Raging real estate prices have hit the Vancouver, Canada market hard in the past year, with prices shooting up an estimated 30%. The ripple effect is being felt across the province as families are being pushed out of neighborhoods they can no longer afford.
The result is an incredible growth surge around the Greater Vancouver area, with density popping up in the form of mixed-use buildings throughout the region. Almost every tower that pops up is designated as “Mixed Use”, underlining a growing consumer demand for access to work, entertainment, and above all – community.
Community is important. Traditionally, people have always lived, worked and played in a common area. Faster cars, better transit infrastructure and separated zoning post WW2 led societies away from mixed use neighborhoods. Seasoned neighborhoods from the early 1900’s contain an eclectic element of work, home and recreation, while those constructed more recently often are designed to fulfill only one of these elements.
Since the 1990’s, people have been more cognizant of the effect of community within their home life, and mixed use buildings have been growing in popularity.
In fact, according to a US News & World Report article from 2014, the top five things to consider when choosing a neighborhood include:
- Commute time
- Access to necessities
- Proximity to education
- Entertainment within reach
- Easy access to loved ones
As our cities grow outwards, however, commutes get longer and the logistics of having a “walkable” lifestyle no longer makes financial sense to many families. When done well, mixed-use developments can offer this attractive lifestyle, as well as do their part in reducing traffic congestion, enhancing a neighborhoods economic growth and setting the tone for an attractive neighborhood character.
Mixed use buildings require significant below grade concrete construction, often in conditions that pose a high risk of water integration, and Kryton has been involved in hundreds of these projects world-wide. Two recent Kryton projects in Vancouver, Canada, have been selected as part of the top three Finalists for the NAIOP Vancouver and Business in Vancouver Commercial Real Estate Awards of Excellence for 2016. One of these exceptional projects – Marine Gateway – took home the award for Best Mixed Use Development.
Telus Garden – TELUS Garden is an exceptional $750-million, 92,903 m² (1,000,000 ft²) project featuring a 53-floor residential tower with 1,393.5 m² (15,000 ft²) of amenities, and a 24-floor signature office tower that serve as TELUS Communications new National Headquarters in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. The building comes equipped with the most advanced entertainment and communications technology and is working towards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation for the signature tower and LEED Gold designation for the residential tower, with 425-green homes, making it not only one of the more stunning buildings in Vancouver, but also one of the most environmentally friendly developments.
Marine Gateway (Winner) – The Marine Gateway project was constructed as a result of the new Canada Line skytrain connecting the city of Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport in nearby Richmond. One of the main stations was located in an industrial area in South Vancouver, which was re-zoned to allow for the construction of this 820,000 square foot mixed use landmark. Two residential towers provide almost 500 homes, and are situated above 14 stories of high-end office space. At ground level, “High Street” offers shopping, restaurants and recreational services to this new community, as well as direct pedestrian access to the Skytrain. The $372 million project is expected to be the new epicenter of the future livable, urban community of South Vancouver.