November 14, 2012

2012 UDI awards for excellence

2012 project winners celebrate contributions to urban living

The Urban Development Institute’s Pacific Region hosted its biennial Awards for Excellence in urban development recently At a black tie gala event held in the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, the institute recognized and celebrated the most outstanding urban development projects across B.C. – and presented the very first Vancouver Sun Readers’ Choice Award.

The 2012 UDI Awards jury received more than 88 project nominations, representing a diversity of product from the B.C development industry. The institute’s values and principles marked the standards against which all project nominees were measured by an independent expert panel of jurors. These values are:

  • Following principles of environmental sustainability, including the optimal densification of urban land surrounding public transit corridors, the integration of innovative green building technologies that can be adopted across industry, and the creation of walkable and livable communities.
  • Innovations in concept, design and construction quality
  • Integration with the surrounding neighbourhood
  • Ability to overcome complex planning, development and construction challenges
  • The functionality of use
  • The winning project’s marketing and sales success


40 Years of building a better B.C.

ANNE McMULLIN, UDI President and CEO

The Urban Development Institute is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, in which time the organization has steadily progressed and developed into one of the most significant industry groups in the province. In line with the progression of UDI as an organization since 1972, the industry we lead has progressed and developed the communities of British Columbia to be among the most livable and desirable in the world.

The vision that UDI had set for our members four decades ago has turned the development industry into a key pillar of the B.C. economy, to the point where a healthy industry benefits every British Columbian. Whether these benefits are in the form of the hundreds of thousands of jobs created from industry investments each year, the $30 billion in annual economic activity, or the billions of dollars collected in government tax receipts – it has become clear that the health of the provincial economy is closely tied to the urban development industry.

Renee Wasyluk, second right, of Troika Developments wins UDI Future Leader Award. Also pictured, from left, UDI CEO Anne McMullin, former UDI CEO Maureen Enser, BMO’s Ruth Neubauer, and Polygon’s Ben Smith.

Building a better B.C. is about more than economics, however, and UDI members have transformed the communities in which we live. Today, excellence in achieving social and environmental outcomes for well-planned and executed development proposals is not only demanded by homebuyers, building tenants and the broader community – it is demanded by the industry itself.

In that spirit, the 2012 UDI Awards for Excellence provides developers with the highest form of recognition – that of their peers – on the highest measures of social and environmental sustainability, architecture and design, marketing and financial success, planning and community integration. The awards are held biannually and involve an independent jury tasked with assessing recently completed projects from across the province. This is an extensive process that has enabled UDI to showcase only the most outstanding developers and their projects to the public.

Wesgroup Chairman Peeter WesIk, left, with former UDI CEO Maureen Enser and David Allison, of Braun Allison.

The industry’s interdependence with an engaged community has also taken an additional step in 2012. UDI has formed a partnership with The Vancouver Sun to provide a state-of-the-art voting opportunity for readers to participate in this year’s awards.

For the first time, through a dynamic use of social media, thousands of Sun readers have determined and bestowed The Vancouver Sun Readers’ Choice Award to the development they think most deserving. Let me say, the winning project for this award is an excellent example of heritage mixed with innovative new technology and construction – a most deserving winner.

Guests gather at reception, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Vancouver.

The following pages will highlight the projects of the leading companies in the urban development industry. UDI is proud to represent these winning organizations, and all the nominees in this year’s awards. The example that they have set for urban development, other industries and companies, and the sustainable, economically vibrant future of B.C., is one in which we can all take pride.


Celebrating an industry

UDI Chair and Concert Properties COO, Brian McCauley, far left, with UDI Director and SFU Community Trust CEO, Gordon Harris.

As the chair of the Urban Development Institute, and as someone who has been involved in the property sector for more than 20 years , I am proud to have witnessed the evolution of an industry as well as the communities that UDI members develop in British Columbia. The contributions of the real estate development industry to the provincial economy are enormous – every year our industry generates $30 billion in economic activity and more than 250,000 jobs.

Beyond the economic contribution of the development industry – and under the leadership of UDI – I have witnessed first-hand the many positive contributions of my peers to the province. Whether it’s through the building of quality residential highrises, commercial and industrial spaces in the province’s urban centres, developing sustainable master-planned communities in suburban regions, preserving the rich heritage of our built environment, or contributing to the development of parks and recreational space, UDI members do it all.

