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Here’s what the Broadway Plan means for Vancouver's future, according to an expert

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This past year saw the population of Vancouver increase by 30,762 people, according to the city's census data. As the population of our city keeps rising, it's important to prepare for further booms by envisioning and planning what new community members will need to live, work, and play.

In June 2022, the City of Vancouver approved the final version of the Broadway Plan, which aims to develop housing, employment, infrastructure, and amenities along the Broadway corridor in parts of Kitsilano, Fairview, and Mount Pleasant. The plan has been built around the construction of the SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension, which is set to open in 2025.

To gain an expert opinion on the Broadway Plan and how it will accommodate a growing population, we spoke to Darrell Hurst, senior managing director of Vancouver brokerage operations with Colliers -- one of Canada's leading commercial real estate companies.

“This plan is not something that is recent. This has been in the works for well over a decade. It’s been given thorough consideration,” Hurst tells Daily Hive. “The plan that has now been arrived at by the City of Vancouver is to address, not only the need for commercial space but also the lack of housing -- as we know, that is a critical issue that we have in Vancouver and across the region.”

The Broadway Plan covers almost 500 blocks and aims to add 30,000 new housing units, accommodate 50,000 new residents, and create more than 40,000 jobs. One of the ways it will achieve this is through increased density in the area.

“As the city continues to grow, there is a need for both a vibrant community and housing in all facets -- and the commercial components that come with it,” Hurst says. “Vancouver as a city has so many great qualities, but it has its limitations, and that really is in its geography. We have the water and mountains, so it's constrained in its ability to grow within the peninsula itself -- therefore, another way we can address this is through additional density and that’s what the City is trying to do with this plan.”

As he points out, any plan or vision for a city’s future urban environment will require a coordinated strategy. "[The Broadway Plan] has involved an incredible amount of input from the various stakeholders, whether it’s the real estate and development communities, owners and occupiers of commercial space, or residents. Sure, there is always resistance on some level to change and evolution, but the plan is really anchored in the city's desire to address the need for additional housing and employment spaces, and to continue to evolve in terms of its vibrant communities."

These vibrant communities will be complete neighbourhoods that cater to the needs of people, with essential goods and services accessible within a 15-minute radius of their homes. We are already seeing these kinds of communities pop up across Canada, the US, and even worldwide. These "15-minute cities" are being envisioned for the future in order to accommodate anticipated growth.

"We will see a much greater increase in mixed-use projects. We've seen this downtown, we've seen that in other areas throughout the Metro Vancouver region, where you're seeing mixed uses like hotels, combined with residential, combined with retail and offices,” Hurst says. “That’s how the city will achieve their goals and objectives, through this increased densification and variety of zoning and uses. As an example, we've seen the evolution of the Mount Pleasant area -- there's been a tremendous amount of growth in that area. And that's anchored in these mixed-use developments."

Essentially, the Broadway Plan presents the opportunity to create an ideal urban experience that serves all the people that live, work, and visit the area. It's creating a place that people truly want to be in.

With projects like the Broadway Plan revitalizing the urban environment for generations to come, Hurst says Vancouver can be “touted as a leader, as far as urban centres are concerned, for really creating vibrant communities.”

For more expert insights on the Broadway Plan and the commercial real estate space, click here.

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