The first phase of a huge condo project for downtown Maple Ridge soon will be underway in Haney Plaza on Dewdney Trunk Road. (Contributed)

Huge downtown Maple Ridge project underway next spring

First phase will comprise 154 housing units

Maple Ridge council gave approval last week to the first phase of a multi-tower condo project that will change the look of Maple Ridge’s downtown.

Council approved a permit to allow construction of four buildings on Dewdney Trunk Road at the western side of the present Haney Plaza.

The four buildings will be composed of 154 townhouses, condos and apartments.

It’s part of a multi-phase, multi-year development stretching from the plaza to 224th street, and from Dewdney Trunk Road to Brown Avenue.

“The redevelopment of that mall is going to be huge,” Coun. Bob Masse said.

The first phase is two hectares.

“I think this is a wonderful start to a seven-phase project that’s going to go over a number of years,” Coun. Craig Speirs said.

“I think it’s going to change this whole area.”

Overall, the entire project, when completed in about a decade, will be almost one square kilometre with more than 800 condos, townhouses or apartments.

The intent is to start the first phase by spring.

“We can’t wait to start this,” said Jeremy Towning, with SwissReal.

Existing tenants in Haney Plaza know of the plans and are being helped to relocate.

The development is a partnership between Bruce Johnston, Tom Meier and SwissReal Group. The two men are partners in Johnston Meier Insurance, which was established in 1973 has 41 offices across B.C.

Forty-nine of the housing units in Phase 1 will be market rental apartments to help with the rental crunch in the city.

A staff report notes that later phases of the development, near 224th Street, could include office space or future use as a college.

Council also approved a variance change that will save the project having to follow an outdated, tiered wedding-cake type design.

Council has already granted first reading for rezoning for the entire site.

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The first phase of a huge condo project for downtown Maple Ridge soon will be underway in Haney Plaza on Dewdney Trunk Road. (Contributed)

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