Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Townhouses proposed for corner of 201A Street and 56th Avenue

Downtown Langley has deep and narrow lots. Some of these lots can make it difficult to develop because of their geometry. One such lot is on the corner of 56th Avenue and 201A Street. This piece of land has been vacating since I can remember.

At last night’s City Council meeting, a development proposal was presented which would see the construction of 8 townhouses that front 201A Street.

Vacant lot at 201A Street and 56th Avenue in Langley. Select image to enlarge.

One of the innovative features of this development is the inclusion of roof-top patios/gardens on the townhouses. The units front 201A Street with no green-space like traditional row houses. Parking for the townhouses is located in the rear of the units which supports a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere along 201A Street.

Draw of proposed townhouse project. Select image to enlarge

My only critique about this project is that it doesn’t do much for 56th Avenue. As the gateway to Downtown Langley, the corner of 56th Avenue and 201A Street deserves some special treatment. 56th Avenue will see the side of the townhouse development, plus the access roadway, though it will be landscaped. The City is proposing to install one of its larger pedestrian wayfinding signs.

Landscaping plan for proposed townhouse project. Select image to enlarge

The Township of Langley had a proposal for a similar scale townhouse development which included a small ground-level commercial space on one of the end units. If a similar concept was proposed for this project, it would have not only supported a great public realm on 201A Street, but also on 56th Avenue. Either way, I look forward to seeing this project move forward.


D.Hall said...

Nathan - to provide an end unit commercial space, the developer would have to forgo a residential unit or at least dramatically downsize one (two floors/no garage?)As it is the proponent has established that the "market" would not support a higher density multi-family development even though the site and zoning would permit much higher density. In your quest for commercial presence, what incentive is there for the developer in terms of cost recovery given the low lease rates in this area? What type of commercial can you identify as viable in this neighbourhood given the vacancies and competing interests near by?Certainly what is being proposed is a far superior option to the vacant lot that attracted tresspass and undesired activity - hardly the ambiance that one would want for the City's western gateway.

Nathan Pachal said...

Certainly, this is an improvement and this is why I look forward to seeing the project move forward. It would be interesting if the end unit was designed as an adaptable live/work unit, fronting 56th instead of 201A.

Or as one person who emailed me said "What might work well for all is a very decorative rock wall about 10' - 16' tall with waterfall and plants (rows of narrow terraces filled with flower boxes end-to-end on both sides of the wall) or (cheaper) just a simply rock, or brick wall covered with vines and no terraces.

Not only would it block sound and visual disturbances for the residents of the proposed building, it would also be a traffic barrier in case of vehicular accident."