Students compete to redesign area around Evergreen Line station

Students have been invited to create mixed-use commercial development plans for Coquitlam Centre Station on the new Evergreen SkyTrain line.

TransLink will consider using students' mixed-use commercial real estate development plans

The 14-acre area around the Evergreen Line's Coquitlam Centre Station is mostly open space and parking. (Google Maps)

Students from Vancouver, Seattle and Portland have been invited to create mixed-use commercial development plans for Coquitlam Centre Station on the new Evergreen SkyTrain line. 

The invitation is part of the 14th Annual Pacific Northwest Real Estate Challenge hosted in Canada for the first time.

The competition is organized by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and will involve 40 real estate students from UBC, the University of Washington and Portland State University.

"We thought this was a really neat opportunity to provide these students with a real-world chance to envision redevelopment of a major site like this," said TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan. 

TransLink isn't under any obligation to use the the winning design, but Bryan says the transportation authority will consider implementing the plans.

Parking and open space

When the Evergreen line opened last month, the station became TransLink's busiest hub, but the area immediately around it is mostly parking and open space — although Coquitlam Centre Mall is nearby.

"It's a site that they haven't been able to give a lot of attention because they have a lot of other things going on, but it's definitely in their gun sights in the next 10 to 15 years," said Jarvis Rouillard, the association's president.

"Really what we're trying to do is create a real life case study for the students," .

The competition kicks off January 14. The university teams have until March to come out with their submissions.

They will then present their ideas in front of a panel of judges, TransLink officials, and members of commercial real estate industry.

With files from Deborah Goble