Evolving Neighbourhoods Series: A history of progression

Jan 31, 2017 12:01:49 PM

North Shore residents have always been quite forward thinking, even since the days before the community was officially known as North Vancouver.


Moodyville, now a neighbourhood of North Van a few blocks east of Lonsdale, was once the most advanced and thriving community in Burrard Inlet. Named after the owner of the sawmill that was opened at the mouth of Lynn Creek in 1863, Moodyville quickly grew to boast a school, post office and a hotel – all before Gastown was even incorporated across the water.

Moodyville began to feel pressure to join North Vancouver in the early 1900s. It was eventually absorbed in 1925, and the low-level road and rail line came through in 1927. In the 40s and 50s, most of the land in question was part of the Pattison (no relation to Jim) estate – a huge tranche of manicured land occupying what is now approximately four city blocks between 1st, 3rd, Moody and St David’s. This was sold and picked apart beginning in 1959, at which point it took the form with which we’re now familiar.

154 years after the beginning, and some 60 years after those detached homes were first put together, Moodyville is on the forefront of developmental innovation again. The entire area is being reinvented and re-vitalised, providing myriad options for rental and freehold attached and semi-detached housing over the coming years.

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The modern era
One of the largest players in the game is Seacliff Developments, a Vancouver-based firm that has assembled 52 detached homes across 8.5 acres below 2nd Street. Speculation can be had whether Seacliff will be the end-of-day master-planner on this whole parcel, or if it will be sold off to others in parts, or even as a whole chunk. Regardless, the proposal going through council and public consultation calls for up to 350 homes in all shapes and sizes, from rental apartments to market condos, townhomes and rowhomes, some with secondary suites for that ever-elusive mortgage helper. A bonus: every home in the plan will go through Passive House or LEED Gold certification, with special attention given to energy efficiency and noise insulation, something worth investing in as densification increases.

In real time, the main artery of 3rd Street is already seeing active redevelopment. Fairborne is one builder well familiar with North Van, having erected the Time, First Street West, and Capstone buildings in Lower Lonsdale. They’re in the process of selling and building the Kindred, a two-phase project launching the second sales cycle this week, and which hugs the south side of 3rd between Moody and Ridgeway.

That’s just one set of new buildings coming, so the City of North Van is being sure to carefully control the development with an eye to traffic management, home cost/availability, and overall neighbourhood feel.  At 3rd & Moody, another local developer is planning to build 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses, with attached garages and with lock-off suites, able to be rented or expanded into as families grow.

The work around Moodyville brings with it a focus on green space and cyclist/pedestrian infrastructure. Most exciting is the ongoing work on the Spirit Trail, the eventual link from Deep Cove to Dundarave, an answer to Vancouver’s encircling seawall. While much of the portion passing by Moodyville Park is already complete, it will likely be a wonderful way to get east or west when it’s all finished up, and the Park & Tilford hub and Lower Lonsdale will feel much closer for everyday day needs.

A tighter – and tighter-knit – community
I’m excited about North Van City’s forward-thinking approach to Moodyville. As with every large-scale reworking of an old neighbourhood, it will take a while to get there, and there will be moaning and groaning while it happens. Just as individuals must adapt their living situations to their stage in life, so must communities reinvent themselves as demographics change. And as Vancouver-born Charles Montgomery suggests and proves in his enlightening book Happy City, we are invariably better off as humans with more people around, close access to walk and bike ways, and less reliance on automobiles within our cities.

If you want more information about what’s happening in Moodyville or elsewhere in North Van, give your  local Harcourts Realtor a call.

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Topics: Real Estate, North Vancouver, Land Development, Community