Rize Alliance in Mount Pleasant-Smart Growth

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Mount Pleasant recently engaged in a three-year community wide exercise to develop a new Community Plan. This process involved over 2,300 participants from 2007 to 2010, and resulted in a document that will help define the future of the neighbourhood – from social planning and parks, to development of homes and businesses. It also, as unanimously accepted policy by City of Vancouver Council, forms the basis for our rezoning proposal at Kingsway and Broadway, and it restricts high-rises in Mount Pleasant on all but three specific sites-ours being one of the three selected

Although nowhere close to starting residential sales, we hear constantly that people want to live here. Mount Pleasant is “in demand”, with many Vancouverites wanting to enjoy its unique personality, characteristics and amenities, including quick access to transit, the Broadway commercial district (being the second largest concentration of office space in Metro Vancouver) and downtown.

Developer Herbert Lee anticipated huge and positive change for Mount Pleasant when he started construction on the Lee Building at Broadway and Main 100 years ago; banking that Mount Pleasant’s “Uptown” would become an upscale and fashionable district. His vision, and that of many others who have built homes, apartments and businesses in Mount Pleasant, combined with those wanting to live and work here, has been a constant force of evolution and change and brings us to the unique community we know today.

With the future likelihood of a fixed rail (LRT, subway or other) line along Broadway, already the busiest transit corridor in the Americas, there is no better location within Metro Vancouver for appropriate density than the intersection of Kingsway and Broadway. People want to live in Mount Pleasant, and live sustainably in a neighbourhood that is walkable, with easy access to transit and city amenities. Placing appropriate density here is “Smart Growth”.

Our work at Rize, as developers and homebuilders, along with our Mount Pleasant based architect, Acton Ostry, is guided by city bylaws, good planning, architectural practice and, the Mount Pleasant Community Plan. The plan recognizes only three large sites in Mount Pleasant as high density and as potential high-rise sites, with the provision of appropriate community contributions, and thus limits the remainder of Mount Pleasant to its predominately single family or low-rise multi-family forms. High-rises at Kingsway and Broadway and Main and 13th are possible under the plan but will not be permitted elsewhere; acknowledging and preserving a unique Vancouver low-density condition.

Since embarking on the rezoning process in 2008, we have viewed our proposal for redevelopment of the corner bounded by Broadway, Kingsway, 10th and Watson as something which will benefit an evolving neighbourhood. We are very proud of the community outreach work we have done. We have been fully transparent, both with our online communities and on the ground in person at Rize Mount Pleasant, visited by over 2,300 of our neighbours, where we showcased all project information, plans, stats, renderings and governing documents, including the community plan.

So, for Council and the community to consider; we now have the opportunity for the community to gain 241 homes, a variety of small to medium sized retail, a 24,000sf green roof area with back yards and urban agriculture for the residents, a car share program, electric vehicle charging stations, $538K in public art, $3.4M in develop cost levies, and $6.25M in Community Amenities Contribution (CAC).

The City made the decision this January to delete the originally proposed artist space and rental homes in favour of a $6.25M cash amount. We are hearing, and we hope Council will continue to hear, how and where our neighbours in Mount Pleasant would like these monies to be spent. Some considerations we have heard include; park space, outdoor pools, daycare, affordable housing, artist studio space and others.

For more information on our current rezoning proposal, please visit our Community Information Centre at the old Cantu space (196 Kingsway at East 10th, Tues-Sat, 11-5) or contact us at Kingsway@rizealliance.com, blog.rize.ca, rize.ca, @cvollanRize @RizeAlliance. We are happy to continue the discussion with you.

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