Offices, seniors living coming to Vancouver’s Lonsdale Square

IMAGE: The Lonsdale Square redevelopment by Darwin Properties, in North Vancouver, is scheduled to kick off this summer. (Courtesy Darwin Properties)

The Lonsdale Square redevelopment by Darwin Properties, in North Vancouver, is scheduled to kick off this summer. (Courtesy Darwin Properties)

The redevelopment of Lonsdale Square on the North Shore of Vancouver is scheduled to kick off this summer with a high-quality seniors living residence as well as an office building.

Both will be built by North Vancouver-based Darwin Properties, whose future plans for the mixed-use development include more than 800 new housing units.

“There is an opportunity to create more housing options for all stages of life in the North Vancouver community that do not currently exist,” said Oliver Webbe, president of Darwin Properties. “Families rely on the community services offered in their area and we want to create a hub that makes access to these services more convenient, including more for the aging population.”

The Sunrise Senior Living building will be six storeys with 99 units for assisted living and dementia care. The office building at the development site will be 100,000 square feet over five storeys.

“We are excited to work with Sunrise to bring peace of mind to local families, with the availability of assisted living and memory care services right in their neighbourhood,” Webbe said.

Construction to begin in late summer

Construction will likely start in August or September and will take about 24 months to complete.

“Part of this overall development (Lonsdale Square) is that it’s probably one of the largest projects ever built in the City of North Vancouver,” Webbe said.

“We feel this project will be a key centre for upper Lonsdale especially with the community centre right across the street . . . so we want to put uses into this project that are going to be uses that will benefit the community.

“There’s a high demand for office space from the medical practitioners on the North Shore looking to stay on the North Shore, which is why we’ve included that in our first building, in our office building.

“And then we know there’s a huge demand for seniors housing across the North Shore. Twenty-three per cent of the population in Canada is going to be over the age of 65 by 2030.

“There’s a huge, aging population on the North Shore that really needs some new seniors facilities developed.”

Sunrise’s Canadian operations

IMAGE: Jerry Liang, senior vice president of development and investments for Sunrise Senior Living. (Courtesy Sunrise)

Jerry Liang, senior vice-president of development and investments for Sunrise Senior Living. (Courtesy Sunrise)

Jerry Liang, senior vice-president of development and investments for Sunrise, which has its international headquarters in Virginia, said the company is one of North America’s largest and oldest assisted senior living developers and operators. It was founded 36 years ago and has operated in Canada for close to 20 years.

“We currently have three existing buildings in the broader B.C. market. One on the North Shore that’s over on Lynn Valley Road that was built back in 2002. One that’s over on the mainland on Oak Street and 57th Avenue which was built in 2003 and then we have one that’s over on Victoria Island that was built in 2001,” said Liang.

Liang said Sunrise has 12 other locations in Canada outside of B.C. There are nine in Ontario, with eight in the Greater Toronto Area and one in Windsor. The other three residences are in Montreal.

“We think the North Shore is a really special place and it is an under-served market. We think that residents in the North Shore want to stay here,” he observed.

“Many of the residents have lived here their whole lives and we wanted to be in a place that we can better serve seniors on the North Shore for the next 20 years.”

The company’s Lynn Valley Road location with 93 units has been full for quite some time.

“There’s so much pent-up demand and need for our services and so few options on the North Shore that we basically draw from the entirety of it, going all the way out to the Deep Cove and deep into West Vancouver,” said Liang.

“We knew there was this need for providing high-quality, best-in-class service and care for the elderly residents of the North Shore.”

The Lonsdale Square development

IMAGE: Oliver Webbe, president of Darwin Properties. (Courtesy Darwin Properties)

Oliver Webbe, president of Darwin Properties. (Courtesy Darwin Properties)

Lonsdale Square will eventually encompass 812,036 square feet of office, retail and residential use and include the new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. There will be 48 retail and office strata units ranging from 1,086 square feet to 3,669 square feet. Housing will eventually include 486 condominiums, 126 rentals, 91 non-profit or below-market rentals, plus the seniors’ housing.

The first phase comprises the office building and the seniors housing building. The second phase will include residential condos with rental housing, as well as restaurants and daycare facilities.

“We’re working through the details of that with the city right now,” Webbe said. “At this point we don’t have a defined start date for when we’re going to be starting construction on the second phase.”

Darwin is a construction and development firm founded by Webbe’s father, David, in 1987. It was created as a construction company.

About 10 years ago Darwin established a real estate development company, which currently focuses its real estate development on the North Shore – from West Vancouver to Deep Cove.

“We build throughout British Columbia for developers, non-profit organizations, municipalities, the province . . . you name it. We’ve pretty much built everything from swimming pools to high-rises and townhomes,” said Webbe. 


Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime,…

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime,…

Read more





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