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Blog by Kevin Wong

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Riverfront Project Launches In Southeast Vancouver

A major new Fraser River community in southeast Vancouver launched Monday with the opening of a 6,000-square-foot neighbourhood centre.

The 130-acre River District development, a $3- to $4-billion project along the Fraser River south of Marine Way between Boundary Road and Kerr Street, will eventually have more than 7,000 residential units as well as retail and commercial space and public amenities.

One of the largest development projects in Vancouver over the next two decades, it involves redevelopment of the former site of the Canadian White Pine Mill into a people-friendly neighbourhood.

River District, which is anticipated to take 15 or 20 years to complete, is part of the East Fraserlands Official Development Plan approved by city council in 2006.

“It’s a complete community and it’s sustainable,” said Ben Taddei, chief operating officer of the developer, ParkLane Homes. “At build out, it will be one of the most walkable communities in the city.”

It will include an urban village with a food and drugstore, a community centre, a high school, an elementary school, 25 acres of parkland, four daycares plus out-of-school care, and 20 per cent social housing.

Taddei said ParkLane is providing the land for 1,300 social housing units, but is not obligated to build them. “Who builds them has not been determined.”

The project, which borders the Boundary Industrial Park in the east, includes 25-storey towers and town houses, but is primarily planned to be low-rise and mid-rise buildings.

The development is in partnership with Polygon Homes, which will build the project’s first apartment homes in a phase called New Water.

New Water’s 157 units, which start at $349,000, will be available for sale later this month. The two apartment towers are expected to be ready for occupancy in 12 to 14 months.

Formerly known as East Fraserlands, River District is being built on one of the last pieces of undeveloped waterfront land in Vancouver.

According to the developer, the project will be built on the principles of new urbanism, which promotes walkable neighbourhoods with a range of housing and amenities.

Future phases will also include shops, a community plaza, community gardens and a waterfront pier.

Taddei said the plan is to service River District with transit buses that connect with SkyTrain and the Canada Line.

The new bus connection should be ready when the new urban village is complete, in three to five years, he added.