BCBusiness in partnership with BCEDA and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association
The changing face of Surrey City Centre
The circuit of growth and change in the northwest corner of Surrey immediately conjures up images of principal landmarks and influential regional amenities such as city hall, Surrey Memorial Hospital, City Centre Library, Holland Park, Central City Shopping Centre and Simon Fraser University.
There is no shortage to the number of ongoing upgrades to the livability of the area and additions such as a brand-new Y to take the spot of the soon-to-be-decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre will continue to shape the community.
The type of urban structures created in downtown Surrey over the next five to 10 years to accommodate high-density housing and a walkable and transit-oriented downtown will continue to apply positive influences in quality of life for residents, environmental sustainability and economic well-being.
Blackwood Partners, for example, is currently developing Tower 2, a new triple-A office building standing at the intersection of Old Yale Road and King George Boulevard. This 25-storey tower will feature state-of-the-art amenities and will house hundreds of jobs, dozens of businesses and several retail locations, all coming together to further develop the City Centre’s economic influence.
With the influx of mixed-use clusters that house office, retail, cultural and other employment uses, City Centre is establishing itself as an economic force and a regional job centre that will unlock new opportunities for local residents and businesses critical to Surrey’s downtown trajectory.
“We like the fundamentals of City Centre, the good job base, city hall, Canada Revenue Agency, Coast Capital Savings headquarters, Surrey Memorial Hospital and all the buildings around those landmarks,” said Rob Blackwell, senior vice-president of development for Anthem Properties.
“Generally speaking, it’s a very well-planned community and it's just far enough away from Vancouver that it makes sense as a true regional centre,” he adds.
ANTHEM PROPERTIES TRANSFORMS CITY CENTRE
Upcoming major residential mixed-use developments will soon add to the identifiable landmarks on the City Centre landscape with a distinct presence from Anthem Properties, which will help transform the esthetics of the downtown space for residents and businesses.
“There is not a lot of residential real estate yet in the downtown area but, it’s coming,” said Blackwell. “We’re going to bring new homes integrated with socially inspired amenities and shops geared to that area. That’s what you’re going to see at our first phase of Georgetown, a 10-acre, 1.8 million-square-foot master-planned urban mixed-use community."
Blackwell says further: “Our second property, which is adjacent to Georgetown, will bring another 800,000 square feet of development to Surrey City Centre, for a total of 2.7 million square feet, which represents about 2,800 homes, plus some office and a fair amount of retail space.”
Among other population segments, developments like Georgetown speak especially favourably to millennials who may be starting families but still want the vibrant feeling of an urban environment and prefer to live where they can be close to shops, restaurants, offices and parks, and where social interaction is just outside their doors.
“City Centre has a good base for a healthy, holistic environment and green space for families, and has plenty of urban plazas and parks,” said Blackwell.
“In fact, part of Georgetown is actually in the middle of City Centre. The heart and soul of the whole project is a highly walkable urban plaza park — with water features, public art, and trees surrounded by a cluster of restaurants and cafes. And it’s all within a block of SkyTrain.”