As such, all within the province’s development community deserve to be congratulated and celebrated. Only a select few can stand above the rest, however, and for their efforts, are recognized with a UDI Award for Excellence. The highly competitive nature of the UDI Awards and the independent jury – a cross-section of planners, architects, financiers, project marketers, sustainability experts and developers – ensures that any shortlisted nominee must meet a range of indicators that are determined to represent excellence. Often the difference between being nominated and winning rests only on a single “X-factor” – or one point of difference.

UDI Chair


Renee Wasylyk, Troika Dev.

This award recognizes a UDI member who was under 40 years of age this past calendar year and who has best shown leadership, vision, and made significant contributions in the last two years which have improved their company, the development industry, and the municipalities in which they work. The recipient of this award has been nominated by her peers and selected by UDI’s Board of Directors.





Michael Audain, whose contributions to British Columbia and Canada as a philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for social justice have been well documented. The founder and chairman of Polygon Homes, Audain’s commitment to excellence in the development industry has resulted in high standards for members of the Urban Development Institute, where he served as a director for many years and as president 1985-86. Michael Audain is one of our most outstanding British Columbians, committed to the economic and social wellbeing of the province.


Victor Lewis, one of the founding fathers of UDI, was president of British American Construction Materials and then Genstar Development, and spearheaded some of the largest real estate development projects across Canada. A visionary whose passion for the development industry lasted a lifetime, he left a legacy of professionalism and the creation of sustainable cities. Victor passed away in February of this year at the age of 92.


Jack Poole, co- founder of Daon Developments and Concert Properties, led Vancouver to the unqualified success of Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games – and, regretfully, passed away shortly before the Games began, at the age of 76. As one newspaper put it: Jack Poole was a great Canadian, a great Westerner, a great Builder and great Human Being. And a worthy inaugural member of UDI’s Hall of Fame.



Winner of both the UDI’s Best in Show and the Best Mixed Use Awards of Excellence, it’s perhaps no surprise that Bosa Properties’ Jameson House also won the inaugural Vancouver Sun Readers’ Choice Award. Sun readers were invited to choose a favourite from between eight highrise developments throughout the Lower Mainland.

The story behind the Jameson House development is as dramatic as its critically-acclaimed architecture. As the nomination reads: “Jameson House represents one of the best ‘good news’ stories from the past few years in the Vancouver marketplace.” This complex project went from receivership and CCAA protection under its original developer, to successful completion and sell-out by Bosa Properties in 2011. Bosa was able to create success out of failure in a highly uncertain market.

Designed by Foster + Partners, the architecture firm that designed the new World Trade Center in New York City, Jameson House is a mixed-use, urban infill project with a street-level heritage component, 138 luxury highrise residential units, 60,000 square feet of office space, ground-floor retail space, and an automated parking system. Combining the restoration of adjacent heritage buildings with new construction, the main objective was to integrate the lower level offices and shops with the existing streetscape to re-invigorate the downtown neighbourhood.

The design makes the most of the city’s fantastic natural setting, with balconies and deep bay windows looking out towards the landscape. Jameson House combines mixed-use with high density and offers a sustainable model for urban living. Praised for its precise travertine tile work and exacting standards of construction, the details within each Jameson House home are as impressive as its glittering façade.

best urban high-rise

Finding its place in a mature neighbourhood of established properties, West Pender Place creates an architectural statement on a narrow and challenging site that is only 23 metres deep. The simple geometric form shifts slightly at each level of the towers to create a dramatic angular leaning gesture in its overall form. Cantilevering three metres out from base to tip at each end of the site, West Pender Place’s clean, faceted prism-like form is anchored by two solid concrete cores. Extensive four-side curtain wall glazing on the east and west sloping portions of the building provide the appearance that the building was carved from a solid block of glass.

Pender Place comprises a highrise tower of 36 storeys (west tower), a mid-rise tower of 10 storeys (east tower) joined by a five-storey podium, all over seven levels of underground parking. This mixed use development consists of a total of 145 residential units with residential and office/commercial uses all above a ground floor with 1,300 square metres of retail space.

best 'outside the box'

Formerly known as East Fraserlands, River District in Southeast Vancouver is a master-planned community developed by ParkLane Homes.

