137 Keefer Street

137 Keefer modelWe had noticed some site cleanup on a 25 foot lot on Keefer Street (to the east of the heritage building with the Keefer bar). Now we know what’s initially been proposed to go there – “To develop a nine-storey, multiple-family dwelling building with a commercial retail unit on the main floor, providing 19 parking spaces over four levels (via automated parking system) having vehicular access from the lane”.

It headed to the Urban Design Panel this week, and was not supported. The minutes aren’t available yet, but we understand the panel didn’t appreciate the style of the building, which needs work to make it fit better into the intent of the Chinatown design guidelines.

The plans for the 14 unit project were drawn up by Stantec Architecture, but the delegation to the panel confirmed the design is associated with the developer, James Schouw, most recently responsible for Artimesia on Hornby Street (and earlier Grace, on Seymour).

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Main and Union

Main & Union

This isn’t a rezoning proposal yet, but no doubt something like it will appear as a proposal soon. It’s for a site that’s one of very few where the Downtown Eastside Plan allows the possibility of 150 feet tall buildings. On the corner between V6A and Ginger, Studio One Architecture have posted a picture of a building that has a cornice at a similar height to those buildings, and a taller element set back from that cornice.

Currently there’s a tired hostel that’s supposed to be a Single Room Occupancy hotel, a former vegetarian restaurant that still retains a yoga studio, the Brickhouse club (which is seldom if ever open these days) and the virtual reality version of history represented by the Jimi Hendrix shrine (as there’s no actual direct connection between Jimi and the shrine’s location, which started life as a cab stand and was later a storage room for a now-demolished restaurant).

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Vya – 235 Kingsway


225_Kingsway_vya_renderThis condo project proposed for Mount Pleasant first appeared here in May. It’s on Kingsway, right next door to a proposed rental building. This isn’t a rezoning, and it’s already got the thumbs up from the Urban Design Panel.

235 KingswayThe fancy new render (above) is a little less accurate about the surroundings than the render in the development permit (left). The building to the north, a hotel, is a bit taller than the grey box on the left in the new render suggests, and the proposed rental building (which hasn’t been approved yet) has disappeared altogether.

The building – now called Vya – will see 43 apartments built over retail space in a 6-storey building. It’s designed by Robert Ciccozzi Architecture for developer Portliving.

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311 East 6th Avenue


311 E 6th v2

This project appeared a few weeks ago as a mystery development. It’s had an address in Mount Pleasant, a bit of a description: “To develop new mixed use building with artist studios and residential units” and a date for the Development Permit Board in September.

311 E6thIt went to the Urban Design Panel in July, and we learned that the architects are IBI Group. As it’s proposed under zoning it can proceed reasonably fast – but not until the architects revised design gets the OK following the unanimous non-support of the UDP members to the first version (on the right).

It seems to be called The Wohlsein’ – an odd choice unless you know that it’s a toast to good health, and that there’s a picture of the employees of Doering and Marstrand Brewery in Mount Pleasant in 1890 with ‘Wohlsein’ as the caption.


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535 Granville Street

535 GranvilleMost of the blocks to the south of here are part of the Pacific Centre Mall. This building stands alone, and was originally built in the mid 1980s, designed by Charles Bentall, Architect, which would suggest it might well have been developed by the Bentall investment company. Before the existing building was developed it was home to the Canadian National Railway office developed and designed by Thomas Fee.

It was recently sold to new owners who are planning to radically change the appearance by taking the existing almost windowless stone facade off and replacing it with this glazed curtain wall designed by Studio One Architects.

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420 Hawks Avenue

420 HawksHere’s an interesting project that is in the very early days – the developer, the Atira Women’s Resource Society have developed a preliminary proposal to build a much more ambitious recycled shipping container housing scheme. It would be on Hawks Avenue behind the Rice Block, a heritage building currently getting a comprehensive restoration. Atira developed the recent Alexander Street container housing that was clearly considered successful enough to replicate. We can’t find any existing container-based housing seven storeys tall, so this could be a first.

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1601 Comox Street

1601 ComoxGrace Court is a 1912 7-storey 26 unit concrete apartment building designed by R MacKay Fripp for D D Hutchinson. When it was built it cost $40,000 and filled just over half the lot it sits on. Recent changes to the West End zoning from the West End Plan allow an infill building on the remainder of the site. (Generally the infill is allowed on the lane, although in this case it’s the end lot so it will be addressed as 1071 Cardero Street).

Designed by Ankenman Marchand it’s one of three projects now working their way through the permitting system. (These are not rezonings, so shouldn’t take as long). The four storey infill proposed has 11 units, with 5 2-bed family units, including those on the main floor, and the other six 1-bed. They can only be rental units, and the architects describe the project as “architecturally designed in a contemporary style”.


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