450 Railway Street

The zoning for ‘Railtown’, the Downtown Eastside industrial area around Railway Street was recently re-worked as ‘I-4’. Here’s the first project to reflect that zoning change, designed by Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture (MGBA). Buildings can now potentially have five times the floor area of the site, and this seven storey building proposes just that, for a total of 150,000 square feet of space. It would have manufacturing uses on the first six floors; General Office uses on the sixth and seventh floors and two restaurants on the first floor.


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124 Powell Street

This narrow lot has a proposal for 20 units of affordable housing to be developed by MPA Society, already based in Gastown next door to this currently vacant site. The Society works to support people with serious and persistent mental illness.

NSDA’s design for the building had to incorporate light wells for both adjacent buildings, so the site is limited to twenty units, each of 325 sq. ft. There’s a main floor amenity room overlooking the street, and a communal laundry.

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138 East 8th Avenue

The Urban Design Panel have already reviewed, and supported this innovative housing project in Mount Pleasant. The innovative aspect is to use stacked modular construction. It isn’t the first project in the city to use this approach, and there are other developments that have reused shipping containers as their modular elements, but examples are few and far between.

Ankenman Marchand have designed the 18 unit building to be constructed from factory assembled modules that will be trucked to site and then stacked over the retail unit on the lower floor. The project already has an October date for the Development Permit Board.

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Seaforth Armoury addition

This project, as far as we can tell, never obtained a Development Permit. It was built by Carillion Construction for Defense Construction Canada, and the public announcement of the project (after it had already started) said the new building would cost around $31m. It allows the Jericho Garrison (in West Point Grey) to be “divested” according to a military spokesman. There’s an additional retrofit and seismic upgrade to ensure the existing heritage Seaforth Armoury building (to the west) complies with the National Building Code of Canada and Department of National Defence standards.

There’s no confirmation of who the architects were, although bidding documents suggest a consortium of The Colborne Architectural Group/AMEC Americas Limited. The project hit a rocky patch at the end of 2013 when workers with the demolition subcontractor blockaded the site for non-payment. Fortunately the design evolved from the initial idea, to a lighter colour scheme.

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1819 West 5th Avenue

The first version of this project was submitted in June 2014. We noted it was a ‘remarkably bold W5th modelarchitectural proposal’ on the northwest corner of Burrard and West 5th Avenue. The architects were Yamamoto Architecture, and the Urban Design Panel reviewed the project, and unanimously rejected the design. The proposal took liberties with the view cone in the area and was also substantially higher than guidelines suggest.

Here’s the model of the replacement from the end of 2014 – more respectful of the guidelines and the neighbourhood, while still showing some cantilevered elements. The ‘as built’ seems faithful to that design, with a little more glazing on Burrard Street than was originally suggested.

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239 Keefer Street

Here’s another Chinatown project, this time coming forward within zoning and so avoiding any potentially contentious public hearings. It’s an eight storey mixed use building called Keefer Gardens. It has retail uses on the first storey and mezzanine above, General Office uses on the second and third storeys, and Residential on the fourth through eighth storeys, with 25 condos.

Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture have designed the building which will no doubt be reviewed by the Urban Design panel before a provisionally booked October Development Permit Board. It’s a tight 50 foot lot, mid block, so the two storeys of parking will have a car elevator.

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Voda – 1661 Quebec Street

Here’s ‘Voda’ the first Concert Properties condo building completing in Southeast False Creek. It’s a 15 storey 174 unit building that was given the green light by the Urban Design Panel early in 2015, so it’s been developed quickly. It’s the first of five buildings to be built by Concert in SEFC in their ‘The Creek’  project. Designed by Rafii Architects with Richard Henry Architects it’s the middle of three buildings that will face Quebec Street opposite Block 100 and Lido. Next door to the south there’s a non-market building which is also close to completion.

As built, there’s a slight difference to the top of the building on the Quebec street side, compared to the model of the project. It gives even greater prominence to the vertical element of the design.

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