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Amid Vancouver’s saturated construction market, a leading construction company in Canada is showcasing its expertise with one of its current residential development projects.
Specializing in mass timber buildings and high-rise towers, Urban One Builders CM Inc. has completed several major residential and mixed-use properties throughout Calgary and Vancouver. The construction firm is now working on Cap West, a mixed-used community in North Vancouver.
Cap West will consist of two residential towers housing 460 residential units, townhouses, retail and office spaces, a public plaza and a 24,000 square-foot community center.
“It’s quite a large footprint,” says Dennis Chen, Senior Project Manager at Urban One Builders. “It’s about half a million square feet of leasable space-the majority of it residential. On top of that, we also have a community centre, and we’re building a public plaza, self-storage in the parkade and a couple of [commercial retail units], as well. It’s quite a variety of units available. it has all sorts of different elevations and features. It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter project.”
The project will provide living options that are not currently available in the area, along with new spaces for entertainment and retail.
“These communities will have a higher density than the existing communities, which, in North Vancouver, is mainly single-family homes,” Chen says. “Our project is the first building of the Lion’s Gate Village community. It’s significant because this is where the hub of the community will be. The public plaza and the community centre are at the centre.
It’s significant because this is where the hub of the community will be. The public plaza and the community centre are at the centre.”
Congratulations to Urban One Builders on your Cap West project. Metro Mobile Radio (MMR) is honoured to work with Urban One and we extend our sincerest wishes to them for continued success. Specializing in in-building coverage enhancement for Ecomm/911 first responders as well as Cellular coverage, MMR has a tradition of responsibility and excellence in providing top quality wireless communication systems deployments throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland. MMR have also worked on remote projects over on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. MMR is family owned and has been in the business for over 30 years. MMR is also an airtime provider offering digital wireless communication for mobile fleets working from West Van to Hope. MMR sells, installs and repairs 2-way radios and related devices such as GPS, back up cameras and mobile data terminals.
During the early stages of the project, soil conditions created obstacles for the team.
“We’re situated in a riverbed, and the ground conditions are very complicated,” Chen says. “there were a lot of big boulders we encountered on the ground. We had to dig down three levels for our parkade, and it created some challenges and some delays.”
The labor shortage in Vancouver also presents an ongoing challenge for Urban One, especially on large projects like Cap West. The firm is working with approximately 25 different subcontractors and trades companies, which has necessitated a high level of communication and coordination to work through potential construction challenges.
“Vancouver is a very busy market, and there’s a lot of construction happening. It’s very hard to get the number of tradesmen we need to staff such a large project,” Chen says. “It’s always been a challenge to have the number of bodies you need and also get the number of qualified people.”
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Cap West is a 28-month project with two occupancy phases. The first phase was recently completed, with some tenants already occupying their units. The majority of the remaining units are expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
As tenants begin to occupy their units, Urban One will continue working toward the project’s completion. This has required significant planning on behalf of the construction team to mitigate noise and safety concerns.
The complexity of the project has been made even greater by the need for the two Cap West towers to have distinct designs.
“We have a 12-story tower and an 18-story tower. The district has mandated that these two towers be designed in such a way that it looks like they were built at separate times,” Chen says. “What that means is the finishes on one tower differ from the other. It looks great because it looks like it’s two different projects, but it was challenging, because you have to basically work out twice the amount of detail that you would normally have to.”
but it was challenging, because you have to basically work out twice the amount of detail that you would normally do.”
Despite the various obstacles, Chen attributes Urban One’s success on the project to the firm’s hands-on leadership team and overall camaraderie.
“I think it’s a great team here,” he says. “The upper management of this company really pays attention to the project itself and has a lot of interaction with the project managers. We get a lot of support from our upper management. Having a team approach and cooperation between all the trades is very important. There are a million interacting pieces to a large project like this, and for it to go smoothly, you need everybody to be working together. Fostering that team approach is vital for success.”
As the new centre of North Vancouver’s burgeoning Lion’s Gate Village, the Cap West project is one of magnitude for Urban One.
“This is the anchor project of a new community,” Chen says. “There’s construction happening right now around our building, and in ten years, there’s probably going to be 10 more finished construction projects with thousands of people living here. This particular project will be right in the middle of it.
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