From a glance at the headlines in the newspaper boxes, the B.C. Place replacement story has legs.
PT reader Ron Chin responded to my post on the subject – but I fear his comments might get lost. Here’s what he had to say:
The best solution is to build up close to the existing stadium on all sides (though being careful not to prevent a future new roof on separate supports ringing the perimter of the dome. I understand that there was a plan to build a replacement for the defunct Robson Square Conference Centre adjacent to BC Place before the provincial government started to disband BC Buildings Corp., BC Pavillion Corp, or whatever it was called.
This website has a study that basically fills in the corners around the stadium (consistent with the extension of Smithe St. to the Cooper’s Landing project). http://www.civitasdesign.com/urban.html
The bottom line for me is that you can’t expect a public amenity such as the stadium to not run a deficit. Think of BC Place as an athletic field – i.e. a park. Do parks require subsidies? Do parks make for the highest and best (economic) use of the land (no)? If the BC Place site should be held to that (economic) standard, then any other downtown government owned site should also be held to the same standard and redeveloped with highrises.
If BC Place were demolished and replaced by condos, then you’d have the question of where would you rebuild a new stadium? In each case, downtown Vancouver would take a hit with the loss of economic spin-offs (some relief would be that GMPlace would still be there).
UBC? The most remote part of the City farthest from any other GVRD municipality (but it might spur the extension of the Millennium Line to UBC).
False Creek Flats? Freight rail uses will continue to use the flats well into the future, esp. with increased trade withChina. The Providence Health Care site could be used if the hospital proposal doesn’t pan out, but I’m sure Strathcona residents would prefer a hospital over a stadium in their midst.
The PNE? Poor transit links, although it is close to Hwy 1 and a possible Westcoast Express station could be built.
Surrey? The United Auto Lands near Scott Road could work. Easy access by Skytrain, no immediate neightbours to complain. Could spur a new Patullo Bridge and a commuter rail link on the old interurban line from the Valley through Cloverdale.
Then there would be the isue of whether it would be a covered or outdoor stadium. Seattle demolished the Kingdome, only to replace it with three facilities. Safeco Field (baseball), Qwest Field (football) and an adjacent exhibition centre (325,000 sq ft) for boat shows, auto shows, etc.. Granted, we wouldn’t need a baseball stadium, but we would need replacement exhibition space. http://www.stadium.org/exCenterInformation.asp.
Here’s a map showing the relative footprints: