheng’s development is among many along No. 3 Road. Also in the approval stage is a seven-tower, 948,000-square-foot project at Alderbridge Way, across from Lansdowne Centre.

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