A question of scale and benefits. No CACs for Lululemon HQ rezoning (1980 Foley)?

Comparison of elevation of 215′ Indepedent by Rize and 1980 Foley Street (at Great Northern Way) / Lululemon HQ rezoning

Rize’s Independent

City Council plans to make a decision on the proposal for a massive 215′ office building for Lululemon’s HQ on January 30th. This rezoning application does not propose any Community Amenity Contributions, it will result in the loss of Discovery Park, and there will be no childcare provided. The childcare was a consideration during earlier stages of the application review process. Why are public coffers not expected to receive benefits in return for the significant increase in value from this rezoning?

To put the proposal in perspective, this tower would be as tall as the 21-storey Independent by Rize at Kingsway and 10th Avenue. Volumetrically, the Lululemon rezoning is a more massive building, as illustrated in the scale comparison. The application calls for a large increase in height from what is currently allowed, from 120′ for the site to 215′ (36.6m to 65.60m). As well, a change in use from general office is contemplated, so that retail and restaurant/cafe space can be added at the ground floor level.

The Public Hearing will reconvene at 3pm on Thursday, January 30th, 2020, where the final debate and decision will be made; speakers were heard on January 23rd.

This property had previously been rezoned a few times. In 2009 a rezoning changed the use from office limited to information technology to general office space; a total Community Amenity Contribution of $2.1 million was determined at that time. In 1999, when the entire Great Northern Way site (of which this parcel is a component) was rezoned; 56 childcare spaces were listed as a requirement:

“to construct and operate a fully furnished, fully equipped daycare facility, including required outdoor play space and underground parking, for 56 children” (item #5)

The property is currently assessed at $85,927,000 with a 120′ height limit. Increasing the height to 215′ would substantially impacts views in the area to the immediate south.

Will City Council attempt to secure public benefits from this rezoning? Stay tuned. Our elected officials need to carefully examine and challenge staff attempts to justify the rezoning without public benefits.

Another scale comparison is provided below to illustrate the sheer size of the proposed building. The picture for comparison is the building at 569 Great Northern Way. Note the volumetric differences.

Scale comparison with 569 Great Northern Way (left, top and bottom) (existing 100′ building in front of Emily Carr Campus) vs the proposed Lululemon HQ building (right, top and bottom)

The rezoning site is currently Discovery Park. This park is in private hands but is used as a public amenity. The proposed building would take over this site. There would also be 5 storeys of underground parking with 840 parking spaces.

Discovery Park, site of rezoning

Reference photos:

100′ Office Building at 569 Great Northern Way. The Lululemon rezoning would be more than twice the height (at 215′)

100′ tall office building at 569 Great Northern Way

Rize’s Independent has the same 215′ height as the proposed Lululemon HQ

Discovery Park (site of rezoning)

Discovery Park (site of rezoning)

Please also see: Massive Lululemon HQ rezoning at Public Hearing January 23rd, no CAC proposed (January 19, 2020)

2 thoughts on “A question of scale and benefits. No CACs for Lululemon HQ rezoning (1980 Foley)?

  1. Hi Randy,

    Is there a clear and transparent way of calculating CACs? I certainly don’t understand it and I don’t think it should be improvised behind closed doors with each project.

    I might add the following from the False Creek Flats Plan:

    Sustainability –the exciting core of the world’s greenest city and a model of green spaces and places, greener business activities, appropriate infrastructure and development, adaptability to rising sea levels and, innovative rainwater management.

    Note: The Planning Department’s role is not that of Chamber of Commerce style boosterism with questionable facts, but broad based critical planning with clear principles and thorough regulations that are followed through with every development.

    Unfortunately, I can’t make this meeting as well.

    Rob >

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s