As an innovative approach to real estate marketing, ParkLane conceptualized and constructed the River District Centre (RDC) in order to create a sense of community in an area that was somewhat deficient in ambience and vibrancy. The RDC is an effective marketing tool which draws people to the site and showcases a vibrant and growing community.

The focal points of RDC include a large, state-of-the-art, interactive model that uses light projections to highlight aspects of the project, a giant wall map for site context, a screen and projector for movies and presentations, and innovative, interactive technology.

People post and peruse events and browse activities at the brochure rack and on the community wall. All of this is designed to connect the River District community to the surrounding neighbourhood.

best industrial

At the Langley Gateway Facility, Corix and Wesgroup developed a real estate solution that solved Corix’s immediate space requirements and provided flexibility for future growth and expansion. Wesgroup took Corix through a planning process that uncovered the need for more than just another warehousing and storage facility.

This process resulted in Corix amalgamating four of its offices, warehouses and business units in one strategically located regional hub. Storage efficiency was created by designing a flex area with a 15-foot clear height ceiling located below the office area, thus negating the requirement of doubling up over-height warehouse space. This allowed Corix to reduce its land requirement for an outside yard area.

The 80,000-square-foot building, which officially opened in March 2012, spans two floors and occupies five acres of land. The building includes a warehouse and fabrication shop, and has allowed Corix to centralize operations and employees from four branches previously located in Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley.

best commercial/ retail/ office

The Brewery District is a nine-acre, master-planned community in New Westminster. The site is strategically located across from the Sapperton SkyTrain station and directly across from the Royal Columbian Hospital and consists of 1.4 million square feet of buildable area with residential, office space and retail components. Following extensive public consultation, Wesgroup has developed a multi-faceted, long-term plan for this site, which was a brewery for more than 125 years. To honour the community’s unique history, the Brewery District will retain historical elements from the former brewery, including the original stone wall.

Building Two is the first of eight buildings at Brewery District, and has brought much-needed retail amenities to the neighbourhood. Phase 1 is completed with great commercial success – retail is 95 per cent fully leased and strata office space is 75 per cent sold. Phase 2 is well under construction – 275,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial building that will include TransLink and Transit Police new headquarters, additional retail services and amenities.

best planned community

Utilizing a combination of creative site management and best-in-class planning, Portrait Homes’ Silver Ridge wins the UDI Award for Excellence in the Best Planned Community category.

This master planned community was originally zoned for 640 homes, but widespread blasting and re-shaping of the land would have been required. The site’s naturally sloping topography created opportunities for breathtaking mountain and valley views, so density was reduced to 525 homes, thus preserving more than 40 per cent of the 135-acre site as protected green space.

The environmentally sensitive site contains two creeks, two tributaries, and a wetlands transition area. To protect these natural features, an integrated storm water management system was designed. Silver Ridge offers a variety of housing options to fit consumers’ lifestyle choices and level of affordability – everything from two-bedroom townhomes and fee simple rowhomes to starter and executive style homes.

best single family

Adjacent to the Nicklaus North Golf Course in Whistler, this flagship home showcases sustainable energy-saving technologies to market the Cypress Place Development and to encourage other homeowners to adopt similar innovation.

Accented by a two-storey stone fireplace and animated by a grand two-storey Douglas fir heavy timber beam ceiling, this 3,498-square-foot mountain-contemporary five-bedroom, five-bathroom view home is largely livable all on a single floor. The master bedroom, kitchen, dining, living spaces, media room, and guest bedroom are all on the main floor.

The home is almost completely carbon neutral and showcases some of the best green technologies available. Most materials are from a 500-kilometre radius, such as the local stone from nearby quarry and timbers and siding from local mills. Energy-conscious features include geothermal heating and cooling, heat recovery ventilation, programmable Lutron lighting controls, energy-efficient appliances, spray foam insulated roof, and triple-paned windows.

best urban infill

Designed and constructed using guidelines from the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Building Rehabilitation Program, Salient Developments sought to create a profitable strategy for market residential dwelling by preserving and revitalizing the Paris Block, a historic Gastown building.

