As if the remarkable number of recent new major office proposals wasn’t enough, here’s another rezoning application in the Downtown core. It’s not insignificant either – it’s over 400,000 sq ft of offices in a 31 storey building (with 2 floors of retail) proposed for the corner of West Pender and Thurlow Street, on the block that already has the first four Bentall towers. Designed by Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership for Bentall Kennedy it would replace a small existing office building and a parkade. The design and scale is very similar to the Bentall 5 tower by the same architects nearby – perhaps this will be Bentall 5.2.
This view shows what the building would look like looking east along West Pender. The building, like MCM’s recent design for Bentall on Thurlow Street, now under construction, will have slightly larger floors on the upper part of the building.
This project is pushing the boundary of the area we cover (the Metro Core, pretty much) but it’s an intriguing building that apparently might proceed. As more and more small housing units get built, demand for mini storage units goes up – and small businesses use their services as well. Some of the existing buildings that meet the need for storage are also disappearing, especially Downtown. So the new buildings that are being developed are getting bigger – but none as much as this 8-storey design by Christopher Bozyk for a small site on the north side of Powell Street near the railtracks.
It’s deja vu (again). Here’s a 29 unit 4-storey project with 5 units of non-market housing on the main floor designed by Gair Williamson. Last time it was called The Cordovan and construction of that project is apparently imminent.
This time the new project is located a bit further east, and the facade is slightly less industrial – but the plan is essentially the same. It shouldn’t face too many challenges, although it may be one of the last market housing schemes in this area for a while, as the new Downtown Eastside Plan suggests a much higher requirement for non-market housing in future, and all rental required in this sub-area (Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District) over the base zoning of 1 FSR.
Here’s a building that’s just seeing construction completed. Replacing the Farmer Building, a three storey building dating from 1922, the new MCM designed office and retail project adds a bit more volume (and additional office space) at the corner of Robson and Granville, across the street from the re-purposed Eatons/Sears building.
Most of the second floor of the new building (and obviously part of the main floor as well) has been leased to Old Navy, the Gap’s low-budget cousin. The original rather odd perspective image from the architect’s website from earlier in the year shows there have been a few design changes. The top of the building is pale – not black, and the canopies match. An evening image would show green lighting draws attention to the angles, indented second floor glazing. The restoration of the Bank of Commerce facade has also been completed really well, and although you can’t see it in this image, the coloured terra cotta of the storefront looks like new.
Alexandra, a West End on again, off again project that sits on the corner of Davie and Bidwell is now complete. It’s a 19 storey tower designed by Henriquez Partners Architects which incorporates the facade of Maxine’s; most recently a restaurant but before that a beauty school. As with Chinatown, there are unsubstantiated claims for underground tunnels and (it is said) gentleman’s club and brothel – almost certainly part of the city’s apparent desperation to appear to be more exciting than it really is!
The project includes rental units in the podium, as well as 85 condos in the tower. The project was first proposed by Millennium Properties, fell foul of their Olympic Village financial collapse, and was resurrected with the help of Concord Pacific.
Many of the elements that were in the render are apparent in the finished project. The podium is less industrial looking, and the ‘halo’ is a less substantial element, and the Maxine’s facade retained the previous gold paintwork. The main difference is that there isn’t really a lawn between the tower and the ocean – there are trees in the way.
(Remember what was there before?)
This modest Downtown Eastside development application got support from the Urban Design Panel a year ago. It’s a small infill project designed by Gair Williamson and developed by Boffo Properties, described in the UDP Agenda as a ‘four-storey residential building with 24 units of achievable home ownership units on the second through fourth floors, 5 units of non-market rental on the ground floor and parking accessed from the lane’.
Now it has a name, ‘Cordovan’, sales have been started and construction is apparently about to get going. Boffo has partnered with non-profit housing provider, Community Builders Group, who will purchase and manage the five non-market units.
We first featured 2290 Main Street at the end of January,and showed this picture of the model six months ago. Now Council have approved the rezoning so it can proceed to Development Permit and sales can start.
Initially we had a rather dramatic render of a very contemporary building. Right now 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 by Arno Matis Architecture will see 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 is a striking contemporary design that will 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 includes 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. What the model shows is that the materials proposed are wood panel and glass – and as it’s a rezoning the building will still have to perform at a LEED Gold level. It won’t look exactly like this – there are some minor changes that will have to be made before a development permit could be approved, and no doubt the Urban Design Panel will get to see the revised design.