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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Surrey’s Passages designed by UK-based Alison Brooks Architects

An ambitious upcoming development by Rize in Surrey Central will soon head to a public hearing.

The development at 10138 Whalley Boulevard and 101 Avenue will include:

  • three residential towers (23-storey, 32-storey and 39-storey)
  • two 13-storey market rental residential towers
  • one six-storey apartment building
  • ground-level retail, including a café and 4,252 sq ft. daycare facility.

There will be a total of 954 market residential units and 172 market rental residential units.

It will be built in three phases:

  • Phase one complete May 2023;
  • Phase two complete June 2024;
  • Phase three complete August 2024.

The architects are London-based Alison Brooks Architects. The firm is credited as being the only UK-based architect to have won all three of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards. Landscape architecture is by PWL Partnership.

Renderings: Passages – Rize, Surrey Central

Proposed Passages Scheme inserted in the existing Urban context.
Proposed Passages Scheme inserted in the existing urban context. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
Proposed development shown in current urban context
Proposed development shown in current urban context. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
Phases of development
Phases of development. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
Facade rendering Rize Surrey
Façade rendering, looking towards downtown Vancouver. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
101 Ave./137A St. corner looking west
101 Ave./137A St. corner looking west. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
View of Central Piazza
View of Central Piazza. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize

The façades of the buildings are “contrasting but complementary” and arranged in an alternating fashion. The design rationale states: “We have sought to refer to natural forms such as stone for the low rise buildings, made up from the ground like monolithic carvings. As for the towers, these refer to dense vertical forests.”

The site is currently occupied by two four-storey rental apartment buildings with 154 rental units, known as Fraserview Courts. Rize has proposed a relocation strategy for existing tenants on the site.

Existing rental units on the site will be replaced at a rate higher than the 1:1 replacement ratio (172 new rental units to replace the 154 existing units), however, the new rental units will be rented at market rates rather than affordable rental rates (defined as 10 per cent below CMHC average rents).

Replacement at below-market rents “an undue burden”

Rize stated in City of Surrey documents that the city’s requirement for 1:1 requirement at below-market rents “represents an undue burden on this development in the absence of significant government subsidy or density increase over what is currently proposed.”

Rize stated they analyzed the impact the rental rates would have on the proposal and concluded the rental buildings are not feasible at 10 per cent below CMHC rates, and in order to meet the target, the project would need to be built and operated at a loss.

City staff requested that Rize determine what density would be required in order to provide all or a percentage of the proposed market rental units at the 10 per cent below CMHC rental rates. Rize opted to proceed as proposed and not consider additional density and height options beyond the current proposal.

A proposed housing agreement with the city will restrict the dwelling units to rental for a period of 20 years.

Central open space
With clusters of trees and activities around its perimeter, this central open space encourages the public and residents to interact and socialize. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize
View from the Central Piazza looking right through the Sports Hall and to 101 Avenue beyond
View from the Central Piazza looking right through the Sports Hall and to 101 Avenue beyond. Credit: Alison Brooks Architects/Rize

Project supports vision for Surrey’s downtown

The City of Surrey states: “Although the proposed density on the subject site is higher than that prescribed in the OCP and City Centre Plan, the proposed mix of uses, including residential market housing, market rental housing, a purpose-built daycare and ground floor commercial space will support and complement the Central Downtown District of the City Centre.”

The development is within walking distance (500 metres) from both the King George and
Surrey Central SkyTrain stations.

An outdoor amenity space is located throughout the development and focusses on “the passages” theme, with publicly accessibly open spaces comprised of four landscaped amenity piazzas animated with community agricultural gardens, an urban square with seating and gathering spaces.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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