Another Downtown tower just about ‘done’ and getting it’s final fixes before the owners (and probably tenants) move in. The curiously titled building (well yes, he is the former co-director of the city’s planning department, but he’s by no means dead yet) is a sister in design terms to L’Hermitage. It’s designed to look different from each side, and kind of sort of looks like several really skinny towers bumped into each other and merged into one 218 unit condo building. Like L’Hermitage it was designed by Gomberoff Bell Lyon (GBL these days). Apparently Larry Beasley agreed to allow his name to be used in exchange for the developers sponsoring a scholarship to the UBC School of Planning. We’re not sure if the much-advertised dog walk on top of the podium part of the building was checked with him; we weren’t aware he was a dog lover. There’s a bonus with the building of 23,000 sq ft of new office space too, as it’s located in the ‘shoulder’ of the CBD where there has to be a mix of commercial and residential space.
The really great bit of the project is the extreme makeover of the Homer Cafe and 15 unit apartment building on the corner of Smithe and Homer. It was designed back in 1909, and it’s secured rental accommodation that will be maintained that way, and in addition added to the heritage register. The renovations have been better than we could have anticipated, with the reappearance of three domes that have been missing for years. The architect was Edward Hobson, whose domed corners have now been faithfully reconstructed in galvanised metal, just as the cornices and bay windows have. There’s an impressive new shopfront too. Chances are we might see a new restaurant opening up (and with any luck the food will be as improved as the building).
The one real oddity is the $2m+ mega townhouse next door. Will anyone really want to pay that much to live on Smithe St?