This is a newly formed redevelopment area in Vancouver’s storied Heights area. “The Heights District” as the city is calling it now, will include a 205 acre service area but the “urban” part will be focused on the Tower Mall redevelopment area which encompasses 63 acres at the junction of Mac Arthur Blvd. and Mill Plain Blvd. There are several detailed public documents regarding the area on the City website here.
The Tower Mall was originally built as an indoor shopping mall but was rendered a bit obsolete when the massive Westfield Vancouver Mall was built in 1977 just a couple of miles away. Tower Mall became a bit of a mixed retail / business mall and eventually ended up in the rather large real estate holdings of the City of Vancouver. This “mall” and the surrounding commercial properties are the focus of the urban density portion of this new “Heights District.” This development area is just far enough from Downtown to create a bit of an urban void. This will provide a central quasi downtown area for the whole Heights area, not just the 205 acre “district.”
This is the kind of sustainable model that helps create walkable neighborhoods and reduces the impact of automobile traffic and the load on the extended public transit system. This urban portion will not include any really tall buildings that are out of synch with the general dynamics of the neighborhood. This just creates a small urban center to support the local neighborhoods with a great sense of community while bringing that sustainable and walkable element.
The city has a twenty year development plan for this new district that is about two years in. There could be some great opportunity for residential and commercial projects over the next few years. This is one to keep and eye, and I will have my eye on it for sure.
Update Q1, 2021: The City of Vancouver scaled back plans on the density of this new district. The concept is alive and well, the scale and height of some of the buildings however are likely to be somewhat less in stature after numerous public hearing surrounding the plan.
Update October 4, 2021: A pre-app submittal for a 250 unit apartment/retail project with 8 4 story buildings appeared recently. This would be the first new development based on the new revised ‘Heights District’ sub area for the city.
Update December 12, 2021: Demolition of the Tower Mall building is underway.
Update February 20, 2023: Not a lot of action on The Heights district lately.