With 150,000 people coming and going each day on trains and buses, the intersection of East Broadway and Commercial Drive is Vancouver’s busiest public transportation hub.
According to the latest trend in city planning, this vibrant hub should be exploding with “transit-oriented development” – tall buildings filled with shops, offices and apartments. The theory is that if you put dense development near transit, especially rail stations, you’ll have people living, working, shopping and travelling at maximum efficiency.
“Building mixed-used developments next to transit is the one area of development where we have common ground between the city, developers and the community,” says John Conicella, vice-president of development strategy at Wesgroup Properties. “But the challenge the three groups have is that change is always the most difficult thing.”
Wesgroup just built a four-storey health clinic at the Broadway and Commercial intersection. While it’s the tallest building there, it’s far shorter than what Mr. Conicella wanted to build. However, he said a denser development would have required a rezoning and another four to five years of waiting for approval – even though all sides thought density was a good idea.
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