City axes art space, rental suites from Kingsway complex

Developer must make larger cash contribution

A development proposed for Broadway and Kingsway no longer includes space for artists or rental suites.

City rezoning planner Yardley McNeill told a Jan. 17 public meeting on the development that 9,200 square feet of artists' studios and 15 rental apartments included in the original development were too small a contribution to the community compared to the cost to the developer for providing them. She said the city believes a larger cash contribution from the developer to the city would provide more bang for the buck. But Rize Alliance Properties Ltd. would need to contribute more than a previously agreed upon $4.5 million cash contribution.

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The application for the property includes a two-storey commercial podium, 241 condos, building heights of five, nine and 19 storeys-down from an initially proposed 26 storeys, 320 underground parking spots and widened sidewalks on Kingsway and 10th Avenue.

McNeill told those who filled Heritage Hall the cash from Rize would be spent on a public benefit within Mount Pleasant and that the rezoning could go to a public hearing for council's decision by the end of February.

McNeill said if the rezoning is approved, public consultation would follow on how to spend the money, which could go toward a park, daycare space, affordable housing or a cultural amenity. Council would make the ultimate decision. She estimated it could take two to five years before the public saw concrete results from the developer's money.

City director of planning Brent Toderian said Jan. 18 that city staff will recommend the money be spent on a cultural space, and perhaps help provide affordable housing. The city's change to the proposed development at the southwest corner of Broadway and Kingsway was not welcomed by all at the open house. Some residents wondered whether the city takes seriously the Mount Pleasant Community Plan, approved in November 2010. The plan called for support for the creative community and rental housing.

The Residents Association of Mount Pleasant, or RAMP, ran an information table at the meeting to note the revised proposal doesn't address requests from the community for the development to include rental units geared to income, an inner courtyard that serves as a public space, the guarantee of artist live/work space with affordable rent and subsidized housing.

Most of the questions at the open house concerned the development's height and size and how the proposal fit with the community plan.

City planner Peter Burch said residents involved with the creation of the plan considered the public benefits that could stem from largescale developments. He said they pinpointed the Broadway and Kingsway, Kingsgate Mall and Main Street IGA sites as suitable for large developments.

"During the course of the Mount Pleasant plan there was a sense of trying to balance off where significant development might go to achieve these other things," he said.

McNeill said the city had received more than 1,700 responses to the proposed rezoning, 40 per cent in favour and 60 per cent opposed. A quick tally of comments from the Jan. 17 open house showed 60 per cent opposed, 35 per cent in favour and five per cent neutral.

Planning staff will support the rezoning in their report to council. The city continues to accept public comment. For more information, see Vancouver. ca/rezapps. Twitter: @Cheryl_Rossi

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