Thursday, October 29, 2015

THE LAST HALLOWEEN - Burnaby's only VALUE VILLAGE soon to be just a ghost of the past

Ronald J. Jack

KINGS CROSSING - Edmonds at Kingsway, Burnaby, B.C.
KINGS CROSSING -  7350 Edmonds (cor.  Edmonds and Kingsway)  Burnaby.
Three towers -  stepping up from 26 - 36 storeys high.

I often compose Blog articles while I'm sweating on the treadmill at a local gym. It's a useful trick that keeps me from staring down at the digital display, and counting the minutes.  I work out at the well-equipped CLUB 16 in High Gate Village Mall where, if the weather is cooperative, I can also enjoy the view of Mount Baker looming on the American side of the border.  Pounding the treadmill I can further distract myself by watching the wacky antics of drivers who use a busy parking lot shared by a McDonald's and ME-n-ED's pizzeria. Off to the East I can just make out the shoulders of the VALUE VILLAGE property on Kingsway. (see photo below) The popular thrift store occupies the building left by a chain-grocery which relocated to Metrotown over two decades ago.  Developers have been drooling over the site for years, and now "V.V." has had its lease run out. The doors close on November 21st and there is simply no replacement, because land values in our area rule out construction of a stand-along thrift store with apron parking. Employees with seniority have the option of transferring to other locations.   It's good to hear they didn't all lose their employment.

KINGS CROSSING development site - Burnaby, B.C. - Oct. 2015

None of this is news, as such.  The property was purchased a few years ago and the development proposal went through the usual Public Hearing process.  The developers planned on using every inch of the land, with three high-rise condo towers, an office building, a retail podium and a hefty inventory of parking -  898 residential stalls and 529 commercial parking stalls.  In order to get their tower plans approved by the NDP controlled municipality, the developer paid a stiff  $14.93 million "density bonus" - and the entire amount of that density tax will we passed on to the purchasers of individual unit.  The sky-high costs will, as usual, be entirely blamed on labour, materials and market demand.

G.V.R.D. Parking Tax
Parking is always an issue with me. One of  the reasons I use the CLUB 16 gym in High Gate Village Mall, is because they offer FREE parking, and it is ample. When Kings Crossing is completed I wouldn't count on their parking being FREE, as it is in nearby Metrotown.  The  G.V.R.D. gets away with taxing ALL commercial parking stalls in "Greater Vancouver" - using that money to lubricate the public transit system.  [The G.V.R.D. is our UN-ELECTED 4th level of government.] The reason Metropolis - Station Square - Crystal Mall  continued to have free parking after the tax came in, was that mall owners absorbed the GVRD tax.  Their generosity has been reciprocated, I think, as we all continue to choose Metrotown over most other retail destinations, and the lots are already filling up by mid-morning.  Because the Station Square parking decks were knocked for redevelopment of the site, Metroplis parking on the weekends is now a challenge.  The jury is out on the important question of whether the re-opened Station Square will continue to provide free parking to retail customers.   

Value Village property in Burnaby will redevelop as KINGS CROSSING

I will miss the old Value Village store, as will thousands of competitive browsers. Their book department usually has a better selection than CHAPTER'S offers in Metrotown Mall,  and I have sent many students to V.V. buy very cheap copies of the Classics.  I drop in about once-a-month to look over their DVD selection, as I am a film buff.  I know for a fact that fully  3/4 of my CRITERION Collection DVDs came out of that Edmonds store.  I saved a bundle.  While I hasten to add that the HMV store in Metropolis has a good offering of the CRITERION basics,  their full retail price is a real bruising.

KINGS CROSSING Sales Centre - Edmonds in Burnaby

TOWN CENTRES - a half century of managed growth
For newcomers to Burnaby who wonder why the city does not have a single-unifying "downtown", (although we all agree on Metrotown) and why high-rises are shooting into the sky in all four corners of the city - here is a map from a study published in February 1966.  When the municipality decided on the "Town Centre" approach, they designated three new Town Centres -  Brentwood,  Metrotown  and Lougheed.  At the time less was expected of Edmonds, and it was designated a "District" It was finally upgraded to a Town Centre by vote of City Council in September of 1994.  Edmonds has its own Skytrain Station and forest of condo towers, and there is every indication growth will continue until Metrotown ridge is completely developed.

I am really enthused by the name "Kings Crossing" and I congratulate CRESSSEY for choosing it.  I also like the project logo, but I do find it curious that it is so similar to that of METROPOLIS at Metrotown.

What do you think?

Metropolis at Metrotown - signage

HALLOWEEN SPIRIT at  CLUB 16,  Highgate Village

Halloween Costumes in Burnaby - Oct. 30, 2015

The staff at CLUB 16 fitness center in Highgate Village put a bowl of Halloween candy on the counter this morning.  Naughty! Still, they look great in their costumes and I thought I would share a photo. Trevor Linden you have spirited staff.  

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