626 Alexander Street

626 Alexander builtWe posted the plans for this building when it was proposed almost exactly two years ago – and here it is finished. Because the new Downtown Eastside plan restricted the potential 626 Alexanderfor condo ownership in the DEOD part of the DTES – The Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District – these may be the last that will be built in that area  (until there’s a new or revised plan).

The 29 unit 4-storey building has 5 units of non-market housing on the main floor. It’s designed by Gair Williamson and is very similar to The Cordovan, by the same architect for a different developer, a bit further west The façade and plan are very similar – and as a bonus it looks almost exactly as the project model suggested.

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Coal Harbour Park restaurant

Harbour Green Park 2015 render 1Back in 2011 we published an image of the two restaurants the Park Board were planning Harbour Green restaurant to have developed on Downtown waterfront spots. One was built relatively soon after, but the other stalled – until now. Originally designed by Acton Ostry back in 2008, there’s now an operator identified and a significant redesign proposed for the wedge-shaped lot beside the stairs down from the Convention Centre to Harbour Green Park.

The new project is simpler, and closer in style to the Convention Centre, but less dramatic than the first idea which featured a wall of coloured glazing. We haven’t yet identified who has designed the replacement building.

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273 East 4th Avenue

273 E4thThis project has been around for a year, but initially we couldn’t find any good renders to post. Now the project appears to have been approved, and sold. (We hope that means someone will build it). It’s a small triangular site where 4th and Scotia meet, and it’s in the Brewery Creek artist studio area of Mount Pleasant. BattersbyHowat Architecture designed the project which would have 3 house-sized units on 4 floors.

The project had to get a Board of Variance approval for the density, and the site was offered for sale at $1.5m. The reason that the building doesn’t butt against the Artworks building to the west is that there’s another vacant lot in between with a different (non-residential) development.

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1111 Richards Street

1111 Richards render 1We first featured this tower in February 2013, and then again a month later – at that time it was named for the cross street – 508 Helmcken. We suggested then that the design would change, as the Urban Design Panel found the first version somewhat overbearing for its context right next to the Emery Barnes Park.

508 Helmcken v2 render 21111 richardsSure enough it changed in remarkably short order, supported by the panel (although only by a 5-3 margin). It was simpler, squarer and quite a bit more contemporary in its design – we’ve shown it on the left. A version of the earlier design in shown on the right.

Now, after a hiatus for a number of legal cases that eventually allowed the scheme to proceed, there’s a new version submitted for a development permit, with one additional rental unit – now 110 of them – but fewer condos – 278 of them; (originally there were 355 proposed)

Right now there’s a 3-storey non-market housing project that dates to the mid 1980s, called Jubilee House. The site for the new tower will be bigger than the existing building as it includes the now unused lanes behind and beside the current building. It was once part of a block of mixed commercial spaces, but today everything except the 1910 Lightheart Brothers building next door is Emery Barnes Park.

This new version still has a pre-school and kindergarten occupying the base of the tower. The scheme is tied to another site across Helmcken Street that used to have a Montessori school. A development on that site is close to completion; a 13 storey replacement for Jubilee House with over 160 units of new non-market housing.

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228 West 5th Avenue

288 W8th

Just completed, this striking building has just been given an additional cantilevered floor of office space. Another project in the Mount Pleasant industrial area, it’s actually quite a modest amount of space; around 7,000 sq. ft. of office with a tiny 1,500 sq. ft. warehouse on the main floor. Originally it was a storage warehouse with office above. The building’s 2-storey incarnation in 2004 and the makeover were designed by Yamamoto Architecture.

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34 West 7th Avenue

34 W 7thWhile one of the recently proposed industrial and office buildings in the Mount Pleasant industrial area has hit the pause button (responding to unfavourable commentary from the Urban Design Panel) another project has appeared. This is for clothing manufacturing use on the main floor and part of the second floor, with office uses above. Currently there’s a 50 year old industrial building originally built as a meat packing plant, although most recently it’s been used by a cheese importer.

The replacement building has been designed by Proscenium Architecture for Chard Development, an experienced Vancouver-based developer whose recent projects have been in Victoria, but with an earlier scheme in Vancouver developing the previous headquarters for MEC, also in Mount Pleasant on West 4th.

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First Baptist Church tower

first baptist westbankWe noted that this project for Nelson Street (behind the church) had received quite a bit of press coverage, although it hasn’t yet appeared as a rezoning application. For 50 years the First Baptist church on Burrard have been assembling land adjacent to the church, and in 2013 they entered into an agreement with Westbank to develop the site. There’s an earlier residential tower permit that goes back at least a decade, but the new West End plan allowed the possibility of a taller building.

Rather than bring in another outside architect Westbank hired one of the city’s own stars, Bing Thom, whose office has designed a very different tower with a linked cluster of three cylinders and wavy curved balconies. The 56-storey tower has 300 condo units with community gardens every three floors. Another eight-storey building with 66 units of below-market first baptist 2rental housing will be operated by the church, and beside the church will be an atrium intended to become a community gathering space. The church gets a new daycare; space for a new cold-weather shelter and seismic upgrading that will cost upwards of $12 million.

If you think the tower looks like organ pipes; it’s meant to. “Thom said he designed the tower to represent a set of organ pipes to reflect the special relationship the church has with the city.”

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