131 Water Street

131-water-blogWe anticipated this project for a while, as it has been discussed in various Heritage committees in the recent past. Now it’s a development application which has just shown up on the City’s website, showing two new seven storey mixed-use commercial/residential buildings replacing the Henriquez designed Gaslight Square and retaining the facades of three existing heritage buildings adjacent on either side. The architects are Rositch Hemphill Architects, and while The Heritage Commission supported the project, (while regretting the loss of Gaslight Square) it was narrowly rejected by the Urban Design Panel.

If approved, the new project will be just along the street from another recently proposed development, so Water Street could see quite a bit of development activity after a lull of several years. Our image is of the model viewed (and narrowly non-supported) by the UDP in November 2016.

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129 Keefer Street


James Schouw has already proposed an infill development on Keefer Street, on a 25 foot wide lot. Here’s another proposal on the next door but one lot, this one 50 feet wide, and designed in this case by Stantec Architecture.

The project proposes 33 condos over retail in an 88 feet high building with 10 storeys built to the existing zoning. (An adjacent site has a proposed rezoning to add additional height, but also offering rental seniors housing as part of the scheme – that would be built to the west – the left – of this proposal).

The illustration shows the project on the left, with the Heritage Keefer bar and residential building sandwiched between the new building and the earlier narrower proposal (apparently now redesigned a little).

Unusually, the new building proposes to have retail frontages that wrap around to the laneway frontage via a narrow pedestrian alley that would connect Keefer to the laneway. The design proposes to use cast metal columns on the facade

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399 East 1st Avenue

399-e-1st-v2Onni have completed their artists live/work project on Great Northern Way called Canvas. Last summer they submitted a four building development application for a site close by, part of the University Campus rezoning.

399 E1st renderThe initial proposal was for four buildings – two 13 and 15 storey live-work buildings with retail at grade and a total of 220 units, a 15 storey hotel with 199 rooms and a 7 storey office building.  The Urban Design Panel didn’t support the design (right), so now there’s a revised design (the model shown above). The design rationale offered by the architects, IBI, proposes to use colours from a Rubik’s cube and references digital art like Douglas Coupland’s digital orca (at the Convention Centre).

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1500 Main Street


main-2ndThis is undoubtedly the fastest completion of housing we’ve recorded here. We first posted in October last year, when this project was first announced. It is already completed and tenants will be moving in very soon.

1500-main-render-2The 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 under the False Creek Flats Plan. 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 was built by Horizon North, a Calgary based company who have built resource camp housing, and the developer is the City’s 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 have self-contained bathrooms and kitchens, individual climate control, and private living space. The building features include indoor and outdoor amenity space, a 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. Initially the City were funding the $3.5m project, but now the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will provide $1.5 million through its new innovation fund, Vancity are providing a grant of $100,000, while the estate of Jimmy Chow has donated over $1 million.

The mural on the side of the building is by Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations artist Bracken Hanuse Corlett.

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Midtown – 589 East Broadway

midtown-e-broadwayThis project, designed by W T Leung Architects, was originally going to be developed by another company. Portliving took the project on in 2012, and it was completed a short while ago. It has 41 condos on three floors over a retail base in a part of East Broadway, near Fraser Street, where little change has occurred in many years.

Now a number of new schemes are coming forward and this part of Mount Pleasant should see new retail tenants as well as more residents.

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Wohlsein – 311 East 6th Avenue



This project was a bit of a mystery when it appeared as a proposal in 2014. It’s had an address in Mount Pleasant, a bit of a description: “To develop new mixed use building with artist studios and residential units” and a date for the Development Permit Board in September.

311 E6thIt went to the Urban Design Panel in July, and we learned that the architects are IBI Group. As it’s proposed under zoning it can proceed without going to a public hearing. There was a hitch with the unanimous non-support of the UDP members to the first version (on the right). The revised lighter version (below) was given a green light a few weeks later. The ‘as built’ is very close; the top floor is still light, but has a cream finish.

311 E 6th v2It’s called The Wohlsein’ – an odd choice unless you know that it’s a toast to good health, and that there’s a picture of the employees of Doering and Marstrand Brewery that was in this location in Mount Pleasant in 1890 with ‘Wohlsein’ as the caption.


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1445 West Georgia Street

1445-w-georgia-render-2This tower has been in the works for some time, and James Cheng has just submitted the rezoning application for a 46 storey, 514 foot tall tower.

If approved as submitted it would have 128 condos on a tight flatiron site in the Downtown Triangle West area.

The tower design shows it tapering, and all the apartments would be large – the smallest has two bedrooms, and the largest have five.

There are two modest commercial buildings from the 1960s on site today, including the IBM Building designed by Thompson, Berwick & Pratt which is on the post 40’s Heritage Register.

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