Here’s another example of how the Mount Pleasant industrial area continues to evolve. We published the render a year ago when this 50′ site had a 1907 house on a corner lot. Now this 18,000 square foot office and industrial building has replaced it. We weren’t sure initially who the architect was, but it is MallenGowingBerzins architects (MGBA), a firm with a lot of recent history for designing interior spaces in the city, (including some of our favourite bar restaurants) but relatively few buildings.
This might be start of a trend – there’s now a proposal for an almost identical twin immediately across the street to replace an older single-storey industrial building.
This modest Downtown Eastside development application got support from the Urban Design Panel at the end of 2012, sales started at the end of 2013, and now it’s pretty much completed. 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’.
Boffo partnered with non-profit housing provider, Community Builders Group, who have purchased and will manage the five non-market units. This is the penultimate condo project in this part of the Downtown Eastside (an area known by its zoning, DEOD), as the new DTES Plan changed the requirements to all rental in this area, 40% of which have to be non-market housing.
It’s nearly three years since we posted the renders of this project, and the first phase is now pretty much complete. Designed by Walter Francl Architecture for the Executive Group on the 100 block of West 2nd Avenue, the project has been split into three phases, with the next tower, Tower Green looking close to commencing construction.
You can see how closely the finished first tower matches the most recent render, from mid 2012. Eventually the project will occupy a complete half block immediately behind the four tower Wall Centre False Creek development. The three towers range from 13 to 16 storeys, over a 6 storey podium with a total of 488 condos as well as retail space. A bank and restaurant are already open; other spaces are being fitted out. The street tree pits have already been created, and in a few years that part of the render could be accurate too – although not just yet.
All the development in South East False Creek have to be rezoned because the City adopted a rezoning policy, rather than pre-zoning the area. All the developers pay a higher than average Development Cost Levy to cover the new roads, parks, waterfront walkway, social housing etc for the formerly industrial area. In addition some additional density can be considered for additional community benefits, and in this case the developer is providing an $11m childcare program with spaces for infants, toddlers, three-to-five year olds, and a preschool program. That’s now complete on top of the podium; there’s a high glazed screen at the 6th level protecting the outdoor play space on the roof. The developer has also acquired some heritage density from the Best Building on 1st Avenue and made a contribution to the affordable housing fund.
The last building currently on the site represent a link to the city’s post-war growth. The Dominion Construction Company, run by Charles Bentall, built their headquarters here back in 1954. Still in business today, Dominion built the Bentall Centre for its related company as well as many other landmark city buildings, including the BC Pavilion at Expo 86 (these days the home of the Edgewater Casino – for the time being).
This tower is proposed for the corner of Davie and Jervis, and is the first (but by no means likely to be the last) project that has emerged from the recent West End Plan. Limited parts of the West End allow greater density where the project adds non-market housing. This NSDA Architects designed 19-storey tower for Intracorp would have 63 condo units (almost all 2-bedroom) and there would be 28 non-market units. There’s a small retail unit on the corner of Davie and Jervis – seen here in the model reviewed by the Urban Design Panel only a month after the application was available on the city website. Davie would also see some townhouse units.
The Grosvenor building was built a few decades ago, designed by Musson Cattell Mackey for Grosvenor Estates. Recently the building was sold to local investors and developers Kingswood Capital, and as Alberni develops as the place where people with more money than sense go shopping, they’re now planning to add a retail building to replace the small patio area of the building. The development permit has already been approved for the Henriquez Partners designed 2-storey retail space, so construction could start once tree removal and building permits are granted.
There’s been a rezoning proposal on this site for years. It started as a condo and rental tower designed by W T Leung that went through a couple of iterations and ended up with non-support from the Urban Design Panel.
Now Westbank have acquired the site and Henriquez Partners have designed a similar height tower that would see 171 rental units developed, including 72 2-bed and 3 3-bed units. This design sees curved balconies that are reminiscent of Jameson House – although these don’t feature a dramatic cantilevered section.
The night view (that we’ve shown) shows an interesting design detail; sail-shaped elements that the render suggests will be lit in colour at night.
As if the remarkable number of recent new major office proposals wasn’t enough, here’s another rezoning 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). It’s just been approved at a Public Hearing 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 will 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.
We updated the post to show the model that the Urban Design Panel supported in 2014. 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.