Strip mall could give way to city’s tallest towers

A No. 3 Road strip mall known as Time Square could become the site of Richmond’s tallest buildings.

Towers in City Centre can be built to a maximum of 47 metres (150 feet), but Townline Homes is mulling a project whose buildings would exceed that limit.

City staff are now urging council to approve a study of higher buildings—something envisioned in the new Official Community Plan. Any increase, however, requires the backing of the Vancouver Airport Authority and Transport Canada, which also must study the idea.

“The federal study would determine if and where an increase may occur, and the safety implications for the airport and city. If Transport Canada allows an increase, it is the city who would determine how high the increase would be,” noted Terry Crowe, the city’s manager of policy planning.

Townline has yet to submit a rezoning application for the four-lot strip mall, at 6560 to 6700 No. 3 Rd., a site across from Richmond Centre.

Crowe’s report notes higher buildings could provide Richmond with a more varied skyline, allow architects to create more efficient and interesting designs and enable developers to better use limited space in City Centre.

But any change in the maximum height is likely years away. Crowe said the city has requested the airport initiate a study since 2004, but it has yet to begin. If it does, that analysis could take at least three years.

Nonetheless, Richmond is likely to complete its own analysis this year to expedite the process and possibly prompt airport officials to act.

Any increase in building height would centre around city hall, and the city’s study wouldn’t involve public input.

“As the proposed analysis would be mainly technical in nature, to avoid false expectations and speculation, it is suggested that during the review process there be limited public consultation and after it is completed council can determine an appropriate consultation approach,” noted Crowe.

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