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UPDATED: The Shipyards plan surges ahead

Outdoor ice rink, retail and hotel all included in major waterfront redevelopment

The City of North Vancouver’s grandiose plans for a waterfront destination have taken a big step from concept to reality.

The city has named Quay Property Management, the parent company of Lonsdale Quay Market, as its partner for developing The Shipyards on Lot 5 and work is expected to begin this year.

The city debuted its detailed plans on Tuesday, including a covered seasonal ice rink/splash pool, movable event and concert stage, new retail and restaurant buildings, more hotel rooms, underground parking and Spirit Trail connections.

Mayor Darrell Mussatto said it is a “turning point” for the city.

“I think this is a real positive legacy. It’s going to be a great public, open gathering space for everyone. For families, for younger people, for older people and it’s going to make that site usable 365 days a year,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a really great people place – one of the best in the Lower Mainland.”

Three firms were short-listed for the work following a request for proposal process last year.

Quay Property Management’s proposal stood out based on the finances and the content of their proposal, Mussatto said.

“Council was very supportive and I think everyone is in the same direction,” Mussatto said. “They really captured the essence of what we’re looking for in terms of public space. They have a great design.”

Taylor Mathiesen, director of operations for QPM, said the project is a natural fit for his company. The Quay’s management has been a stakeholder in the consultation process since the beginning and the company has a lot of experience developing and managing animated resort, market and community projects like this one.

“It’s been on our radar for a long time,” Mathiesen said. “It’s really consistent with the types of projects we like to do and in a neighbourhood we’re already passionate about.”

The exact finances involved haven’t been made public as not all the papers have been signed, Mussatto said, but Quay Properties will be paying for the $35-million construction of the amenities as well as lease payments to the city for the retail, hotel and restaurant space. The operating costs should be covered by the revenue the city brings in from the lease, Mussatto added. “We’re going to generate those funds from the money we make at the site. The revenue we see from Tap & Barrel, the Pipe Shop, and the lease will cover all the operating costs pretty much of all of the site. It will be a wash.”

An artist's rendering shows plans for a covered outdoor ice rink and open plaza area at The Shipyards development on North Vancouver’s central waterfront. image supplied

The city, however, will be sharing the cost of 140 new underground parking stalls and putting up roughly $5 million to remediate the soil left contaminated from its time as an industrial shipyard.

Access to the rink should be free, Mussatto said, with skate rentals available on site. The splash pool will be shallow enough that lifeguards won’t be required. More public washrooms and change rooms are planned for the north side of the lot.

The 50 to 60 hotel rooms could be owned and operated by Lonsdale Quay, Pinnacle Hotels or a new boutique hotel. It will be up to Quay Properties to decide, Mussatto said.

The Pipe Shop, where until January, the North Vancouver Museum and Archives was planning to move to, will likely remain as a rentable event space but the city is planning to add washrooms, lighting and heating and air conditioning as well as a small commissary. Council will be deciding in the next year what to do with the historic building over the long term.

Not everyone loves what’s in the plan, Mussatto conceded, but every project has its critics – many of whom change their tune, he added.

“For the people who are not as keen, I hope they give it a second chance once it’s open,” he said. “There were people who were naysayers about the Friday Night Market. There were people who were naysayers about the Green Necklace. Some of them changed their minds as well once it was constructed and built and they saw how great it was.”

Detailed designs and soil remediation at the site are expected to start this year and the project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2018.