Monday, May 25, 2009

Township of Langley Commercial Space

Township of Langley Council will receive a report on Willowbrook/Willoughby Commercial space needed in the future. The report was prepared by Coriolis Consulting Corp. The report makes some recommendation on how future commercial space needs could impact planning at the Township. I wanted to touch on some items that stuck out to me from the report.

First, the report recommends that the Carvolth Business Area, that is around 200th Street and the Highway 1, be a large format area:
The Carvolth area is attractive to subregional retail businesses due to convenient vehicular access. However, if Carvolth is permitted to develop as a regional oriented retail and service district, it should not be used to accommodate local oriented retail development. There are other locations that are attractive for local commercial development, but limited opportunities

Accommodate office users that require a high quality business park location in Carvolth and other nearby sites along 200 Street. Office uses in these areas should be limited to those:
-attached to a warehouse, distribution or sales/service function,
-requiring ground floor loading access for equipment, and
-requiring large floorplates.
Based on the recommendation of this report, Carvolth may not become very mixed-use, Smart Growth, or transit friendly. That could be of concern considering that this area has the potential to be a transit node if the Provincial bus plans come to pass, and that 200th Street will be a major transit corridor.

The report does recommend that the Willowbrook area become the office/mixed-use area over time as there is not very much space left to accommodate regional retail (aka. Big Box) use and the area is designated as a regional town centre:
Although large portions of the area are used for surface parking, it is not financially attractive to build retail space on surface parking lots if the existing parking stalls covered by the new building need to be replaced in a new parking structure as the cost of building underground or structured parking is significantly higher than retail land value. This may change over time if retail land values and retail lease rates increase, but during the foreseeable future, this will be a constraint on adding retail space.
The report also makes some recommendation on the phasing of local “major” commercial areas in the Gordon/Smith and Jericho neighbourhoods.

At the end of the day, it is up to council to determine land use for the Township. It will be interesting to see how auto-orientated/large format development will be accommodated under the lens of the Sustainability Charter. It does appear that the local commercial area will be mixed-used and pedestrian orientated from the get-go which is very encouraging.
Staff will explore with the proponent appropriate policies to make the centre a local neighbourhood centre rather than an automobile-oriented one designed to serve through traffic…

Small walkable neighbourhood convenience locations consisting of a few stores oriented to serve the immediate neighbourhood will be considered in the neighbourhood planning process. These commercial centres would consist of a few storefronts with small floorspaces, e.g. 800 to 2,400 square feet, accommodated in a stand-alone building, or preferably as part of a mixed use building.

No comments: