424 and 454 West Pender Street

424 & 454 blog2Here are two new rezoning proposals. They’re on the same block, apparently designed by the same architect for the same developer, but separated by a heritage building that clearly is going nowhere (or the building would have been included in a larger scheme). They’re both 11-storey mixed-use buildings with retail at grade: 424 has 72 units of rental housing and 454 has 69 units, also secured market rental.

424 & 454 blog1The developer is Onni – for now there’s nothing confirming who the architect is.

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1500 West Georgia Street

1500 W GeorgiaEight months ago we noted that it had been known for a while that Bosa Properties, in conjunction with Kingswood Capital, had acquired the iconic Rhone and Iredale designed triangular 1500 W Georgia office building in 2014.

While the office is a well performing asset, it’s the opportunity to add a residential tower to the site that prompted their purchase. The architect has published images of the idea for that tower, designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, probably best known for his China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing when he was with Rem Koolhaas at OMA.

Last June 235 condos were proposed in a 51 storey structure. Now there’s an open house for the revised version which will have 219 condos in 43 storeys, to fit under the viewcone across the site. The developers either hadn’t read the West End Plan that allowed them to design a higher building here in the first place – or hoped their design would somehow allow them to ignore it. “Building heights should not exceed view corridor limits (except Queen Elizabeth View Corridor where consistent with the General Policy for Higher Buildings).” While the description has changed, the images still show the overheight version (for now). (There’s also an ‘across Burrard Inlet’ picture that conveniently ignores the towers in front of it, making it look like a waterside property!)

1500 W Georgia 2The existing plaza (which has one of the city’s best water walls) would be retained and added to; there was a theatre proposed in a prominent box, and some fancy energy arrangements powering the lower floors from the upper parts of the tower. We assume those features remain in the new version.

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535 Granville Street

535 GranvilleMost of the blocks up the hill 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.

You can see the appearance of the Bentall designed building as it appeared in 2014, and what was here before that was developed when it was home to the Canadian National Railway office (developed and designed by Thomas Fee) here.

Having been sold to new owners, they have radically changed the appearance by taking the existing almost windowless stone facade off and repurposed the space as offices, replacing the stone with this disconcertingly asymmetrical glazed curtain wall designed by Studio One Architects.

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Ellsworth – 2290 Main Street


ellsworth blogWe first featured 2290 Main Street at the end of January 2013, and showed the picture (below) of the model of the building in the fall of that year. Council approved the rezoning, it received a Development Permit and sales started as ‘Focal’. After over a year of sales the project was rebranded as ‘Paragon’ and a new sales centre was promised. That never materialized, and now the building has a new name – Ellsworth, and a new developer, Chard Developments, now preselling the project. The new render shows their version to be reasonably faithful to the original design, with the same massing, height and number of suites.

2290 Main modelFor now this is still the site is a former used car dealers lot on the ‘2nd to 7th’ stretch of Main Street that is currently mostly small scale industrial and auto-related use. However, the Mount Pleasant Plan allows the possibility of rezoning, and this is a location that the plan contemplated buildings close to those already around it – like the 10-storey District that’s behind it.

The rezoning was designed by Arno Matis Architecture for a nine storey building on the entire site, although the top three storeys are quite a bit smaller. Like his Cambie Street project, the new proposal was a striking contemporary design that would contrast with the much more cautious Busby Associates design of the 10-storey No. 1 Kingsway (which includes the Mount Pleasant library and Community Centre) to the south. The project has commercial space at grade, artists production space and some artists live-work studios. The building will be set back a little from Main Street with landscaping and seating in front.

This model is the one that went to the Urban Design Panel, who gave it enthusiastic support. The model shows the materials proposed were wood panel and glass – and as it’s rezoned, the building will still have to perform at a LEED Gold level.

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1661 Davie Street

1661 davie

There are already two rental residential towers already approved on this block, one to the north, and one across the street. Now Westbank have submitted an application for two more towers located on top of a redeveloped Safeway store.

This is Westbank’s third rental project in the West End, and as with the other two it’s designed by Henriquez Partners Architects. The Safeway will be replaced, and there would be 319 rental apartments, including 86 2-bedroom and 18 3-bedroom units.

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288 East Hastings Street

288 E Hastings

We first published this proposal for the corner of Gore Avenue and East Hastings in October last year. It’s the first to emerge from the Downtown Eastside Plan under the new DEOD zoning rules that only permit rental housing – and requires 40% of the space (and 60% of the units) to be used for non-market housing. Having received support from the Urban Design Panel, the project has already been cleared by the Development Permit Board – here’s the model of the approved project.

Endall Elliot designed the 12-storey building with retail on the main floor and 172 units of rental housing, with 104 of them being non-market units. The developer is Wall Financial, partnering with BC Housing for the non-market part of the building. On our historical blog we looked at the site nearly 40 years ago, and at the Empress Theatre that first occupied this corner.

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1380 Hornby Street

1380 Hornby blogGrosvenor Americas, the North American arm of the Duke of Westminster’s property empire have submitted a rezoning application for a very sharp looking tower to sit on a small site where Hornby meets Pacific. Formerly the home of Il Giardino restaurant, the site includes the Leslie House, a heritage home that this application suggests would be moved to the corner of the lot, with a slim 39 storey residential tower alongside.

The 212 residential units include ground-oriented townhouses as well as one, two and three bedroom units. Two architectural firms are identified on the drawings: acdf architecture from Montreal (who also designed the new hotel and casino complex by BC Place stadium) and IBI Group Architects.


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