We first featured this tower in February 2013, and then again a month later – at that time it was named for the cross street – 508 Helmcken. We suggested then that the design would change, as the Urban Design Panel found the first version somewhat overbearing for its context right next to the Emery Barnes Park.
Sure enough it changed in remarkably short order, supported by the panel (although only by a 5-3 margin). It was simpler, squarer and quite a bit more contemporary in its design – we’ve shown it on the left. A version of the earlier design in shown on the right.
Now, after a hiatus for a number of legal cases that eventually allowed the scheme to proceed, there’s a new version submitted for a development permit, with one additional rental unit – now 110 of them – but fewer condos – 278 of them; (originally there were 355 proposed). After being referenced as 1111 Richards, it’s now got a project name – 8X on the Park.
For now there’s a 3-storey non-market housing project that dates to the mid 1980s, called Jubilee House. The site for the new tower will be bigger than the existing building as it includes the now unused lanes behind and beside the current building. It was once part of a block of mixed commercial spaces, but today everything except the 1910 Lightheart Brothers building next door is Emery Barnes Park.
This new version still has a pre-school and kindergarten occupying the base of the tower. The scheme is tied to another site across Helmcken Street that used to have a Montessori school. A development on that site is close to completion; a 13 storey replacement for Jubilee House with over 160 units of new non-market housing.