There is one more piece of False Creek North that will now be developed, the former “Plaza of Nations” property south of BC Place. This is one of the last undeveloped pieces of land that is waterfront, and has been under contention since 2015. This week the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed they would not be hearing an appeal from a decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia regarding ownership of the land.
This 5 hectare site was acquired by Oei Hong Leung of Singapore in the 1990 at a cost of 40 million dollars from Li Kai Sing, who had purchased the entire Expo 86 lands for 320 million. Mr. Oei held on to the property which today is valued around 800 million dollars, a lift of 2,000 percent in 32 years.
A civil suit had been launched by Concorde Pacific against Mr. Oei over a preliminary agreement to jointly develop this parcel of land. The court found for Mr. Oei in ascertaining that there were not sufficient “essential terms” to make the contract binding.
Mr.Oeil who owns Canadian Metropolitan Properties had already commenced working with the City of Vancouver on a design for the property, choosing to develop it in three phases. Francl Architecture and James Cheng Architects have partnered to produce a design for phase one, which is a departure from the Vancouverism model of a podium with a tower.
The form chosen is a 28 storey stepped back building which has retail uses on the first two levels, then three storeys of offices, 648 strata units and 180 units of social housing. The area where the marina is currently will become a focal point for the public with a generous plaza that will also provide access between the sea wall and BC Place. The design also includes accessible green roofs which will function as park space.
Mr. Francl was the architect for Creekside Millenium in Olympic Village as well as the community centre. Mr. Cheng was the architect for the Fairmont Pacific Rim and the Shangri-La. As a team these two firms have a background in building luxury condo units as well as public amenities.
Mr. Oei was confident enough in the outcome of the Supreme Court of Canada decision to already embark on the permit application process for Phase One which will have a maximum of 280 feet and one million square feet of residential space.. Amenities in this phase include a community centre, an ice rink, a music centre, and a 67 space daycare.
As part of this development the Dunsmuir viaduct will be demolished and replaced with an at grade road that will facilitate walking and biking connections.
Green roofs that will be accessible to the public will be a signature of this development, as well as accessible waterfront similar to that of Olympic Village. Large stepped granite boulders leading to the water’s edge are proposed, with accessible public docks where motorized and non motorized boats can be used. You can take a look at some of the images of the massing models for Phase One here.
Here are two YouTube videos below. The first YouTube video has James Cheng Architect discussing the preliminary design in 2018. The second YouTube video is prepared by CBC’s Jon Hernandez that gives a background to why this site was delayed in construction, and has some images of what the site looked like during the World’s Fair Expo 86.