On Monday, Coquitlam City Council considered a development proposal for a new high-rise tower in the Austin Heights neighbourhood of Coquitlam.

The subject site of the proposal is 1015 Austin Avenue — directly across the street from the shopping square anchored by RONA — which is currently occupied by the Coquitlam Professional Centre, an old two-level building with medical and legal offices. BC Assessment values 1015 Austin Avenue at $7,665,000.

The property is legally owned by 640380 BC Ltd. and beneficially owned by PARC Retirement Living, a developer and operator of "premium retirement residences," according to the company's website. Serving as the architect of the project is Vancouver-based Francl Architecture Inc.

PARC is seeking to rezone the site from C-2 (General Commercial) to CD-32 (Comprehensive Development) to allow for the proposed use and density.

For the site, PARC is proposing a 21-storey tower with 170 residential units atop approximately 2,421 sq. ft (three units) of commercial retail space in a one-level podium.

The 170 units consist of 106 one-bedroom units, 16 one-bedroom-plus-den units, and 48 two-bedroom units. Of the 170 total units, 154 will be provided at market rental rates, while the remaining 16 will be provided at below-market rates.

The proposal was previously considered by Council in July 2022, when the plan was for a 20-storey building with 167 units and a four-level podium. At the time, Council did not like the segregated entrance for the below-market units, which has since been removed.

Residential amenities are expected to include a dining room, lounge areas, multi-purpose rooms, a gym, an arts and crafts room, a games room, a library and puzzle room, a wellness room, outdoor seating, a greenhouse, and an artificial turf putting green.

A total of 83 vehicle parking spaces and nine bicycle parking spaces will be provided in a two-level underground parkade, which has also been reduced by one level since July 2022. The parkade would be accessed from from Ridgeway Avenue, at the rear of the building. The amount of parking provided is significantly less than what is required under City policy, but PARC says that, because it provides daily meals, deliveries, various on-site services, and a shuttle service, the reduction is justified. City staff say they are also in support of the reduction.

A rendering of the entrance of the building.A rendering of the entrance of the building.(Francl Architecture, PARC Retirement Living)

A rendering of the top of the building.A rendering of the top of the building.(Francl Architecture, PARC Retirement Living)

For the City, the proposal will generate $2,294,598 through DCCs, $2,814,577 through a density bonus, and $169,837 through CACs, with all three being preliminary estimates subject to change at later stages of the development process.

On Monday, Councillor Robert Mazzarolo was the only person to comment on the project, saying that he believes towers to be unsuitable the Austin Heights neighbourhood, but that he was willing to make an exception for this particular proposal.

"Many will know, 'cause I campaigned on this and I truly do believe it: towers belong near SkyTrain. This is not anywhere close to SkyTrain. I don't believe Austin Heights is the appropriate neighbourhood to have towers," he said. "Saying that, this is not an ordinary tower. This is a tower that is specifically built for seniors. In southwest Coquitlam, there is an aging population. Families moved there in the '60s and '70s, people have had families and watched their kids grow up to start families of their own, and some of the residents are still there. I do believe a lot of them, if not all of them, want to live out their golden years in the neighbourhood they've called home and that they've raised their family in. This is a building that will allow that to take place."

Following his comments, Council unanimously granted a first, second, and third reading to the application. City staff will now work with the applicant to complete some outstanding items before granting final approval.

Development Projects