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Development off to a strong start in 2011

Development in Richmond is off to its strongest start in five years, led by a $34-million expansion to Aberdeen Centre.

Richmond City Hall issued 391 building permits with a construction value of $97.8 million for the first quarter of 2011. At the same time last year, 406 building permits valued at $88.5 million had been granted.

“Richmond is still seen as a desirable place in which to live, and all the amenities that one would want to raise a family are here,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, chair of the city’s planning committee.

Fairchild Developments Ltd. has approval to build a six-storey, 237,400-square-foot addition to Aberdeen Centre that will boast three levels of retail, a food court and two levels of office space.

Also granted a building permit last quarter was Legacy Park Lands Ltd., which is building another $8-million residential building at Riverport as part of the Waterstone Pier development.

In City Centre, Cressey Development Corporation is rebuilding Heather Lee Apartments at a cost of $3.8 million. Fire destroyed the three-storey building last summer. Dozens of firefighters spent hours putting out the blaze, which killed one person and injured others.

In South Richmond, the city secured a building permit for a $7.2 million project refitting 11411 No. 5 Rd., which will become Richmond RCMP headquarters next year.

Despite the city’s rapid pace of growth McNulty said he still wants to see single family neighbourhoods protected.

“We need to be cognizant of the fact that we’ve got to continue to push (multi-family development) to the City Centre core,” he said.

Just where growth will be concentrated in the future is now subject to review, as the city is updating its official community plan. City planners are organizing a third round of public consultation on the concept plan.

In May the city’s online discussion forum will be reactivated, and eight open houses will be staged across the city in May and June to introduce the concept plan and collect feedback.

The plan is scheduled to be finished by March or April of 2012, when it will be brought to a public hearing and city council vote.

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First quarter building permit values

•2011: $97,829,950

•2010: $88,504,764

•2009: $26,868,923

•2008: $59,282,283

•2007: $71,051,077

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