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North Shore’s Shipyards mixes heritage with community space

Warren Frey
North Shore’s Shipyards mixes heritage with community space
QUAY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT - A rendering shows the restored heritage buildings that anchor the recently completed Shipyards development in North Vancouver.

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – An old area of North Vancouver is new again.

The Shipyards is a recently completed 84,000 sq. ft mixed-use development featuring commercial and community space adapted from a historic industrial area on the north side of the Burrard Inlet in the Lower Mainland.

The site will feature a water play area which converts to an ice rink during winter months, a boutique hotel, commercial space and performance areas and a satellite campus for Capilano University and incorporates old industrial buildings into the overall design.

Before the Shipyards was converted into a mixed-use area, remnants of its industrial past had to be mitigated.

“The whole site was an active shipyard going back to the turn of the century, so the site was contaminated,” Quay Property Management president Gary Mathiesen said. “We had to worry about high tides and excavate contamination down to glacial till. Anything remaining we sealed off with the parking slab.”

“We also sealed off the whole site with secant piles, to ensure the site is water tight,” he added.

Great care was taken to preserve the historical character of the area while adding new amenities, Mathiesen said.

“We rebuilt and maintained the historic look of the site, and we needed a heritage alteration permit from the city to do that. We also added flotsam and jetsam from the original site, such as chains and ship hulls,” he said.

New performance and gathering spaces were built under a new, open version of the historic machine shop that once occupied the site.

“We tried to rebuild the original machine shop, but it was determined that it was too old and couldn’t withstand it, so we made an exact replica and put it in the same spot less a foot,” Mathiesen said. “we used Londsale Energy Corporation, so we use heating and cooling from the energy loop and the ice chiller rejects excess heat back into the loop.”

Mathiesen singled out the city of North Vancouver as a partner in the process, both for their original vision for the site and their work with Quay Property Management during and after construction.

“It was the vision of the city and former North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto and council to develop the North Shore and the lower Lonsdale waterfront,” Methiesen said. “The City engaged (urban development expert) Roger Brooks from Seattle, who specializes in animating downtown spaces. His concept crystallized for the mayor and council how to make the shipyards precinct into a new area with concerts, an outdoor ice rink, and community space.”

He added the city was also an excellent partner during the building phase of the Shipyards.

“The City of North Vancouver was incredibly cooperative about going in with joint possession. They allowed us to get tenants in before finally occupancy, and then we could build in conjunction with finding tenants,” Mathiesen said.

“Most of the tenants are opening in the next 30 to 60 days. We feel we shortened the time from shovels in to all tenants in by six months,” he added.

Construction on the Shipyards began in April 2017 and was completed this summer.

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