Saturday, September 17, 2016

Competing for Status in "The Centre" of Metrotown

Your Blogger at the preview of  "THE CENTRE", the last tower
of the STATION SQUARE development. A sales person made
a point of emphasizing the giant version of the Station Square logo,  
the architects have incorporated into the design of their tower.
 (See on photo above.)  This is something to ponder.

Ronald J. Jack
Burnaby, B.C.

6080 McKay Avenue, Burnaby Metrotown - the building logo

Those are the talking points in the Early Preview Package.

I had the opportunity yesterday, to preview Phase Three of the STATION SQUARE development in Metrotown. The civic address for the tower will be 6080  McKay Avenue, Burnaby, B.C.
I skip most such events because they are now too frequent, but I was curious about this phase of the prodigious Station Square project, so I dropped in.  First the colour images (which I confess I simply scraped from the Email distribution kit) and later tonight I will add the words.  Not a review as such, but my thoughts on the project so far. I want to include what we might expect in what the promoters term "The Centre" of Metrotown. 

I hasten to add that yesterday was only a 'sneak-preview'.  No price sheets were given out, but I was thinking of 1-Bdm at mid-level, and told prices are in the $850 - 950 per square foot bracket, and  possibly going up. The Sales Team are watching up-to-the-minute values, as regional and Burnaby-specific sales data accumulates. As a possible investor-buyer I was given current Metrotown rental figures and some idea of what these units might yield a few years out. The Presentation Centre on McKay Avenue is now closed, as workers are installing show suites for the Big Splash,  and the glitzy promo packages are still with the printer.

An artists' rendering of the Station Square group of towers, when completed.
A spectacular addition to Burnaby's newly designated "Downtown". Yet, there are so 
many more towers coming, including a total redevelopment of the squat 1950s-era
SEARS property to the east of Metropolis, that this impression will not last long.

" A slim, central spine establishes an elegant connection between the ground level, podium, and tower.

Alternating pattern of four-storey white and grey stacks playfully ascends the tower's facade.

An iconic red square prominently tops the building."  

6080 Station Square, Burnaby Metrotown - Birds' Eye View of adjacent towers

This is an interesting rendering of 6080 McKay Avenue as it will look to birds and micro-drones when construction is completed.   No. 7  is the Chinese shopping centre - CRYSTAL MALL, a  project that was badly handled by some very greedy developers in the 1990s. The residential component did well, but the Retail Mall was half-empty for several years. Now it has matured into a wonderful, bustling marketplace where a simple purchase can be infused with a host of sensory and emotional boosts.


I really disliked the name "The Crystal", when the project was promoted in 1997, but it has grown on us.  When the west-side of Metrotown Mall was enlarged and dubbed "METROPOLIS"  I was enthused, and I recall contributing a long letter to one of the Burnaby newspapers in which I predicted that the name would take hold.  Well I was wrong. In the run-of-a-year I very seldom hear anyone refer to "Metropolis".  Locals use "Metrotown" and "Station Square" almost exclusively when referring to destination,  and I think the developers of the STATION SQUARE redevelopment project know that.  Hence the decision to add the big red logo to the Phase Three tower. I have also written that "THE SOVEREIGN" was a great name for the landmark tower on Kingsway at Willingdon,  Many of the names bestowed on prestige buildings in Greater Vancouver are boring or simply dumb, but we don't live in them, so we don't feel the need to slight them. As some persist in promoting Vancouver as a "Gateway" to Asia, you would think one culture-conscious property developer with a sense of history might name a cluster of towers for those great explorers who forged a trading link across the Pacific, linking Asia, the Americas and Europe.  What is this aversion to history and hero figures?

This clipping is from an old real estate file I kept.  "The Crystal Plan Questioned", was a report in the BURNABY NOW, November 5, 1997. Through the early 1990s the NDP controlled council, and it must be said, Burnaby City Planners, were determined to prevent Asian commercial development sited in Metrotown. I know firsthand because I met with them to discuss a 24-7  Sports/Entertainment complex to be built above SUPERSTORE. (This was before Silver City went in.) When They learned I was fronting for a Taiwanese developer, I was shown the door, and they were blunt about what they "wanted for Metrotown". Experienced Asian developers often wanted to replicate the kinds of projects that had made them wealthy back home. But the Canadian political imperative was - "You supply the money. We'll supply the vision."  What the politicos didn't understand in the 90's, but certainly understand today, is that modern Asians detest the limitations of segregated shopping precincts, especially touristy Chinatowns.  "The Crystal" was a necessary first step to crushing the old Burnaby mind-set, and the future of Metrotown will be amazing.

Crystal Mall (when still new) Burnaby Metrotown
Visually interesting from afar, but spectacularly cramped
and off-putting as a shopping experience, the mall had a 
very rough start.  It seems to be doing well in 2016, but 
don't try parking there. Walk over from SUPERSTORE Parking.

Dramatic view of downtown Vancouver from downtown Burnaby, September 2016


This is a dramatic sunset view of downtown Vancouver as seen from "The Centre" of Metrotown.  As we all know, the development of Burnaby has been promoted around four Town Centres but last year city government decided to officially designate Metrotown as our "Downtown".  This is a bit awkward as Metrotown is actually built along a high ridge, which ensures that views from the residential towers are particularly spectacular. Some may prefer staring down at the Vancouver skyline, but others will prefer the view over the Skytrain line -  Mount Baker,  the trace of saltwater separating us from Vancouver Island,  and the now emerging Surrey, B.C. skyline.

This will soon be the pretty perch of some young urban professional, or perhaps a pair of students attending Simon Fraser University.  In reality, those who do not tremble when they discuss the rent. The purchase price, plus monthly Strata fees will bite into the buyer's belly fat, so one will have to have great confidence that local property values will continue to soar.

Floor Plan, STATION SQUARE - 6080 McKay Avenue in Metrotown
Most of the photographs herein, are taken
from the Anthem Properties,  Beedie Living
promotional package, distributed by email.

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