One of the five large neighbor-sized development sites within Vancouver’s Cambie Corridor Plan has changed hands.
TransLink’s former Oakridge Transit Center bus depot is now under the controlling ownership of Grosvenor, a UK-based international developer owned by the Duke of Westminster. The project has now been renamed Grosvenor Oakridge.
This is a new acquisition of the 14-acre site near the northeast corner of the intersection of West 41st Avenue and Oak Street, which is currently vacant.
Grosvenor bought the controlling stake of the property and the previously approved development design plans from Modern Green Canada, which originally acquired the property from TransLink in 2016 in a deal worth $440 million. At the time, it was stated that the deal with the public transit authority is structured, with TransLink expected to receive the full payment by 2022.
Grosvenor will lead all aspects of the development and owns the property with capital partners Modern Green, as well as Transca, Grosvenor’s partner on other projects. Modern Green is now a minority partner in the project.
Grosvenor did not provide the value of its deal with Modern Green. But the developer states it financed its acquisition with HSBC, which leads a syndication of five banks (BMO, CIBC, RBC, and Desjardins) providing the land loan financing.
Modern Green received approval from Vancouver City Council on the project’s high-level policy statement in 2015, and a rezoning application that expanded the density of the redevelopment for more homes was later approved by city council in 2020. The redevelopment is designed by local architect James Cheng.
Grosvenor’s acquired development plans entail 1.5 million sq ft of total floor area with 1,630 homes, including 330 social housing units, 180 market rental homes, and 1,120 condominium homes. These homes will be achieved in 17 buildings ranging from four to 26 storeys. A LEED Gold green building certification is targeted.
There will also be 24,000 sq ft of local-serving retail and restaurant space, a 69-space childcare facility, and a two-acre central public park.
Under the approved rezoning, the total value of public benefits is $114.3 million, with $65.9 million from the value of social housing, $8 million from the parkside childcare facility, $5 million for the new public park, $1.8 million from the financial contribution for transportation upgrades , $31.2 million for development cost levies, and $2.4 million from the public art contribution.
“This is a unique opportunity to acquire and develop a rarely available development site, one of the most significant in Vancouver,” said Michael Ward, senior vice president and general manager of Grosvenor’s Vancouver office, in a statement.
“The acquisition allows Grosvenor to utilize our expertise in building exceptional communities and bring a significant amount of new housing, both market and non-market, new retail, community amenities, and public realm benefits to the Oakridge neighborhood. We look forward to building an integrated, sustainable, and high-quality community at this prime Vancouver location.”
The developer is now moving forward with the development permit applications of various phases, with construction on the first phase set to begin in 2025. The entire redevelopment is expected to take 10 years to complete.
The Oakridge bus depot was TransLink’s main bus depot serving Vancouver and the main home base of its trolley bus fleet, up until 2006 when it opened the new replacement Vancouver Transit Center facility at the north end of the Arthur Laing Bridge.
The four other neighbor-sized development sites within Vancouver’s Cambie Corridor Plan are Oakridge Park (Oakridge Center mall), Langara Gardens, Pearson Dogwood, and the Heather Lands, which is just northeast of Grosvenor Oakridge, and received its rezoning application approval this past May .
This is Grosvenor’s second neighborhood-sized development project in Metro Vancouver, following its 2020 acquisition of an eight-acre site in Brentwood in Burnaby. The developer recently revealed its proposal for Grosvenor Brentwood — 3,400 homes in six towers up to 65 storeys.