Mixed-use Burnaby project designed to be a welcoming space that puts pedestrians first.


Claudia Kwan, (THE VANCOUVER SUN) — Day by day, the revamped Station Square development is taking shape in Burnaby.

Two-thirds of the Phase I tower can already be seen emerging from its foundations as construction crews labour away. Its anticipated completion period is summer or fall of next year. Two more condominium towers have now been released for sale, with five on the site by approximately 2020. The Phase II towers measure 48 and 38 storeys, commanding impressive views of the surrounding cityscape.

Greg Zayadi, vice-president of sales and marketing for co-developer Anthem Properties, says it’s been a painstaking design process. Ten specific principles guided the way for Anthem and partner developer Beedie Living, including the creation of a welcoming community feel; social, economic and environmental sustainability; and the aim of putting pedestrians first on the mixed-use site — while acknowledging there will be vehicle traffic from Kingsway.

“It’s a massive project — the number of man hours involved, the effort, every little thing has been thought through,” he says. “But working with the tenants and all of the people has been incredibly exciting.”

The former Save-On Foods store at Station Square will be replaced by a PriceSmart Foods location, with a smaller foot print (they have the same parent company). The old movie theatres — a major draw in the 90s — are gone forever, but Future Shop will be back at the site. Other large retailers have already confirmed their presence, and TD Canada Trust will retain a branch at Station Square. Java lovers will be happy to hear Caffe Artigiano has already confirmed its presence in the development. The commercial tenants are expected to be fully in place and up and running by spring 2015.

There is also a community amenity — a public plaza — that will create an ideal location for people to meet up with each other.

“It’s a bit of a hub because there’s such easy connection to the area directly from the SkyTrain,” explains Rob Blackwell, senior vice-president of development for Anthem. “People can zip right down Central Boulevard; we’re going to see such a resurgence of life and activity in this area.”

A ‘restaurant row’ will take pride of place down the centre of Station Square, with negotiations already underway with a number of high-profile restaurants. It will be named Silver Street, after the family that owned a farm on the site in the 1900s.

Like Granville Island, there will not be significantly visible transitions between pedestrian and vehicle space; walking areas will be subtly demarcated by short vertical posts known as bollards, or by low curbs. However, pedestrians are the priority.

“We know there will be people travelling by car to the site,” says Houtan Rafii, vice-president of residential development for Beedie Living. “What we’ve done is created underground parking in one site so that it’s tucked away. It can also be used for night market-style events, or for food-cart gatherings.”

There will also be some elevated patios on the site à la Yaletown, creating modest separation from both pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Generally speaking, cars will access Station Square from side roads, hopefully creating better traffic flow.

There is no question that this is a significant boost in housing density — just over 1,800 homes will be built in the project in total. Attempts have been made to avoid a concrete jungle effect — a number of green roofs and green spaces have been incorporated on the street level. They include courtyards and gardening plots, all intended to soften the space, and to give people living on upper floors something green and visually interesting to gaze upon.

Both Anthem and Beedie say there was very little opposition to the sharp increase in density.

“That’s the beauty of how the City of Burnaby has implemented its urban planning,” explains Zayadi. “Density is concentrated in certain areas, preserving single-family neighbourhoods for those who want to live in them.”

Although smaller homes exist, a city directive also guided the partners toward making many of the one-bedroom homes in the 600-square-foot-plus range — so that they would be more livable.

There are two show suites at the sales centre. The first, a two-bedroom home measuring 915 square feet, cleverly uses every inch of space.

In the kitchen, a pantry area is tucked off to one side of the refrigerator, which is concealed behind white millwork. There is more cabinetry above and surrounding the oven. The sizable island has a modern large-scale rectangular sink, and a breakfast bar ledge picked out in cloudy grey marble, contrasting against the off-white composite stone countertop on the rest of the island. Underneath the breakfast bar, touch-activated panels swing out to reveal more storage.

Denizens will be able to admire the views of Metrotown through floor-to-ceiling windows, with the urban surroundings visible from the kitchen and the living areas. Both bedrooms are spacious, with the master suite including a walk-in closet and an attached bathroom.

The one bedroom show suite has been decorated with an alternate colour scheme, including chocolate-toned cabinets and grey countertops. The bathroom has been designed to serve both as an ensuite to the bedroom, and to be available for guests from a hallway, containing a washer and dryer for the apartment. The balcony can be accessed from the living area, as well as the bedroom.

With restaurants, retail, and pretty much every other amenity imaginable within easy walking distance, it’s conceivable some people will spend all of their free time within a few blocks of Station Square, meeting the goal of community building in spades.


Project size: 1,802 condominiums in five towers. Phase II: 767 homes in two towers, 48 and 38 storeys

Residence size: 513 — 1,505 sq. ft.

Prices: From $249,900

Sales Centre: 115 — 4600 Kingsway at McKay Ave., Burnaby

Hours: noon — 6 p.m., daily

Telephone: 604-438-1113

Developers: Anthem Properties and Beedie Living

Architect: Chris Dikeakos Architects

Interior Design: Bob’s Your Uncle Design

Web: stationsquare.ca

Sales begin: June 2014

Occupancy: Fall 2018

“We’re going to see such a resurgence of life and activity in this area.”