Development Watch August 3, 2023

Williams (Willoughby) Summer 2023 New Home Construction Update

The Williams Neighbourhood Community Plan was the final plan to be adopted in Willoughby, on October 1, 2018. At that moment, a whole lot of properties transferred into the names of a few large companies. Qualico Mitchell Williams LLC, a joint venture between Qualico and the Michell Group, and the Martini Group, are the developers that are more or less developing the majority of the Williams neighbourhood. Although the map of development activity looks like a mess of a lot of small projects, there are actually just a handful of applications with a lot of overlapping activity. I’ll do my best to make sense of what you’ll see below.

Williams Development Application Map

North of 83rd Avenue

21305 83rd Avenue

There are only 5 lots in the Williams plan between 83rd Avenue and Highway 1 and there are currently two applications in stream. However, one of the applications is actually part of a larger project to the south. This makes sense because according the plan, the entire section east of the one lot is the designated “Business Park” as part of the large Martini film studios project.

However, living next to this northern section of the film studios is proposed to be 31 townhomes at 21305 83rd Avenue. This application was submitted back in December of 2020 and still hasn’t been in front of council.

Current Applications at the Township of Langley:

  • 21305 83 Avenue: 31 townhomes
  • 21427 83 Avenue: Part of a 9-building 730,689 ft2 “industrial/office” application

83rd Avenue to 80th Avenue

On a sliver of land along 212th Street there will be a number of single family homes, already passed 3rd Reading in summer 2022, for 22 single family lots. This application is by Qualico Mitchell Williams LLC, which is also proposing the large townhome project directly to the east. While the original plan was to have 173 townhomes, it was reduced to 163 to address some concerns by nearby residents.

As we move east, we have the more substantial project, which, if you live in the area, you will undoubtedly see the clearing of land. Here we have the much anticipated home of the Martini Film Studios, as announced by Gemma Martini back in 2019. Again, this is yet another joint venture between the Martini Group of companies with the Mitchell Group. What you see in the map and rendering above are 9 industrial/buildings totalling 730,689 ft2 of floor space. Additionally, there is a protected streamside are to the north east, 2 surface parking lots in the north, plus an “interface buffer” between the western buildings and the highway.

Of course, what is missing from this site plan is the commercial sector in the south along 80th Avenue (see below), currently titled the Williams Neighbourhood Commercial Gateway. This commercial area is part of the same “Business Park” rezoning application as the film studios, but it has a separate development permit. This sector is being built by Lorval Developments – a company some recognizable names, being headed by Thomas Martini as CEO and Shawn Bouchard (VP of Quadra Homes). This proposal has 12 buildings of varying height, including a hotel, grocery store, gas bar, and a lot of surface parking. Overall, there will be 312,672 sq.ft. of floor space between its “Commercial Convenience”,

Williams Neigbhourhood Commercial Gateway

Current Applications at the Township of Langley:

South of 80th Avenue

Proposed Townhomes & School Site

The Williams plan designates the land south of 80th Avenue as the primary residential area of the plan. As of now, there are no apartments designated for this area, with land use being limited to townhomes in the north and west, with the remainder being single family homes. Development applications have so far focused on the northern section, with the largest project by Qualico Mitchell Williams LLC being held up since last summer. At the first council meeting of term on November 14, 2022, the Mayor and Council reconsidered the third reading, with one councillor having questions about “walkability and density” and council referred it back to the developer. It hasn’t come back since. The site also proposed what would be the Williams neighbourhood school and park site.

To the east of that held up project is another development submitted in July 2021 by Paddington Properties with a proposal for 16 single family lots and 42 townhome units along the 21400 block of 80th Avenue. Directly next door is a similar application, by Riverport Construction, but half the size, for another 21 townhomes and 8 single family lots, first submitted this past January. Completing the frontage along 80th Avenue towards 216th Street is a larger application submitted back in August 2018, also by Qualico Mitchell Williams LLP. This development for another 93 townhomes and 20 single family lots was also put on hold (reconsidered and the deferred) by the new council back in November 2022 after having already received 3rd reading the previous term.

If the two Qualico Mitchell Williams projects come back with higher density applications, which seems to be what council was leaning towards, it will be interesting to see what Paddington Properties and Riverport Construction do with their smaller proposals, considering that they are sandwiched in between. Any changes to the designation may affect the central developments.

Finally, there is one more application to point out, but I somewhat doubt that it will move forward in its present form. Why? Because it was submitted months before the 2018 plan was adopted and they were only asking for 5 lots (1 home per acre) on what ended up becoming designated for single family lots at 10 units per acre (UPA). I wouldn’t be surprised that Township staff guides this one to be over 40 homes instead of 5.

Current Applications at the Township of Langley:

  • 21200 Block of 80 Avenue: 327 townhomes & 7 single family lots (PUBLIC HEARING – July 11, 2022, 3rd Reading Deferred November 14, 2022)
  • 21406 & 21446 80 Avenue: 42 townhomes & 16 single family lots
  • 21456 80th Avenue: 21 townhomes & 8 single family lots
  • 7941 & 7993 216 Street and 21480 & 21536 80 Avenue: 93 townhomes & 20 single family lots (PUBLIC HEARING – July 11, 2022, 3rd Reading Deferred November 14, 2022)
  • 21300 Block of 78 Avenue: 5 single family lots


Williams Land Use Map