530 and 575 Drake Street

530 Drake render575 drake render 1Right now there are two social service buildings on the corner of Seymour Street; Covenant House occupy a two storey converted office building at 575 Drake Street and the Immigrant Services Society were in the three storey building across the street. With a fabulous new home on Victoria Drive, the ISS have vacated their former premises and Covenant House have proposed a rezoning to allow redevelopment to create a 5 storey building to replace the building. The existing building actually dates back to the early 1900s when it was built for Philo Johnson – probably a successful Yukon gold miner.

Across the street would be a ten storey building. The redevelopment would occur in phases with construction and fundraising over the next 5 years with an anticipated completion of the larger building in 2020. The buildings are designed by NSDA Architects, and both look a little like some of their other recent non-market buildings for BC Housing.

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151 West 5th Avenue

151 W5th

We’ve seen a steady stream of proposals for office and manufacturing buildings in Mount Pleasant, although so far only a few have found tenants and are being developed. Here’s another 54,000 square foot building following the same development model: manufacturing on the main and mezzanine floor and three floors of office space above. This one is designed by DYS Architecture for the Champion Development Group.

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One Pacific – 68 Smithe Street

One Pacific 1In November 2011, while most attention was on the rezoning of the adjacent casino and hotel complex (due to open in the fall of 2017), City Council approved a rezoning on half of Concord Pacific’s land near BC Place Stadium. The eastern half, now identified as 68 Smithe St, had an initial design approved for a residential complex over commercial space. The detailed IBI/HB design was supported in Septenber 2012 by the Urban Design Panel showing 18-storey buildings with curved facades. Below are two street views of the model.


As built there have been a few changes required by the city’s approval process. The extruded square sections seen on the model have been excluded. The curved façade was made more interesting with curvilinear wave forms making up the balconies; the development permit report called them “sinuous slab extensions”.

One Pacific 2

The building’s colour was changed as well – there’s a greater contrast than the model suggested, with charcoal grey spandrel on the outer edges, and the paler grey used in the inset section facing the Creek.


One Pacific interior

Concord Pacific started sales of the building in 2013, and the details revealed then included this intriguing interior courtyard render. The small lap pool sits on a podium with a curved end projecting beyond the podium wall. The podium also promised to feature palm trees.

Both of those have been included on the finished product.

One Pac pool

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New Jubilee House

Jubilee House

Three years ago, just as City Council approved a rezoning for a privately built 13 storey non-market housing project, details of another similar project appeared. This was a development application for the replacement of Jubilee House, to be built in conjunction with a tower on the existing Jubilee House site.

New Jubilee House modelHere’s GBL Architects model of the design for the building. The ‘as built’ is pretty much a perfect match. The firm have designed some of the best non-market buildings in the city, and this latest addition is no exception.

The 127 Society for Housing will operate the building that provides homes for all 87 current tenants living in the current Jubilee House across the street, plus an additional 75 low-end-of-market tenants. These tenants will provide a revenue stream that will allow the 127 Society to subsidize the rents of the 87 existing tenants with lower incomes at shelter rates or 30% of income.

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424 and 454 West Pender Street

424 & 464 W Pender 1424 & 464 W Pender 2These two new rezonings were first proposed in February. They’re on the same block, designed by the same architect for the same developer, but separated by two heritage buildings that are clearly not going nowhere (or the buildings would have been included in a larger scheme). They’re both 11-storey mixed-use buildings with retail at grade: 424 has 72 units of rental housing and 454 has 69 units, also secured market rental.

The developer is Onni – and the architects are the IBI Group. The first version of the design was more solid, and was initially not supported by the Urban Design Panel who needed more detail. They recently saw a revised version with a new model of the buildings, (photographed here), which now have their support.

The corner building in particular now has a much lighter and simpler warehouse style compared to the earlier version (below)which should fit the scale of the area and the heritage office buildings nearby very well.

424 & 454 blog2

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611 Main Street

Main 1

We first noted this proposal following the ‘Historic Area Height Review’ that allowed buildings in very limited locations in the Downtown Eastside to a total height of 150′ back in 2011.

611 Main188 Keefer (611 Main) 3Most recently we showed you the model that went to the Public Hearing in 2013 (on the right). The rezoning was approved with two floors of commercial space, and over 150 units of housing. We’re looking at the Keefer Street side of the building, which was renamed to 188 Keefer for more accurate addressing. The left hand image (above) shows how it came out in reality.

The building is just being completed on the corner of Main and Keefer, on the west side of the street, replacing a long-abandoned Casino building. Designed by W T Leung for Westbank Projects, it’s mostly condos, but there are 22 seniors rental housing units included as well. Another Main Street site on the other side of Keefer was the first to be completed here, and another scheme to the south which turned out to be a rental project by Bosa was rezoned later, but completed slightly sooner.

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1640 – 1650 Alberni Street

1640 AlberniAs we’ve noted recently, the West End Plan allows new development to be contemplated in a few limited locations. There have been several dramatically contemporary towers floated for the Georgia Corridor area, where generally condo towers are planned. Now there’s another tower in the works; and not one that was necessarily an obvious development opportunity when the plan was approved.

Hollyburn Properties own an existing 66 unit 15-storey rental tower here, built in 1969.

They’ve just held an initial open house to float the idea of replacing it with a 276 unit 42-storey 385 foot rental tower designed by Francl Architecture. Assuming they chose to proceed, the next step will be a rezoning application.

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