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I recently had the opportunity to interview Graeme Silvera, VP, Retail Development, Western Region for Ivanhoé Cambridge. Ivanhoe Cambridge is one of the ten largest real estate companies in the world and they are working to redevelop the shopping centre.

The Oakridge Town Centre is a regional shopping mall originally built in 1959 when Woodwards opened. In 1984 the “Gallery” was developed and the office component was added. It has remained in this form for the last 30 years.

 

Today the Oakridge Mall is comprised mainly of high end retail and is seeing competition from other regional shopping centres. With the new transit skytrain line stopping in front of the mall, the parking lots around the mall and in the parkade are only only used by 50% of the visitors.

After one year of public consultation, a public hearing is scheduled for Spring 2014 where plans for the mall could be approved for by city council for redevelopment.

The project is huge to say the least. It is as if Ivanhoe Cambridge is building a small city with millions of square feet of retail, office and residential space.

Presently the mall contains 500,000 square feet of retail space. The new development will contain 12M square feet.

The office component will increase from the 500,000 square feet that exists today to 1.2M square feet when the project is completed.

The residential housing will increase from the 50,000 square feet existing to 2.7M square feet in the future. 25% of this housing will be sustainable. Westbank will be responsible for this component of the development.

I imagine that the views from these residential towers will be spectacular. When interviewing Graeme from the 7th floor of the office tower, I got a taste for the views. Because the towers will be built on the podium above the retail and parkade, most of the homes here will have an amazing view, even from as low as the third floor.

Parking for the residential portion of the development will be approximately 0.9 stalls / unit and retail parking will be approximately 3.5 stalls / 1,000 square feet of space.

Because of the scale of this development, we can expect some substantial amenities. Graeme says that the future development could contain a massive water feature, kids playground, an outdoor yoga area, running loop, dog park, tai chi / wedding area, community garden and the possibility for a basketball court.

The big contribution is the 70,000 square foot Civic Centre including a new 25,000 square foot library, integrated Senior's Centre, Gym Mulipurpose Space and a 9,000 square foot Daycare facility.  The Willow Bike will also run through the site.

The entire development will be built to very high standards. It will follow the LEED guidelines and Graeme says the the project will be at the Platinum level. This is the highest standard under the guidelines which strive for creating a standard for building energy and water efficient buildings, healthy, environmentally-friendly cost saving buildings, homes and communities. The new development will incorporate geo exchange heating and cooling (heating and cooling will come from the ground) and will use waste heat (heating from raw sewage) also. An ENVAC zero waste system will also be incorporated into the development to handle solid waste (garbage).

If you want to show your support for this important Community Building project go to www.oakridge2025.ca

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