New Civic Facility in New West to fuel revitalization of the Royal City

July 25th, 2012

New Westminster New Civic Centre

People are talking about the City of New Westminster’s plans for a multi use civic facility on Columbia Street. From local media outlets like Royal City Record to popular blogs like Vancouver Is Awesome and Vancity Buzz, everyone is curious about this project.

We recently told you about New Westminster’s recent revitalization and why it’s a good idea to invest in the city.  Given that the new civic centre is located just across Trapp + Holbrook, we were curious how the project fits with the City’s plans for the downtown core. Blair Fryer, Communications Manager at City of New Westminster, recently talked to us about this exciting development.

How many new jobs will the new civic centre and office tower bring to New West? Besides the obvious economic impact, what other benefits does the project bring to the city?

The project is expected to generate 500 direct and 250 indirect jobs as local businesses respond to the growing need for goods and services. New conference facilities along with arts and culture programming will also bring a stream of visitors to the Downtown. This, along with new residential development will increase the vibrancy and activity in the area.

How does the new civic centre and office building fit in with the city’s plans to revitalize downtown New West?

The new civic centre and office tower currently under construction in New Westminster’s downtown are critical parts of ongoing revitalization efforts in the area. This project, combined with the new 9-acre Westminster Pier Park along the city’s waterfront and hi-density residential and retail development, is breathing new life into this historic part of the city, while easy access to rapid transit makes it the new place to be in Metro Vancouver.

Besides the new civic centre, what other plans does the City have to revitalize downtown?

In 2010, the City finalized a new Official Community Plan for the Downtown. The Plan reinforces the area as an economic, cultural, historic and residential hub of New Westminster and guides its transformation from primarily entertainment district to a complete neighbourhood that showcases sustainable and responsible growth in Metro Vancouver. The addition of a new elementary school, parks and childcare centres will meet the needs of a wide range of families.

Businesses, such as The Plaza at New Westminster Station and the revitalized River Market, provide for a wider range of shopping options and experiences for new residents and employees in the area.

Can you describe a couple key features we can expect to see when the project is complete?

The civic centre component of the project will bring medium-sized conference facilities to downtown New West and, with a 350 seat non proscenium theatre, art gallery and arts programming activity, along with the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame and New Westminster Museum and Archives, the rich history and culture of the city will be on display. Connected to the civic centre and located directly across the street from SkyTrain, a new eight storey office tower will feature over 100,000 square feet of Class A LEED Gold standard office space to meet the growing needs of Metro Vancouver’s business community.

The new civic centre promises to be a key part of downtown New West’s vibrant future, and we can’t wait until the project is complete.

With the City’s investment in the civic centre and with new private mixed-use developments like Trapp + Holbrook, Downtown New Westminster is re-emerging as a vibrant urban centre with a blend of historic character and modern style that, outside of downtown Vancouver, is unique to this area. The civic centre is just one of the reasons why it’s a great time to invest in the Royal City and why New West is becoming Lower Mainland’s new neighbourhood darling. We would like to thank Blair for taking the time to answer our questions.

Visit the City of New Westminster website for more information about this project. Trapp+Holbrook is currently on sale — visit thliving.com for photos and info and to register.

Illustration via The Record / Vancouver Sun