Vancouver real estate: Concord’s ambitious plans for Molson site not for public

Ambitious plans for a redevelopment of the former Molson Coors brewery site in Vancouver, pictured in glossy renderings that were circulated last week, were part of a vision for the future, but not for public viewing, according to developer Concord Pacific.

The advanced renderings of Quantum Park were available early last week from the company’s website.

The marketing brochure is now locked by password, but a video is still accessible.

The material was part of a corporate communication for engaging potential investors or a major commercial client to consider the possibilities of a project.

There are details for a massive redevelopment with some 1.8 million sq. ft, including 300,000-sq. ft of mixed use with office, retail, restaurant and showroom spaces, plus some 3,000 residential units. Condo towers from 15 to 25 storeys are connected by multi-storey podiums and a skybridge, dotted by two glass atriums shaped like wormholes, a quantum theory structure.

It’s notable and to some, maybe presumptuous or unseemly, because the former Molson site is a prime piece of land, bought in 2016 at the height of the market, that is zoned by the city for industrial use, which wouldn’t allow for these grand, very lucrative plans.

“It is evident that industrial uses no longer make sense for the neighbourhood,” said Peter Webb, senior vice-president at Concord, in a statement.

Asked to elaborate, Webb said the site is “the last piece of heavy industrial use” land in an area that will be predominantly residential use.

He also said that when the brewery was operating, there were probably 250 people employed in a 350,000-plus-square-foot building, which is a “very low employment rate” compared to having commercial spaces and tech offices that could employ 1,000 or more people.

Webb acknowledged there is a city-wide review of industrial land to look at how the economy and employment opportunities are impacted by zoning that is expected to continue into 2022 and that any plans by Concord would be on hold until then.

Webb added, however, that the size of the site at 7.6 acres, and its location, might merit its own study.

“There are really three properties that are all connected: Senakw, Molson and Vanier Park.” Senakw is the Squamish Nation’s high density condo project.

“It was premature that some early stage planning and development information has gone out to the public. There are many concepts for this site. We want to respect the process and have been and will be working with the City’s planning department and our neighbours, the Squamish Nation.”

Webb added that while there have been other working versions of plans for the site, what was leaked in a breach of some kind is the most recent one.

“We’re not worried they leaked out,” said Webb. “In fact, we want to embrace it a little.”

He said there has been some interest in the name of the project and that it comes from Concord CEO and owner Terry Hui’s interest in theoretical physics and supporting young scientists in this field by potentially giving them a space at the redevelopment to meet and do research.

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