Already the recipient of Heritage awards from the City of Vancouver and Heritage BC, the Paris Block/Paris Annex is a six-storey, 46-unit project that incorporates a 1907 Heritage building and a vacant 30-foot lot within a single, phased strata plan. These two unique elements of the project were efficiently constructed using a single core and service structure. This enabled an otherwise undevelopable 30-foot lot flanked by two heritage buildings to yield a new six-storey building while maintaining the historic grain and character of the neighbourhood.

The new Paris Annex is entered and exited through the Paris Block, creating an experience of walking through history as you move through the building.

best heritage

The Hotel Georgia restoration is already recapturing its former glory as a location for the premier social events in downtown Vancouver. The developers assembled two downtown land parcels and created a mixed use development which includes a world class heritage hotel seamlessly integrated with commercial, office and residential accommodation.

First opened in 1927, this Georgian Revival structure welcomed a who’s who of the entertainment world to British Columbia, including Elvis Presley, Katharine Hepburn and members of the Royal Family. Renovated and reconstructed over a five-year period (2006 to 2011) at a total cost of $120 million, the reconstructed hotel features 156 guest suites, a spa, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool, and a signature restaurant and café by renowned chef David Hawksworth.

Interior detailing and finishing such as cornices and mouldings have been restored with modern material to showcase the hotel’s heritage and highlight the level of craftsmanship available in British Columbia.

best low-rise residential

Located in Surrey’s West Newton neighbourhood, Salus by Adera successfully regenerates an aging community by creating a wellness lifestyle development. Anchored by the spectacular Club Aqua day spa, Salus (“wellness” in Latin) focuses on health, rejuvenation and healing – making your home a daily retreat into tranquillity. Club Aqua provides amenity benefits such as an outdoor salt water lap pool, indoor/outdoor whirlpool, aromatic steam shower, infrared sauna, a full gym, and an entertainment mecca that functions as a community social hub.

Utilizing rich, regionally-produced exposed wood laminate structural beams, Salus’s West Coast Modern architecture creates a powerful visual statement. 238 apartment flats and 160 city homes share an interconnected green space with paths for walking/jogging. The 3,500-square-foot rooftop terrace overlooks a saltwater pool and wetlands area. Environmental considerations include sustainable building practices and successful attainment of Built Green Gold certification.

best mid-rise residential

Tapestry at Wesbrook Village is a collection of 46 condominium homes and 134 rental apartments created for active, independent, and healthy west-side seniors. These homes are designed to be sophisticated yet comfortable and appeal to the well-travelled and relatively affluent senior. Two linked six-storey buildings are connected by an elevated interior bridge that spans a greenway.

Condominium homes at Tapestry start at generously sized 854-square-foot one-bedroom and den homes and range up to 1,462-square-foot two-bedroom and den homes. By providing substantially larger homes than traditional seniors communities, seniors are made more comfortable downsizing from single family homes.

Efficient, open floor plans and sophisticated high-end finishes provide purchasers with luxurious, comfortable homes. The “C-shaped” north building creates a large landscaped courtyard which connects Tapestry to neighbouring developments and parklands.

best suburban high-rise

Jewel sets a new benchmark for luxury condominium living in Burnaby. Aimed at a worldly demographic who appreciate quality and tasteful design, Jewel’s spacious floor plans, luxurious interiors and amenities, and boutique hotel ambience make Jewel an exceptionally desirable place to live.

Designed by Chris Dikeakos Architecture, Jewel consists of 130 residential tower homes and four townhomes. Unique to Burnaby, Jewel is positioned at a 45-degree angle to the street with a multi-faceted façade and dramatic porte cochère in the circular driveway entrance.

Only five suites per floor make each home feel like a corner suite. Floor-to-ceiling windows and nine-foot ceilings enhance the 1,100-1,250-square-foot living spaces. Fully-covered private balconies add an additional few hundred feet of outdoor living.

