The first concrete high-rise building in downtown Maple Ridge in a few decades is on the fast track for construction.
Ascent One Properties has bought property on Edge Street and Brown Avenue and secured the financing. If council gives its OK, the three-phase project will start in May.
“I’m excited we’ll see a high-rise building,” said Coun. Al Hogarth.
The last concrete high-rise that went up was Gordon Towers on 222nd Street and Dewdney Trunk Road, about 25 years ago.
“I think there’s a pent-up demand,” said Hogarth, also a realtor.
Some consumers may not like wood construction and may be looking for concrete condominiums.
“Some of the more senior folks, they have lots of equity. They don’t mind paying for safety, paying for what they really want,” he added.
Gerald Chiang, Ascent CEO, said construction is to start in May on a six-storey, 50-unit wood-frame building with ground floor concrete commercial premises.
Phase 2 would be a 10-storey concrete high-rise with 68 condos, followed by Phase 3, a 19-storey concrete high rise with 132 units.
The latter phase could be built within five to seven years and become a Concord-Pacific type development, similar to the condos around False Creek in Vancouver, with amenities such as a roof-top garden and swimming pool.
“We see it as a good market here,” Chiang added.
The support from the district has been key, he added. Maple Ridge’s downtown investment incentive plan gives discounts for development fees and tax exemptions. But more importantly, the teamwork and the priority processing for the project helps get the project underway, he said.
“They provided us huge support for this project.”
The downtown plan, which seeks to focus on high-density development in the core area, also makes it easier for investors, he said.
Chiang said Ascent One president Stephen Yang is proceeding with the project on his own, after taking on partners to build his first two buildings in Maple Ridge. Urban Green One on Lougheed Highway and Burnett Street opened a couple years ago and construction of Urban Green Two is halfway done on Lougheed Highway and 223rd Street.
That project is a six-storey building, composed of concrete ground-floor commercial and five wood storeys above. It’s Maple Ridge’s first six-storey wood-frame structure after the building code was changed in 2006.
The 43-unit building features 100 vertical steel rods that run through all six storeys. The rods are periodically tightened down to allow for shrinkage of the wood and improve seismic strength.
Another feature is plywood walls in hallways, between suites and in stairways, nailed down every few centimetres for additional strength during an earthquake. Manufactured trusses and beams are also used instead of lumber to minimize shrinkage.
The northwest ground floor corner of the building is the largest commercial space, at 2,900 sq. feet, with a patio facing south, and is intended for a restaurant.
Hogarth said that building in the downtown allows for several uses – residential, retail or business, to be combined into the same footprint, increasing viability.