Wesgroup’s 25-Storey MODE in Vancouver’s River District Now Complete

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About two and a half years after construction began, Wesgroup Properties’ 25-storey MODE residential building in Vancouver’s River District is officially complete.

Construction on the project began in May 2020, and a representative on behalf of Wesgroup tells STOREYS that residents will start moving in on Monday, December 12.

MODE sits at 3438 West Sawmill Crescent, between Marine Way and the Fraser River, and is the latest addition to the River District, an area in southeast Vancouver, near the boundary with Burnaby, that’s seen a significant wave of redevelopment recently, in large part due to the Wesgroup.

MODE houses a total of 257 strata units, including one-bedroom units starting at about 600 sq. ft, two-bedroom units starting at close to 900 sq. ft, three-bedroom townhouse units around 2,000 sq. ft, as well as live-work units up to nearly 1,800 sq. ft.

Wesgroup MODE River District
Wesgroup MODE River District
Wesgroup MODE River District
Residential units at MODE. (Wesgroup Properties)

The building also includes a variety of amenity spaces, including an indoor/outdoor dining space and kitchen, theatre, fitness centre, bar, outdoor hot tub, a dog-wash station, carwash, bike-repair space, and a large work space with meeting tables, individual booths, and conference rooms, much akin to co-working offices.

That variety and flexibility in unit types and amenities is where MODE gets its name from.

Wesgroup MODE River District
Wesgroup MODE River District
Amenity spaces at MODE. (Wesgroup Properties)

MODE is designed by Perkins&Will and Ciccozzi Architecture, with Wesgroup noting that “strong materials are at the heart of MODE’s architectural statement, with a mix of modern and industrial details adding style and privacy to the building’s podium level.” Those industrial-influenced design details are a nod to the history of the area, which was once home to White Pine Mill. The curve of the building’s façade also follows the curve on the road it sits on.

In a City of Vancouver Development Permit Board document, City staff also noted that “the design of the podium references to the historical ‘working river’ context of the site, in its material palette and character.” Staff described the facade as “a screen of vertical, filigreed, metal fins,” that not only incorporate industrial materials in a contemporary design, but provide much-needed shade and privacy to the residential units.

The River District

MODE is part of the second phase of development planned for the River District community, which the City of Vancouver refers to as the East Fraser Lands (EFL). The area — between Kerr Street and Boundary Road in southeast Vancouver — is approximately 130 acres, with over 1.5 km of waterfront paths. Wesgroup owns a majority of the land, often calling it the last developable waterfront neighbourhood in Vancouver.

The River District. (Wesgroup Properties)

Wesgroup describes the neighbourhood as “a diverse, connected community” and “close to everything yet away from it all.”

Much of the area was rezoned over a decade ago, with numerous projects now in various stages of development, including the 268-unit Paradigm, the 204-unit Ardea, and the 329-unit Avalon 3. In October, the Vancouver Park Board also approved two new parks for the River District, with more expected in the future.

Development of the area has been impacted — like many things — by the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with multiple projects suffering construction delays and subsequent rising costs.

In early 2021, the City of Vancouver conducted a review of the East Fraser Lands development plan, publishing a 176-page report that acknowledged although many amenities were completed, many highly anticipated ones — a childcare facility, community centre, and transportation improvements — were still absent. However, amendments to the East Fraser Lands Official Development Plan were approved to facilitate addressing those concerns.

Once complete, the River District will include upwards of 250,000 sq. ft of retail space, 25 acres of green space, and 7,000 homes that will house over 15,000 people.

Howard is a Staff Writer at STOREYS. He is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has also written about media for One Zero and international politics for WhoWhatWhy. Before STOREYS, he was also the Deputy Editor of 604 Now.

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