New Westminster sees rising ventures
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Recently, Bosa Developments applied for a special development permit for two of their proposed buildings on the 660 Quayside Dr. lot, one at 43 stories and the other at 53 stories, just four metres shy of the Seattle Space Needle. Bosa plans to fill out the waterfront skyline while connecting the River Market to the Westminster Pier Park.
The proposed developments include expanded greenspace for Pier Park, a Begbie Street plaza, a commercial space and child-care facility in a two-story building, five townhouses, and underground and surface-level parking.
Larco Investments, the previous owner of the zoned area, sold the property to Bosa over the summer. Over the past 20 years, Larco has been in talks with city developers to find the best way to introduce housing projects with five towers, but evidently came up short. Agreements shifted back and forth between company and city, and Larco wasn’t able to make ground on further plans. With the development of Pier Park and the teardown of the majority of the Front Street parkade, the Larco parking lot has remained a desolate slab of concrete year after year.
“The Larco parking lot has started to fall into disrepair,” Mayor Jonathan Cote told the New Westminster Record this past June.
“I actually think it’s going to be an exciting project that is going to be an important piece of the puzzle for our waterfront vision, but also for downtown revitalization. The long-term vision to have some residential development and expand Westminster Pier Park on that site is a city objective. Larco, traditionally, will be landholders and hold properties for long periods of time, and they have done that with this site. Bosa more consistently, when they buy a site they generally do have intentions to move forward with the project.”
Bosa will wait for further developments as council takes staff reports into consideration for the approval of development permits. Until then, Councillor Patrick Johnston has expressed concerns of the proposed skyscraper developments in regards to the River Market. Should construction occur, he demands access via Begbie Street, understandably due to the repercussions of the parkade teardown on Front Street merchants.
“I know this site has always been seen for its opportunity on our waterfront and has always been viewed as the missing link,” said Cote to the New Westminster Record.
“There is no doubt when the community first starts to see this application, the first thing that is going to catch their eye is the height of the buildings. These will by far be the tallest buildings in the City of New Westminster.”