A Langley developer is hoping that its new shopping, office, and residential hub will become the walkable centre of the Yorkson neighbourhood.
Qualico is building the Willoughby Town Centre, a development that wraps around Willoughby Elementary at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue.
The nine-phase project is partially done, with three phases currently in development.
The centre currently includes a grocery store, and will eventually include street-level commercial spaces and condos.
A sales presentation centre will open for the first phase of condos in April.
Even outside of downtown Vancouver, people are looking for a broad choice of where to live, said Hugh Carter, Qualico's vice president of community and commercial development.
"This style of development has been around for hundreds of years," Carter said.
He pointed to Europe as an obvious example, where people have lived above shops and offices since the Middle Ages.
Locally, villages like Fort Langley still retain similar plans, with commercial-residential cores surrounded by more fully residential neighbourhoods.
Fort Langley is one of the oldest town centres in the Lower Mainland. In more recent decades, communities like Walnut Grove and Brookswood were developed with the car more in mind. Neighbourhoods grew and evolved with a commercial centre surrounded by a ring of housing.
Customers are asking for walkable neighbourhoods where they can park their car for the weekend, Carter said.
"There's a lively sort of street experience that will evolve over time," Carter said.
Sidewalks have already been built through the town centre, and within days of their opening, they were attracing walkers and joggers, noted Carter.
Eventually, the town centre will be connected via sidewalks and greenways to a number of neighbouring streets, including 206th to the west, and to the community park planned for the area north of 80th Avenue.
"I see this as the hub for the Yorkson neighbourhood," Carter said.