From a Chilliwack BC real estate perspective I was curious what a density mix of commercial/residential might look like considering Chilliwack's Downtown Land Use and Development Plans seems to be heading in this direction. Plans and artist renderings are never as good as seeing the real thing.
Also I wondered how the 54 acres comprising Chilliwack's Eagle Landing power centre (where the Walmart is being built) currently underway just off the Evans Road in Chilliwack, BC and discussed in a previous posting stacked up against Morgan Crossing.
I met Bill Roberts, Vice President Shopping Centres, Maple Leaf Property Management, a number of years ago when the award winning Village at Park Royal was just opening as Canada's first lifestyle centre on land owned by the Squamish Indian band. In that design a pedestrian friendly "Main Street" promenade is lined with retail shops like a village near the seashore.. Since that introduction I have viewed Bill Roberts and Andrew Feola of F+A Architects as pretty much representing the leading creative edge in BC for commercial life centre development. People, our councils should be talking to, with actual "on the ground" experience.
As I drive past endless ugly strip malls I ask myself isn't there a better way to develop?
That sets the stage, I arrived a few minutes early and so started snapping off a few pictures of the project from a distance. Three differences just jump out the main one being the attractive residences above the shops, an entry that takes you off a main artery and into a much quieter almost town centre environment and a successful open parking solution to what must have been a taunting problem Hydro Transmission Lines.
These 28 acres were slated to be cut up in a piece meal manner and we know what sort of jumbled up mess that type of development leads to - consider Vedder Road or the Fraser Highway.
|The Jumble of Vedder Road, Chilliwack BC|
|Morgan Crossing Layout|
|Water Feature a Steve Nash Sports Club|
Thrifty foods in the forest green area with Winners in blue nearby. To the far end of the street is Best Buy in lime green. Placing anchors at opposing ends of the development encourages foot traffic throughout. The buildings in the middle row are wrapped with continuous retail on all sides to enhance the shopping experience. By time the official grand opening takes place fashion retailers Roots, The Gap and Banana Republic will have opened their spots.
Morgan Creek like the Village at Park Royal draws inspiration from the Steveston Fishing Village south of Vancouver and is reflected in a number of design elements like the metal exterior siding, water features and outlooks. Everywhere young trees are planted and the sidewalks are wide for causal shopping and strolling.
|Thrifty Foods Sidewalk Display|
|Places to Meet or Rest|
|Building Textures add interest|
The big difference between Morgan Crossing and other developments is the addition of residences above the retail shopping areas. With a lot of discussion surrounding the density of our older downtown cores it was reassuring to see how attractive the results could be. All parking for the residences, 1 1/2 stalls per unit, is underground.
How does Morgan Crossing stack up against Chilliwack's Eagle Landing? Well Morgan Crossing is a lot denser than the Eagle Landing development. Eagle Landing has no residences and the commercial space takes approximately 40% more land per acre than Morgan Crossing. Draw your own conclusions.
If you enjoyed reading this article, why not Subscribe to be notified of the next one? Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.
All pictures and content are copyright June 15, 2010 to Stephen Mullock RI.