Amenities include full-service concierge, residents’ lounge with chef’s demonstration kitchen and wine bar, expansive terraced garden and patio areas, fitness centre, and a hotel-style jetted hot tub and steam room.

best ground oriented multi-family

Live West Coast is the lifestyle tagline developed by Adera for its seven35 project in North Vancouver. “North Shore living demands urban amenities and refreshing design while embracing a deep respect and responsibility for environmental stewardship,” and Adera delivered that in spades. seven35 has been designed to the highest levels of sustainability – with dual certification as the first multi-family Platinum LEED for Homes project (over 10 units) and the Built Green Gold. The ingenious waste water heat recovery system is the first of its kind in North America for a private residential project, with projected savings of up to 75 per cent.

Stunning West Coast Modern architecture blends seven35 with its surrounding environment adjacent to the Mosquito Creek linear natural park through extensive use of natural materials – wide cedar soffits, vertical cedar elements, stone exterior, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The heritage character of the area was preserved with the display of a plaque and commissioning of public art to commemorate the Plywood Technical Centre.

best affordable housing

Located in one of Vancouver’s most historic buildings, the Burns Block micro-lofts are an innovative housing concept in the heart of the Downtown Eastside near Pigeon Park and the Carrall Street Greenway. The building dates back 100 years and is on the City of Vancouver Heritage Register, and combines heritage restoration with the creation of much-needed market (non-subsidized) rental housing in the area. This newly-refurbished, much talked-about building features 30 self-contained, specially designed micro-lofts ranging in size from 220 to 290 square feet. The design of the units looked to small Japanese spaces in their focus on effective use of space without having to sacrifice beauty and esthetics.

Using creative and careful product selection and innovative thinking about layouts and floor plans produced a customizable and changeable design, which accommodates the critical livability issues and allows for multiple uses of the available floor area. Typical tenants are young, urban-oriented service workers and entry level white collar workers.

best substainable

The UniverCity Childcare Centre is setting a new sustainability standard in North America for architecture and design. Located at the heart of the compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented community currently being developed by the SFU Community Trust on Burnaby Mountain adjacent to Simon Fraser University, the centre aims to be the first building in Canada to be certified under the Living Building Challenge (LBC).

This program was created by the International Living Future Institute as the world’s most advanced green building rating system and is one that goes well beyond the industry’s usual sustainable building standards. Construction on the centre, which has a site area of 2,009 square metres, a floor area of 530 square metres, and a 410-square-metre outdoor play area, began in October 2010 and was completed in December 2011. To meet the LBC, a building must generate more energy than it consumes, collect or recycle more water than it uses, and use only local and non-toxic components in its construction and operation.

best of the okanagan

Already the recipient of three awards recognizing its heritage value, Kelowna’s Laurel Packinghouse is the last remaining vestige of an original packinghouse warehouse for the fruit industry. Originally built in 1918 and completely renovated almost a century later, this community landmark was constructed using clay-fired bricks from nearby Knox Mountain.

The Packinghouse was first renovated in the early 1980s, and indeed was Kelowna’s first Designated Heritage building (1982). But the most recent renovation sought to restore some of the features lost in previous iterations, such as reintroducing new skylights to their original locations, exposing the interior roof structure, and respecting the simplicity of the earlier building.

Focused on promoting Okanagan agri-tourism, the Laurel Packinghouse consists of a 2,000-square-foot museum featuring historical displays from the valley’s early orchard days, as well as a VQA (Vintner’s Quality Alliance) store which markets and sells local wines.

best of vancouver island

Consisting of 152 housing units and 40,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, the Hudson marks the first step in an ambitious revitalization of a mixed-use neighbourhood surrounding Victoria’s historic Hudson Bay Building. Built in 1918, this pivotal property served the city well until 2003, but was vacant and deteriorating until Townline’s purchase in 2005.

Preservation of this important building has been facilitated through a well-managed selective height transfer that will be a catalyst for further developing the emerging Hudson District. Upon completion, the Hudson District will encompass two full blocks containing the six-storey Hudson, three future towers, and much more.

The Georgian exterior with its terracotta façade, fluted columns and ornamental cornices has been restored to its original glory through cleaning and re-grouting. Ninety per cent of the original 243 window frames were preserved and windows were replaced with operable pivot windows with energy-efficient double-paned, thermal-insulated glass.


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