Development for Coquitlam Central Station wins challenge

A proposed design for development at Coquitlam Central Station, created by students at UBC, won the Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge yesterday.

The NAIOP real estate challenge has been held in Canada and the U.S. for 14 years and the Vancouver chapter hosted the competition for the first time, this year.

The team of eight undergraduate students who worked on the design was inspired by transit oriented developments, TOD’s, in Whistler and Metro Vancouver.

“Our team really wanted to enhance the pedestrian environment and encourage transit use because the [Evergreen Line], West Coast Express and bus loop were all one site. So that was the perfect place for a mixed-use community. We were also inspired by pedestrian environment, Whistler Village and also the mix of uses in other TOD’s in the area such as Marine Gateway, the future site for Brentwoood and other TOD’s in Metro Vancouver,” said Briana Mussatto whose focus was the design and planning of the project.


Photo submitted courtesy of Briana Mussatto

A 55-storey building at the corners of Lougheed Highway and Barnet Highway was another key feature in the design, received a nod from Coquitlam’s mayor, Richard Stewart.

“The Mayor of Coquitlam really liked our statement tower idea and how it was a mixed-use high density community right at that site. It is the place to have a signature Coquitlam building.”

TransLink sponsored the challenge and the students developed their design according to the transit company’s preferences.

Mussatto said her role was “to design a product for TransLink that would meet all of their objectives as well as potentially [being] approved by [Coquitlam city] council.”

The students who are majoring in real estate, are in their final year at the UBC Sauder School of Business and worked on the challenge while they still carried their regular course load.


Left to Right: Scott Marshall, Winston Liang, Stephanie Yeargin, Winnie Ng, Andrei Burlacu, Briana Mussatto, Ryan Weafer, Guang Yow Low. Photo submitted courtesy of Briana Mussatto

The students consulted Coquitlam’s planning documents that are online to take into account the city’s plans for neighbourhood development.

Mentors in the planning and architecture sectors in Metro Vancouver were on hand throughout the project.

We worked with many mentors in the community that helped us put this together. We kept in contact with many students that graduated from UBC that are planners as well as just contacts in the industry we have. I don’t believe the architect mentors graduated from UBC but they definitely do have ties to Sauder,” Mussatto said.

Mussatto and the other members of the team applied to participate in the challenge and were selected by a Tsur Somervill, director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate.

“I really wanted to be apart of the competition because I heard it was one of the best things to do while at university and it was. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in school,” Mussatto said.


Number of Coquitlam households on BC Housing waitlist rose consistently from 2010-2016


 Coquitlam ranked highest in the number of Tri-City households that were on the BC housing waitlist, from 2010-2016. The number of Coquitlam households on the waitlist increased from 360 to 654 over the five-year period.

The largest increase in the number of Coquitlam households on the waitlist occurred from 2010-2011 when 90 households applied for subsidized housing. The second highest increase for applications for rent-to-income homes by households in the city occurred from 2015-2016 when 70 households applied for subsidized homes.

The number of households on the waitlist in Port Coquitlam decreased from 179 to 168 in 2011-2012 and to 156 in 2013. Requests for BC housing in the city jumped from 156 to 170 in 2013-2014 and from 170 to 191 in 2014-2015.

In Port Moody the number of households on the waitlist decreased from 52 to 48 in 2013-2014 before increasing to 70 in 2015 and 74 in 2016.

BC Housing owns housing units in different parts of Metro Vancouver.

The Coquitlam city council has had a housing strategy in place since 2007 and depends on partnerships in the non-profit, private and public sectors to address housing affordability.

Data source: Metro Vancouver Housing Data Book, 2016