1133 Melville Street

1133 MelvilleWe have see more office space completed already this year than any previous year in the city’s history – in the past that would have been reason for the development industry to slow down for several years.

That doesn’t seem to be happening; instead there’s a stream of new proposals for more office buildings, and here’s the latest (and one of the largest) for a rezoning on Melville Street.

Currently there’s a rather ugly and somewhat oddly designed 500 space parkade from the early 1980s, with office space on the top on this mid-block Melville Street site. Now Oxford Properties have hired Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 650,000 sq ft office tower, 33 storeys tall – which translates to 524 feet to the top of the parapet.

The site could, in theory, have a slightly taller building, but the economics of developing office space in Vancouver (and the added costs of taller buildings) presumably led to the decision to build to this height. The architect seems to have used the opportunity afforded by the generous height allowance to design high floor-to-ceiling heights (for the 20,000 square feet average floorplate) and a 40 foot high main floor atrium.

The same architects designed the MNP Tower for the same developers – but while that was a slim tower squeezed into a very tight site, this proposed rezoning would see one of the largest office spaces in the city (we think only Park Place might have more office space), and definitely the tallest. The building, if allowed at this density, would be over three times the base density allowed here – the Metro Core Study some years ago allowed the potential for rezonings for commercial uses. Kasian Architecture are the local firm working with KPF. There will be retail space at the bottom of the tower, including an outdoor restaurant patio above a water wall feature.

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