405 Railway Street

This is another project to come along under the relatively recent ‘I-4’ zoning in ‘Railtown’. The architects are OMB (Office of Mcfarlane Biggar Architects + Designers) and the client is Niels Bendtsen of Inform Interiors and his furniture company, Bensen, a design and manufacturing group long established in this area.

There would be a range of office and manufacturing uses over a restaurant on the main floor in a six floor building of just under 112,000 square feet. It’ll be phased, with the eastern half built first, followed by the western part which will replace an existing 2-storey building that’s home to Bensen.

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777 Pacific Boulevard

The City of Vancouver wrapped up consultation nearly a year ago on a plan for the North East False Creek area, including the land that will be freed up when the viaducts are removed, and the Plaza of Nations. One parcel included in the plan is the north east corner of BC Place stadium. Pavco, the owners of the stadium, are proposing a 40 storey residential tower over a commercial base that would be extended in a second phase of development. (The two phase construction of the parkade is to accommodate the Georgia ramp construction which could precede the construction of the building). The design has been slightly altered – the tower is 3 storeys shorter, and the base is slightly less massive than the first iteration, but the changes are realtively minor.

The tower would go through one of the city’s view cones, although not above the line of the mountains on the horizon, and the plan suggests a cluster of three towers would all be permitted to reach similar height to create a ‘gateway’ on Cambie Bridge.

There are 389 units proposed in the Stantec designed tower, which features three ‘cutout’ amenity spaces on different parts of the upper part of the tower, and a three storey commercial podium. There’s no indication if these would be rental or ownership units, although it’s unlikely that they would be freehold strata.

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1551 Quebec Street

This is the final building in Concert Properties’ Southeast False Creek development. The non-market building and Voda are complete, Navio is nearing completion, and this is the final phase. It’s designed by the Vancouver office of ZGF (of Portland) with local architects Rafii Architects and Richard Henry Architect as consulting Architect.

It doesn’t have a marketing name yet – just ‘The Creek, Building 5’. There are only 91 units and only one is a 1-bed unit; there are 4 townhouses, and all the rest are 2-bed or larger, in a building of over 175,000 square feet in total.

For once the render showing a grassy area in front isn’t just an artist’s fantasy; there will be an extension of the existing seawall park extending south around the new building.

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555 West Cordova Street

555 W Cordova model smWe first featured this controversial contemporary office project in January 2015, and reposted six months later. Now there’s a new version of this office proposal on the way – although there are no images yet, so we’re leaving the earlier version here for now. The Heritage Commission (who supported the first version) will be discussing the new proposal in mid-May.

Initially listed as a Development Permit Board candidate for March 2015, this proposed tower created a significant volume of commentary when it was first revealed.

The Urban Design Panel reviewed it and suggested some changes: not to the mass or the tower concept, but to the ground plane and the way the tower relates to the station (in the same ownership as the site, currently a parking lot). They had a workshop review of the project with the architects, and there was a clearer idea of how it should be changed to better fit the site – between the CPR station, and next to ‘The Landing’ – the former Kelly-Douglas warehouse on Water Street.

Waterfront entrance

The workshop suggested a revised scheme should see the tower move back on the site, and possibly closer to (and perhaps emerging from) the back – north side – of the station building. The new version takes this into account, rotating the tower by 90 degrees and moving it behind the station to make the plaza (that might one day be a road link to the development opportunity over the tracks to the north).

The architects a remain as Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill from Chicago, with the lead architect Laura Jiminez, working with Gordon Gill, with local input from B+H Architecture. (Adrian Smith addressed the Urban Design Panel, so both partners are involved). The first version was for a 26-storey office tower of nearly 400,000 s sq ft.

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Ellsworth – 2290 Main Street


We first featured 2290 Main Street at the end of January 2013, and showed the picture (below) of the model of the building designed by Arno Matis 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 subsequently the building had yet another new name – Ellsworth – and a new developer, Chard Developments. The new render of the revised Musson Cattell Mackey designed building showed their version to be reasonably faithful to the original massing, height and number of suites, but a less expensive approach to glazing. As built the building looks just like the render said it would.

2290 Main modelThis area was previously 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 project has commercial space at grade, artists production space and some artists live-work studios. The building is set back a little from Main Street with landscaping and seating in front. As it was rezoned, the new building design by MCMP will still have to perform at a LEED Gold level.

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150 Water and 151 West Cordova Street

Here are two related development proposals for the City of Vancouver. In 2004 the former Woodwards parkades were rebuilt and redesigned by Henriquez Partners architects, with a new façade of office space along Water Street. The huge basement space was initially occupied by the short-lived ‘Storeum’ visitor’s experience. Today the space is part of the Vancouver Film School.

Now the rooftop is to get a new use as well, with two separate 37 space childcare centres, one on each side of the alley. Designed by Acton Ostry, they allow all the requirements of covered and outdoor space to be provided on an existing City-owned structure.

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The Post – 349 West Georgia

Various designs and ideas circulated about what would happen to the 1950s Post Office that fills an entire city block. In November 2016 Musson Cattell Mackey submitted a rezoning that would have seen an office tower, some large format retail and two residential towers. Now it has been totally changed to have just two towers, both for office space (above, and right). This is the biggest shift from proposed residential to commercial use seen in many years – and it means that the project can probably proceed without a Public Hearing as it need not be a rezoning.

It’s a huge building – what you can see is massive – a Heritage ‘A’ structure designed by McCarter & Nairne (who also designed the Marine Building). What you can’t see is that the building is pretty much as big underground as above – and when it was built it was the world’s largest welded-steel structure, so we’re talking solid!

The heritage element would be converted into a seven-storey podium containing retail along all street frontages, office, and parking. Details of the floorspace for the revised project have yet to be announced, but Amazon will take 416,000 square feet (one of the largest single deals in the city’s history) and plan to add 3,000 more employees, on top of the 2,000 they had previously announced. They will occupy a third of the 1.13 million square feet project.

The initial response from the Urban Design Panel questioned the overall massing of the project and looked for some other changes including greater public space and a better link between Homer and Hamilton Streets. They should be happier with the new project, although that’s never a given!

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