After a brief pause, one of the bigger development projects in Surrey, Fleetwood Orion, is once again moving forward, now with a few adjustments, but still no rental housing.

The project, by Vancouver-based Bucci Developments, was first granted a first and second reading by Council back in October. After a public hearing on November 14, however, Council pressed pause on the application and directed City staff to work with the developer to undergo additional public consultations in order to address a number of community concerns

"The main concerns expressed by the community were related to the heights of the towers, the lack of affordable and rental housing, the lack of infrastructure and community amenities, concerns with parking and traffic, construction disturbances, shadowing impacts, safety and crime, and the interface with the existing townhomes to the north," according to a City planning report.

Two public consultation sessions were held in February, and the application was subsequently brought back to Council with modifications that addressed some -- but not all -- of those concerns. Council then granted the application a third reading on April 3, which is tantamount to conditional approval, with Bucci Developments now just having to fulfill certain conditions before getting the final go-ahead.

Fleetwood Orion

The Fleetwood Orion project is planned for 16065 and 16099 Fraser Highway, in the Fleetwood neighbourhood of Surrey, about a block away from the Fleetwood Park Village shopping centre and near the upcoming 160 St station on the Surrey-Langley Extension of the Expo Line SkyTrain.

Surrey Fleetwood Orion Site Context - Bucci DevelopmentsSurrey Fleetwood Orion site context. (Bucci Developments)

The site is currently occupied by a car dealership that's nearly five acres, and has been identified for mid-rise and high-rise mixed-use development under the Fleetwood Plan, as well as for multiple-residential development under the City of Surrey Official Community Plan.

Bucci Developments' original proposal actually dates back to 2019 and was for four towers, three of which were over 40 storeys, according to a Bucci public engagement presentation. That was then increased in 2021 to five towers, four of which were over 22 storeys.

The most-recent iteration, from 2022, called for a 37-storey, 42-storey, and 15-storey building that would be constructed across three phases and deliver a grand total of 1,121 strata condominium units, along with about 52,000 sq. ft of commercial space and 24,000 sq. ft of office space.

Following the community concerns and additional public consultations, the building heights will now be 34 storeys, 39 storeys, and 15 storeys, respectively, and the total number of units has been reduced to 1,037. The amount of commercial space has also been reduced slightly, while the amount of office space has been increased to about 26,000 sq. ft. The overall floor space ratio of the project has been reduced from 4.1 to 3.98.

Surrey Bucci Developments Fleetwood Orion - Public PlazaFleetwood Orion public plaza. (Bucci Developments)

Surrey Bucci Developments Fleetwood Orion - Pedestrian StreetFleetwood Orion pedestrian street. (Bucci Developments)

The revised application notably does not address community concerns about the lack of rental or non-market housing. According to the City of Surrey, Bucci Developments engaged an appraisal firm, Ryan ULC, to examine the possibility of including rental housing in the Fleetwood Orion project, but that "based on the results of the appraisal, the applicant has advised that providing any rental and/or non-market housing component in the project would not be economically feasible in the current market climate."

Critically, the City notes that the feasibility study assumed that all 1,037 units be provided as rental and did not examine the possibility of having both rental and strata units.

Bucci did address community concerns about how Tower 3, the 15-storey building, interfaces with the townhouses to the north of the site, with the construction now to include "enhanced landscaping, an increased building setback along sections of the northern face of the building, and the reorientation of units to mitigate overlook concerns."

Surrey Bucci Developments Fleetwood Orion - Public ParkTower 3 and the public park component of Fleetwood Orion. (Bucci Developments)

Bucci will also construct a 14,000-sq.-ft park adjacent to Tower 3, which will be provided to the City without compensation.

The 2022 proposal included a total of 1,499 vehicle parking spaces and 1,349 bicycle spaces across all three phases, including some that would be below the park, but it's unclear what the updated total is after the reduced heights and housing units.

READ: City of Surrey Approves 6.8% Increases to Developer CACs, Citing Inflation

According to the City, the project will be subject to Tier 1 (Capital Project) Community Amenity Contributions, as it is within a Secondary Plan Area, but also Tier 2 (Community Specific Capital Project) CACs, as the proposed density exceeds that allowed under the Fleetwood Plan.

A City report from October 2022 also notes that the Fleetwood Orion project needs final approval from TransLink before the City can give its own final approval, given its proximity to the SkyTrain extension. According to Bucci Developments, it's expecting a fourth reading and final adoption by Council in 2024, with construction to begin soon after.

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