Coquitlam council gives 563-unit Alderson Gate development final approval

·3 min read

A 29- and a 25-storey tower are set to rise at Lougheed Highway and Alderson Avenue following council’s recent decision to grant final approval to the Alderson Gate project.

In addition to the two highrise towers, the project includes a six-storey apartment building and a four-storey stacked townhouse building.

Located between Lougheed Highway and Highway 1, the development situated over four lots including a used car lot at the corner of Lougheed and Alderson Road.

The project passed unanimously at the Sept. 6 council meeting.

Since the proposed development first appeared before council in 2019, it has seen some changes. Initially, Ledingham McAllister proposed two towers and two low-rises for a total of 573 units and no commercial space—contrary to the area’s official community plan.

The developer had numerous letters from industry experts voicing their concern about the feasibility of commercial or retail units on the ground floor of the property. One suggested the units would remain vacant, and if someone was “foolish enough to lease the space,” they wouldn’t have the “chance to succeed” in that location. Another suggested that having retail in that location was “questionable at best,” since it wasn’t a proven shopping destination like North Road or Austin Heights.

Rather than pursue commercial space, the developer incorporated a purpose-built childcare facility into the design. Between first and last reading for the development permit, it grew in size to 3,000 square feet from 2,000 square feet.

A restrictive covenant will be placed on the property that only allows the space to be used for childcare, or for another “acceptable community benefit.”

The design

The development is slated to be built in three phases. During the first phase, a 29-storey tower and a four-storey stacked townhouse building will be constructed. Phase two will see the construction of the 25-storey tower as well as the childcare space. The final phase will be the construction of the six-storey apartment building. No timeline for construction has been published.

The overall number of units has decreased to 563—408 market condos and 155 rental units.

The developer made adjustments to the number of one-bedroom units, decreasing their volume in favour of one-bedroom-plus-den units as well as two and three-bedroom units.

Two outdoor areas will be publicly-accessible. They include:

● A plaza with seating and a public art installation

● A water feature

Getting around

During its public hearing back in 2020, residents expressed concerns about traffic patterns along Alderson Avenue. They said the corridor was already busy and with the added density, would get even more congested.

At the time, Coun. Bonita Zarrillo (who left municipal politics in 2021 to become the MP for Port Moody-Coquitlam) said it was important for council to listen to residents’ concerns. “There’s an issue right now with the traffic that way,” she said.

The parking and traffic issues in the area have potential to become “a toxic mess,” added Coun. Chris Wilson, encouraging staff to monitor the situation closely.

The development also proposes getting rid of the eastbound access to Alderson Avenue from Lougheed Highway, funnelling drivers to a new road instead.

That new road, Vanderveen Street, will be placed west of the property, running north to south from Lougheed Highway to Alderson Avenue. It essentially replaces the north-south section of Grayson Avenue, which is incorporated into the new lot.

Cash for city hall

The development is expected to generate more than $15-million for the city. The breakdown is:

● $7,974,304 in estimated development cost charges

● $6,763,950 in estimated density bonusing

● $735.636 in payment for transportation demand management

● $885,311 in voluntary community amenity contributions

The final totals for the development cost charges and density bonusing are set to be finalized when the building permit is issued.

Marissa Tiel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tri-Cities Dispatch