The former Surrey Public Market site at 64 Avenue and King George Boulevard has been an eyesore for many years.

The former Surrey Public Market site at 64 Avenue and King George Boulevard has been an eyesore for many years.

New life at site of former Surrey Public Market

Surveyors at long-stagnant property have ignited interest in possible new development

The property long described as an eyesore on Surrey’s landscape is inching towards re-development.

Newton’s Jude Hannah saw survey workers measuring the property lines at the site of the former Surrey Public Market on the southeast corner of 64 Avenue and King George Boulevard.

Hannah, of ReNewton Nation, a group looking to revive the community, is thrilled the corner will soon be re-developed.

“I’m happy to see that, and the plan that was approved back in the fall sounds wonderful,” Hannah said Monday, adding she’s remaining cautiously optimistic.

“You know, we’ve been through this before.”

It’s been a long time getting to this point.

The property has changed hands several times since the late 1990s, but nothing has become of it by way of development.

The market was a bustling centre for fresh produce in the early 1990s, but shut down in September 1998.

The property has been dormant ever since, with homeless people often taking up residence in the abandoned building.

Last year, Surrey council endorsed a plan to develop the 7.7-acre property for residential and future commercial buildings.

Civic officials have long described the graffiti-covered building and its overgrown lot as an “eyesore” and have threatened to fine previous owners for allowing the property to fall into that condition.

The current developer is now planning to build 36 apartment units and 40 townhouses at the south end of the property where the former market now stands.

In addition, there is a plan for commercial and mixed use on the corner. The underground parking will be used as part of the new development.

Surrey Public Market was built on top of a stream – a tributary of Hyland Creek, which runs into the Serpentine River.

Requirements for stream setbacks have been an impediment to development over the last 18 years.

Surrey has worked with the developer and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to allow for a less-restrictive no-build zone.

Surrey staff are recommending that the stream-side setback be reduced from 30 metres (100 feet) to five metres (16 feet) to allow for the underground parking and residential development.

The residential part of the project has been given third reading at council and awaits final approval. At third reading, the developer is allowed to conduct survey work on the site.

Calls to the architect associated with the development were not returned by The Leader’s press time Monday.

Hannah said she’ll celebrate when she can see the property actually being developed.

“I’ll be there with Champagne when the bulldozers arrive,” Hannah said.