Transit-oriented development boosts Tri-City housing numbers

Coquitlam leading the way with city hall pushing through large, complex projects proposed for land near Evergreen Line stations

Developers appear to be heeding the call for more housing with millions of dollars worth of development permit applications being pumped through local city halls.

Coquitlam is leading the way in the Tri-Cities with $124.4 million worth of development permit applications for the first four months of 2018, up 43% compared to the same period last year. Much of the development is housing, including two townhouse projects worth $28.8 million.

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“It’s challenging, it’s exciting,” said Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam's general manager of planning and development. “We’re living in some pretty radical times here. The market has been incredibly strong, not just in Coquitlam but across the Lower Mainland for a long number of years. That starts translating in those significant projects and unit numbers and it’s a reflection of good planning in trying to marry up rapid transit investments with land use.”

McIntyre said the new projects aren’t all highrises; in fact a number of townhouse projects and four-story apartments are also being built.

“You can’t just be one-trick pony, we want a variety of development forms and types," he told The Tri-City News.

The popularity of building along the Evergreen Extension is evidenced by the city’s new Transit-oriented Development Application Team (TODAT), which received development applications for 3,519 units in nine projects in the first four months of the year.

But many of these projects located in Burquitlam or Town Centre are large and will take time to process, said McIntyre, who explained the new team of planners, transportation and legal specialists will handle these transit-oriented developments efficiently and effectively.

“There’s a lot of detail and a lot of complexity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody are also seeing a jump in the number of building permits issued.

To the end of April, PoCo issued $46.7 million worth of building permits — about 60% for housing projects — compared to $18.1 million for the same period last year.

Port Moody, meanwhile, is seeing more housing permits issued this year to the end of April, compared to the same period last year: $8.2 million compared to $4.6 million, according to city figures.

But the total value of building permits issued for all forms of construction, including industrial and commercial, is the same — $8.7 million — for the first for months of both 2017 and 2018.

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