1335 Howe Street

1335 HoweToday the Quality Inn Downtown, on Howe Street, is a 7-storey mid block building. It started life as the somewhat smaller Villa Hotel, and is currently temporary non-market housing, but it’ll be replaced with something altogether larger.

In 2013 Ramsay Worden Architects had a render on their website for a 39-storey tower on a 7-storey podium. There was an open house but then no rezoning application appeared.

In 2015 there was a different scheme, designed by IBI with another developer (Townline); for 40 storeys on a 7-storey podium (so the same as the hotel that’s there today) with 389 units, and a 37 space childcare facility (with the open space on top of the podium).

The same architects designed the nearby (and taller) Burrard Place tower that has a similarly neutral colour pallet. This is the Howe Street face of the model that the Urban Design Panel reviewed, and supported, so the project was able to obtain a rezoning.

Now marketing has started, and there’s another change of developer, and plans. The previous version had a mix of 264 condo and over 10o rental units. Onni’s version apparently retains the design, but reduces the number of condos to around 120 that start at 1,100 sq. ft. can be configured up to 5,600 sq. ft.

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1280 Burrard Street


The Burrard Place condo and office project received a rezoning in 2013, and the first tower is now under construction. The developers said some time ago that the next phase would be the office, car dealer and retail building proposed for Burrard Street. The application is from IBI Group but the design is by Bing Thom Architects, and it’s a remarkable building with one of Bing’s favoured curved facades in a building over 180 feet high.

The Development Permit shouldn’t face many hurdles as it’s what was proposed at rezoning. The building will see a three storey car dealership (presumably for Pattison Toyota that was on the site before development started) with the service bays underground.  When built, if it looks like the render, it will be one of the best locally-designed buildings seen in the city in years.

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1500 Main Street


This 40 unit non-market housing scheme is a temporary use of a city-owned site at Main and Terminal. The pre-fab modular housing can be moved to another location when development of the longer-term use of the site has been determined. The architects are Blue Green Architecture, (based in Kamloops and Kelowna) and this seems quite a departure from the portfolio of work on their website. The project will be built by Horizon North, a Calgary based company who have built resource camp housing, and the developer is the city’s new Housing Agency.

The building can be relocated and reconfigured to fit a number of different sites. Even the foundation system is adaptable and reusable. 40 single occupancy suites are proposed with self-contained bathrooms and kitchens, individual climate control, and private living space. The building features include indoor and outdoor amenity space, central laundry, and a number of wheelchair accessible suites on the first floor. All of these homes will be available to individuals on income assistance or fixed incomes. The site will be operated by a non-profit society to be selected by the City.

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Quebec and 2nd Avenue


Here’s a proposal that we hadn’t envisaged: MEC will be moving from West Broadway to a new 3-storey building in Southeast False Creek. Designed by Proscenium Architecture, who also designed the new MEC headquarters, it will have a 45,000 sq ft store with 15,000 sq ft of office space on a third floor.

MEC blogThe building, as with the headquarters design and other recent MEC projects, will have a number of green building features. The initial approved rezoning design from a year ago is shown on the right. The new model shows the Development permit version recently seen by the Urban Design Panel.

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275 West 5th Avenue

275-w5-renderUntil recently, Hudson Plating had one of the heavier industrial operations in the Mount Pleasant industrial area. Now they’ve sold that location, and some serious site remediation is taking place. PC Urban are showing a render of the project they propose to construct on the site. It hasn’t (as far as we know) been submitted as a development permit yet, and there are several other buildings proposed or underway in the area, so it may be a while before development takes place. No doubt it will follow the area’s zoning formula for one third industrial and two thirds office space.

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801 Pacific Street

801-pacific-renderThis seven storey cultural building is proposed for the vacant site where Tony Roma’s restaurant used to stand. It would have Studio/Office/Design Space on upper floors over Rehearsal and Gallery spaces. The design is a simple series of metal and translucent panels, and uses corten steel on the base entrance.

Like the adjacent tower that is an associated rezoning (at 1380 Hornby) this is designed by acdf architects from Montreal with IBI Group. Once developed it would be owned by the City of Vancouver.

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InGastown – 150 East Cordova


Here’s a recently completed development on a narrow site in the Downtown Eastside. Christopher Bozyk Architects designed this 9-storey 60 unit project for a fifty feet wide lot next door to Stan Douglas’s artists studio (that was built in about 2007). We first featured it nearly four years ago when details of the design were first released.

The revised render on the right shows the version that was illustrated on the sales website. The project has two floors of commercial space and a shared landscaped rooftop garden, and the developer is Port Capital Group (as Port Living) who previously developed the interestingly designed 2211 Cambie project now called South Creek Landing.

The striking use of two shades of yellow/gold lift what would otherwise be an almost invisible monochrome building to an entirely different level. The scale is very much in keeping with the older buildings nearby, and with very modest setbacks the built density is actually greater than most Downtown tower projects.

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