Stanley / New Fountain – West Cordova Street

The Stanley Hotel dates from 1906, and the New Fountain from 1899. Both have seen better days. They were briefly owned by Westbank, who bought them from the City Of Vancouver, and now appear to have been sold to BC Housing. They’re managed as single-room-occupancy hotels by PHS, who don’t have anything good to say about the buildings in their present state.

A scheme was submitted in 2016 to retain the facades and redevelop above and behind with 80 units of non-market shelter-rate housing and 134 units of market rental, all over street-level retail space. Designed by Henriquez Partners, it would have been an 11-storey building, funded by BC Housing through their Community Partnership Initiative. Now that project has been revised, and reduced in scale to only 62 market rental units.

An interesting twist is that Westbank proposed a 15,000 sq. foot cabaret in the basement that will be called Blood Alley, referencing the property’s back alley, a cobblestone and brick-tiled area that will be given a significant makeover in a separate City-led design process. The name is entirely the invention of 20th century marketing – there are no identified historical sources of blood in the immediate vicinity.

The project had a September date for the Development Permit Board, but the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee and the Vancouver Heritage Commission both rejected the project, and the revised proposal has taken over a year to emerge.

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425 West 6th Avenue

This is a surprisingly large office building proposed as a rezoning in the Mount Pleasant area close to the West Broadway and Olympic Village transit stations. Designed by IBI Group for Cressey, the building would have 171,652 sq ft of space, with 16,000 sq ft of retail at grade and 8 floors of offices with 155,000 sq ft of space above. Currently there’s a Craftsman Collision facility on the site.

Expect some of the design to change as the Urban Design Panel have already reviewed it and suggested changes.

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2975 Oak Street

The Van Arsdel apartments were built in 1928, designed by Townley & Matheson (who also designed City Hall and the Stock Exchange, among many other projects).

The building featured poured concrete walls with applied decoration, so it still looks very much as built. In the 1940s the name was changed to the Santa Fe; now a Heritage Revitalisation Agreement has saved the façades, with an eleven storey midrise tower added to the site.

The project was designed by CEI Architecture for Aquilini Developments.

It stays as rental, and the number of apartments has increased from 14 to 50.

Recently completed, there’s some added colour in the spandrel glazing on the tower.

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1068-1080 Burnaby Street and 1318 Thurlow Street

Here’s another West End tower that can be developed thanks to the West End Plan. This is very similar to a nearby tower proposal by the same architects and developers, this is for a 30 storey tower designed by NSDA and now to be developed by Strand Developments with Intracorp. Despite the inaccurate location on the City’s website, it would replace a 5 unit rental in a 1905 house, a 14 unit strata built in 1984 and a 23 unit rental building developed in 1955.

The new building has 82 market units, 24 of them studio and 1-bed and the remainder two bedroom or larger. A quarter of the space will be social housing (a plan requirement to permit the project to proceed). That space would see 39 units in total, with 20 two or three bed family units.

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58 West Hastings Street

This rezoning in the Downtown Eastside has been anticipated for some time. The site is big, and has been vacant for several years. It was last owned by Concord Pacific, who designed a condo project here, but some years later handed it on to the City of Vancouver as part of a Community Amenity Contribution package for additional density near Cambie Bridgehead.

An initial proposal for a ten-storey mixed-use building designed by W T Leung was submitted in March. It proposed small scale retail uses on the ground floor, with a health care clinic and medical and dental offices occupying the rear portion of the ground floor, as well as the second and third floors. The upper floors have a 12 foot setback on the west side, needed there because of the windows on the side of the adjacent building.

The project has now been revised following the comments of the Urban Design Panel. It now has 231 non-market rental units with 54 of them 2-bed family apartments. It’s being developed by The Chinatown Foundation working with Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency. Given the location and the need in that area it seems likely that it’ll be a mix of low-income tenants, including some families. It will be managed by a third-party housing operator. In October last year it was reported that the $30 million that the foundation plans to contribute would allow 125 units to be rented out at subsidized rates.


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102 E 4th Avenue and 110 East 5th Avenue

Here are two development applications on nearby sites, both designed by Henriquez Partners Architects to meet the new Mount Pleasant tech zoning areas (I1-A and I1-B). The 4th Avenue building would be an 8-storey mixed-use building with just under 150,000 sq. ft. of space, 30,000 of which would be industrial, with the remainder split between general office and ‘Digital Industry’ uses. There are five levels of parking proposed underground.

The 5th Avenue building would be 9 storeys, with around 140,000 sq. ft. of space, 22,000 of it industrial, over 5 floors of parking. Both developments are for Westbank. The top render suggests there will be a further building proposed between these two to create a new industry and tech tech campus, probably associated with local firm Hootsuite.

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Emily Carr University of Art + Design

The design of the new campus for the Emily Carr University of Art + Design was unveiled in April 2017. Now it’s completed, and occupied. There’s a single building at the end of 1st Avenue, parallel with Great Northern Way. The render of the project suggested that it would be a predominantly off-white building, but fortunately in reality there are some splashes of colour to liven things up, and the glazing pattern was made more interesting.

emily render

Budgeted at $134 million the design is by Diamond Schmitt Architects from Toronto (working with Vancouver-based Chernoff Thompson Architects).

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