Architect Builds in Community Plan

The Vancouver Times

A touch of Kerrisdale is being transported to False Creek as Concord Pacific Developments launches its latest condominium project highlighted by a self-contained community concept.

Vancouver architect James Cheng is creating an urban design for Concord's Aquarius project, aimed at alleviating the current lack of shopping and other amenities in the area, particularly in nearby Yaletown.

The three-phase development - scheduled for completion by mid-1999 - will include facilities to house a 25,000 square-feet supermarket, two major banks, four restaurants, waterfront cafes, medical and dental offices and specialty retail stores.

"We're making the whole area more convenient and self-sufficient, like Kerrisdale by the sea," said Concord senior vice-president Henry Man.

Combined with a 47,000 square-feet community center that Vancouver Park Board is opening this summer in the Roundhouse on the False Creek site, Concord is delivering on its promise to create its own distinct waterfront neighborhood, he added.

"The area will be more vibrant. We expect to draw people down from Yaletown for lunch, a walk on the seawall and to do their banking."

Man said Wednesday he is negotiating with businesses - he declined to provide names - for them to establish outlets on the Aquarius site, located on Pacific Boulevard from Davie to the Cambie Bridge.

Cheng noted many people now living at Concord Pacific Place complain they currently must travel long distances just to buy groceries.

"From an urban design point of view, Davie Street has been one of the lifelines of the West End, but at the moment, most (amenities) stop at Granville," he said in an interview. "As the city grows and expands, Davie will naturally grow towards the water, and we'll see it linking with Granville Island because of the water taxis.

"That will animate the waterfront. On Pacific Boulevard, we'll continue the retail amenities that have already been started.

"They will start linking the waterfront and Yaletown, and eventually the West End."

Cheng, whose earlier design credits include the Residences On Georgia, the Palisades twin towers, 888 Beach, Fairchild Court in Oakridge and renovation of the old library on Burrard, said for an urban plan to succeed, it must contribute to enjoyment of the public.

A central architectural feature of the project will be an elevated, landscaped inner courtyard with a lagoon.

There will also be tree-lined walkways for strolling, as well as public access to the False Creek seawall.

"We're not interested in just building another condo tower because that's becoming meaningless in the city,: Cheng said. "We need to add street life, to allow people to become part of the neighborhood they're in."

"For example: Granville Market, if you take it away, people would have lost something."

The Aquarius project will include two condo towers of 33 and 29 storeys, containing a total of about 360 units. A third building, 12 storeys high, will offer 23 villa suites. There will also be 15 courtyard townhomes.

Man has yet to finalize prices, but indicated the units will sell at an average of about $300 per square foot. A one-bedroom, 520 square-feet unit, including a small office, will start at $138,000.