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North Van city approves 22-storey Central Lonsdale tower

The Polygon building will add 136 residential strata units, as well as two floors of commercial retail and office space.

North Vancouver has passed a plan to build a large apartment building in Central Lonsdale, answering the calls from many current and potential residents for more available housing in the city.

Following a public hearing Monday evening (May 9), city council voted 6-1 in favour of a rezoning application for a proposed development at 114-132 West 15th St. 

Only Coun. Don Bell was opposed, citing concerns that the building was too tall and would be too densely populated.

In a presentation, city staff noted a cluster of nearby residential towers with building heights of 14 to 22 storeys.

According to the official community plan, the building breaks the density limit. To accommodate, it will borrow excess density from Centennial Theatre and Norseman Park, costing developer Polygon $19 million to do so.

Contrasting Bell, other councillors said the extra density would be in an ideal spot, right smack in the middle of Lonsdale and along core transit routes.

Monday’s hearing heard from several speakers, most of whom supported the new development.

Nick Richardson, who described himself as a lifetime North Shore resident, said the building adds more housing that’s desperately needed in the area.

“As an aspiring first time home buyer, looking for a place is extremely difficult because of the lack of inventory, and this proposal helps solve that problem,” he said.

A total of 136 residential strata units will be built: 38 one-bedroom units (28 per cent), 77 two-bed units (57 per cent) and 21 three-bed units (15 per cent).

Richardson and others also noted the office space that will be provided. The full second floor of the building includes 16,985 square feet of commercial office space, with 7,452 square feet of commercial retail space on the first floor.

But not everyone is excited to see the tower go up.

Janet Strachan lives across the street, in a parcel of subsidized units for people above 55 years old or living with a disability.

“The idea of a building right in front of them that could take two to three years with the awful noise and dirt etc. that brings in has frightened them to death,” she said.

Strachan lamented the 7 a.m. start time for construction, saying that mornings were the worst time of day for her pain.

Polygon vice-president Lorne Wolinsky said there would be ongoing consultation with nearby tenants. He promised similar treatment from a previous project, Promenade at the Quay, where he personally spoke to concerned residents and posted updates warning of major disruptions. Pushing back start times would not be considered, he said, as it would extend the overall length of construction.

In her concluding remarks, Coun. Holly Back thanked Polygon for always doing great work, and having “utmost respect” for the community.

“I know that you will listen to the neighbours that are upset, and my heart does go out to them, but we can’t just leave it sitting the way it is,” she said. “So I think you’re probably the best people to build on that spot.”

The new tower, which is expected to take around three years to build after shovels break ground, will replace a two-storey business plaza currently at the address.