720 East Hastings Street

VPL 720 E Hastings

Here’s a project we first saw in mid 2013. It’s just being fitted out, but is very close to complete. It’s the new full service Vancouver Public Library branch for Strathcona, which will incorporate family housing on the upper four floors to be run by the YWCA. In total the building, designed by DIALOG, has 21 units including two and three bedroom apartments.

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7 Responses to 720 East Hastings Street

  1. Should be interesting to see whether Hastings will begin to gentrify with the library and condos going up further east. I think developers have their eye on Hastings from downtown to Commercial, and I don’t blame them.

    • Sharon says:

      Libraries are not about gentrification. Libraries exist to give equal access to information to all. The VPL welcomes everyone to use their services and materials. This new full access library should be a boon to all in the neighbourhood. I know I welcome it with open arms.

  2. Gentrification is such a loaded, polarizing, misused and way overused term. It does not apply in this situation so let’s drop it.

    The full service East End library branch is meant to serve of a diversity of East End families and individuals living in Strathcona, the historic Vancouver neighbourhood in which it is being built. It is a long awaited and much needed community amenity that will be a huge boon to the neighbourhood and the people who already live here. It is a welcome addition to a stretch of East Hastings that has seen better days and deserves to see them again. It will bring East End families and children back to East Hastings and encourage the return of small businesses that will serve these people and revitalize the area. The new library will bring healthy traffic to the area and bring balance to a neighbourhood that desperately needs it.

    The new library buildings comes with a housing compoent in the upper storeys that will provide much needed safe homes for single moms and their kids. Its a win win situation for a neighbourhood that would like something positive to celebrate.

    And while we are on the subject of celebration, let us celebrate the history and the heritage of the East End Strathcona neighbourhood that the library is being built in and name it the Mary Lee Chan Library after the woman who founded S.P.O.T.A, and spearheaded the efforts to prevent Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood from being wiped off the map during the City’s “urban renewal” and freeway building craze in the 60s. Recognition of Mary Lee Chan is long overdue.

    • ChangingCity says:

      Thanks for the comment. On your final point, the idea of naming the new library after Mary Chan has been around for a while and we understand the Chinese Canadian Historical Society has endorsed the idea. Some permanent recognition of her role in limiting the damage to both Strathcona and Chinatown would be very worthwhile.

  3. kaequan says:

    Quick question: you say that this will have 2 and 3 storey apartments. Did you mean to say bedroom?

  4. hughstimson says:

    The library may well provide services to a variety of demographic groups, but I don’t think that absolves it from being a part of a gentrification process. I would imagine (perhaps I am wrong) that it is arriving at that location at this time because there is increasing interest from increasingly privileged residents (I am one) for bringing services to that area. And I don’t suppose I’m wrong in assuming that its presence will increase the real and perceived value of local housing, thus putting some small degree of upward pressure on mortgages and rents, and altering the demographics of who can afford to own or rent in the area.

    I’m looking forward to it, to taking myself and my kid there, and to what it might do for property values. But I don’t think it helps to pretend that this isn’t a part of gentrification. I certainly appreciate that there will be subsidized housing included.

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