Stanley / New Fountain – West Cordova Street

The Stanley Hotel dates from 1906, and the New Fountain from 1899. Both have seen better days. They were briefly owned by Westbank, who bought them from the City Of Vancouver, and now appear to have been sold to BC Housing. They’re managed as single-room-occupancy hotels by PHS, who don’t have anything good to say about the buildings in their present state.

A scheme was submitted in 2016 to retain the facades and redevelop above and behind with 80 units of non-market shelter-rate housing and 134 units of market rental, all over street-level retail space. Designed by Henriquez Partners, it would have been an 11-storey building, funded by BC Housing through their Community Partnership Initiative. Now that project has been revised, and reduced in scale to only 62 market rental units.

An interesting twist is that Westbank proposed a 15,000 sq. foot cabaret in the basement that will be called Blood Alley, referencing the property’s back alley, a cobblestone and brick-tiled area that will be given a significant makeover in a separate City-led design process. The name is entirely the invention of 20th century marketing – there are no identified historical sources of blood in the immediate vicinity.

The project had a September date for the Development Permit Board, but the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee and the Vancouver Heritage Commission both rejected the project, and the revised proposal has taken over a year to emerge.

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4 Responses to Stanley / New Fountain – West Cordova Street

  1. Rico says:

    I like trees, but what is with the desire to have ‘large’ trees on the edge of the roof in so many of these projects?

    • ChangingCity says:

      It used to be how you could tell if it is an Henriquez design – it started 25 years ago with the Eugenia on Beach Avenue, and the tallest example so far is the top of the Woodwards tower. Now you can’t be quite so sure as others have copied the idea.

  2. VanMel says:

    It will be nice to rejuvenate those heritage buildings, however, an 11 storey structure may be too high and imposing for the historic Gastown district which contains predominantly lower rise buildings. A 4-6 storey building similar to those in the surrounding area may be more suitable in keeping with personality of the existing neighbourhood and Blood Alley.

    The music hall in the basement, while an interesting idea, may not work well seeing how this building and surrounding ones are primarily residential? The music hall would be great in a more commercial location where it would be able to accomodate the larger crowds and noise.

  3. Dario Meli says:

    I love that the spot is being redeveloped but 11 stories is WAY too big there. An attempt to keep Gastown somewhat historical is necessary. Just a facade isnt enough. Ramming huge structures into the neighborhood will completely destroy the character. I currently live and work on Water St. and don’t want to be enveloped by this and the inevitable future behemoths that will come if this one is allowed to happen.

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