Langara Gardens project back before public

Note: This story has been corrected since first posted. Open House dates are April 19 and April 21st.

Planning for the 20.8-acre Langara Gardens site is underway again, almost two years after council said work to produce a policy statement to guide redevelopment of the property could begin.

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Open houses to kick off the City of Vancouver-led process are set for April 19 and April 21.

One of the reasons for the delay came from negotiations over ownership.

Concert Properties recently bought a 50 per cent interest in the project from owner Peterson Group Ltd.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why we’re starting again from scratch. Because Concert Properties will be the managing partner on this process on behalf of Peterson,” explained James Cheng of James K.M. Cheng Architects Inc.

Langara Gardens is located between 54th and 57th avenues west of Cambie Street on the southeast edge of the Oakridge neighbourhood.

Cheng said they were also waiting until plans for the Pearson-Dogwood lands were settled. Langara Gardens sits just north of that 25-acre site.

Council approved the Pearson-Dogwood policy statement in February 2014 — it’s destined for a mixed-use development, including health care and related services, housing, community amenities and park space.

Towers up to 28 storeys will be clustered along Cambie Street and the northeastern portion of the property.  Vancouver Coastal Health, which had owned the Pearson-Dogwood lands, announced in February 2015 that it had sold most of the property, except for a 3.2-acre portion, to Onni Group.

“Now the Pearson site is done and they’ve sold some of their properties to a private developer,” Cheng said. “So now we know what’s happening across the street, so we are now engaging with the city to restart the process.”

Brian Jackson, the city’s head planner, said this is the first series of open houses and they are meant to gather community reaction before formulating options for the public’s consideration.

“The Langara Gardens project is different than the Pearson-Dogwood [site] because of the existing rental housing. Although it is strategically located near a future Canada Line station, we have no preconceived density targets, urban design, heights for this site,” he told the Courier.

The Langara Gardens site has 605 units of market rental housing on it — 335 of the units are located in four 18-storey towers, while the remaining units are garden apartments and townhouses.

In a 2013 interview, before Concert Properties became involved, Cheng told the Courier that the redevelopment would likely mostly be residential but they would likely update the corner to commercial. He also said the low-rise wood-frame rental buildings need to be replaced because they are 50 to 60 years old, but rental units would be replaced. Towers, he added, would be considered because it’s a more efficient use of the land.

On Wednesday, Cheng said those remarks remain true. But he said no concepts have been developed for the property yet.

“[After the open houses] we will start analysing the site and formulating some general ideas and then we will go back to the public and have a second [set] of open houses and present those investigations to them and seek their input again.,” he said.

The April 19 open house is open to Langara Gardens residents from 12 noon until 2 p.m. and to everyone from 2 until 4 p.m. It will take place at Langara Gardens social lounge at 621 West 57th Ave. The April 21 open house, which is open to everyone, runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at Langara Golf Course Clubhouse at 6706 Alberta St.

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noconnor@vancourier.com

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