The hoardings have finally come off the Burns Block at 18 West Hastings Street, the triangular-shaped building next to the old rail CP right-of-way. Originally built in 1909 by Patrick Burns as the headquarters for his meat packing business, it was converted to single room occupancy housing, but closed down in 2006 having failed fire safety inspections (there were no working fire alarms, for example). The restoration by new owners Reliance Holdings, designed by Bruce Carscadden Architects, addressed seismic and structural issues as well as replacing all the building’s services and recreating the storefront. Apparently the original architects are unknown – although the milk brick and window design suggests Parr and Fee might be the designers, and a year later they were the architects for the Vancouver Block on Granville Street, developed by Pat’s brother Dominic Burns.
The 30 new micro-lofts are as small as 270 sq ft, and come fully furnished, leasing from about $750 a month. They are still considered Single Room accommodation, but each one has it’s own cooking facilities and bathroom. CTV have internal photos. http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/gallery/html/micro_loft_100125/photo_0.html
The ground floor will be home to serial Gastown restaurant operator Sean Heather’s latest project – Bitter, a specialty beer pub with a patio and circular bar. Scott Hawthorn is partnering Heather, as he did with Salt Tasting Room and Judas Goat. The bar could open in October, when it’s expected to feature around 50 beers.