339 East 1st Avenue

The employment ambitions for the False Creek Flats took a further step forward with another office building proposal. This is for a 6 storey 144,000 square foot building with grounf floor retail designed by IBI for Porte Holdings and the Reliance Group. It’s proposed with some bold colours to compliment IBI’s approved design for an adjacent precinct of buildings for Onni.

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1107 Seymour Street

The details of this Downtown South project first showed up in August 2012. It’s a 15 storey rental building on the corner of Seymour and Helmcken Street. It was approved for rezoning in May 2013 to build 81 residential units and nearly 20,000 sq ft of office on a small (75′ foot wide) corner site behind the Chateau Granville hotel.

What makes this project unusual is that it was privately developed non-market housing designed by Endall Elliot for Wall Financial. The scheme is intended to use the Community Amenity Contribution from a tower at 1300 Richards Street (now given a Drake Street address) to subsidise the development of the non-market units, with a small top-up contribution from the City’s non-market housing fund. There’s a proposal for another Endall Elliot designed building that’s just beside it in this render from the architect’s website.

As built, the finished product looks very much like the render – and for once the existing trees are actually bigger than the render artist showed.

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Rogers Arena towers

Rogers West tower

We first saw this project in mid 2012, and again at the start of 2013. Below is what we believe is the final version, with approved permits for all three towers. Aquilini Developments are developing the towers to wrap the edges of the Rogers Arena.

The first tower – the West Tower – was completed in August 2015. It’s a hybrid office and rental residential building, designed by B&H Architects. As the model below shows it once featured some minimal colour in the dividers between balconies. Even this has disappeared in the finished product, leaving a large, and somewhat unremitting mass of green-tinged spandrel glass.

The curved designs for the all residential South Tower, by Walter Francl just completing in mid 2017 pick up, and dramatically improve on, the curved aspect of this first tower, proposed some years ago by Busby Associates and revised by B+H Architects.

Once again the small areas of colour that were once a feature of the project have disappeared. However, the sinuous curves and the wood detailing under the tower (which is elevated on angled concrete columns) make the tower far more interesting.

The area underneath the tower is part of the emergency exit area around the Arena, so the tower has a minimal presence at ground level, with some beds of native species but significant areas of paving.

Like the newly completed tower, office uses are intended for the lower floors of the third tower at the front of this model. The upper parts and the third tower will be residential. All the 614 units will be rental, and while the developer would like to have added a fourth tower as well, the city’s planners did not support that idea. Rogers model

Obviously once the viaducts have gone, the context will change, especially for the south tower (the all residential tower on the left of the cluster shown above). These three towers will be the first of a number in this area, with development sites also owned by both Concord Pacific and the rezoning of the Plaza of Nations.

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Harwood and Thurlow Streets

Bosa BlueSky held a pre-rezoning open house to introduce a pair of linked rezoned tower proposals. The two sites are on either side of Harwood Street’s 1000 block at Thurlow Street. While each project in this part of the West End is expected to provide 25% of the floorspace as non-market housing (given to the City of Vancouver as an airspace parcel), here the idea is that 25% of the total space is non-market, but in only one of the two towers.

This would create 98 non-market rental units, (the same number in the existing market rental buildings on the sites) as well as 61 condos, while the second tower would have 143 condo units. The towers are similar in design, but not a matched pair, and are currently proposed at 32 and 33 storeys high. They’re designed, as many of the West End projects, by Henriquez Partners Architects.

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1616 West Georgia Street

Shato Holdings, who own White Spot, have held an initial open house for a pair of condo towers they’re proposing to develop under the West End Plan. The 33 and 39 storey towers would have a 3-storey podium and 350 condo units, 75% of them 2-bed or larger. Like the recently completed White Spot redevelopment on Cambie Street, the architects are IBI Group.

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Smithe and Richards

Here’s the refined final design for a new Downtown South park, located on land acquired by the city for a possible park well over a decade ago. Now with Development Cost Levy funding and some of the Community Amenity Contribution from Telus Garden, the project is in the final stretch. (The sketch of the pre-application version from a year ago is shown below).

Park render 2Compared to some of the city’s park’s this looks as if it could be quite dynamic. The buildings to the east, across the lane, were never designed to be seen, as it was anticipated then (over twenty five years ago) that this site would be built on. The design includes a screen of trees along the back, a coffee kiosk near the street corner (which could be as successful as the green roofed J J Bean by the CBC), and a diagonal rising walkway that ends in mid-air. There’s also an event area, taking advantage of the significant slope of the site, and which doubles as a water feature in the summer.

This proposal finally offers a design for a park that really adds something different to the Downtown. Now there just needs to be a re-working of the awful granite Yaletown Park nearby.

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224 West 8th Avenue

Rendition Developments have been developing a series of new I-1 zoned buildings in the Mount Pleasant Industrial area. This is, we think, the fifth designed by MGBA Architects. It’s a mid-block site, with four floors totaling 36,253 sq. ft. of space split between industrial uses in a third of the space (on the main floor, with a mezzanine) and office in the other two thirds, as the zoning permits.

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