VIA Business in Vancouver:
When community members met to discuss the future of the East Fraser Lands in the southeast corner of Vancouver in 2005, urban density was very much on their minds.
The spirit of Vancouverism with its emphasis on a livable urban setting was very much alive, and the site offered a blank canvas for a community that will eventually be home to more than 10,000 people.
“There was a conversation about density and the amenities that the community wanted,” said Beau Jarvis, senior vice-president with Wesgroup Properties LP, which is co-ordinating development on the 126-acre site.
“It was a planning exercise that resulted in a lower amount of townhome product and a larger amount of condominium and multi-family product.”
Demand for family-oriented units at a price below that of the typical detached home means more than 20% of units at River District – as the project is known – are either townhouses or apartments of three or more bedrooms.
Some are within a parcel Polygon Homes acquired from Wesgroup for townhome development, but the majority are within the towers planned for the area.
It’s a different story in Marpole, Jarvis said, where established single-family neighbourhoods required a gentler approach to densification.
“That’s probably where, predominantly, the most new townhome product exists in the city of Vancouver today,” he said.
“You can see there’s demand for it; you can see that developers are willing to build it. There just needs to be more land available for that type of product.”