Olivia Skye – 41 East Hastings Street

This Downtown Eastside rezoning project on East Hastings was first mentioned here at the end of 2012. The original rezoning version was designed by Perkins + Will for the Atira Development Atira E HAstings render 1Society, with two floors of commercial space and twelve of residential above that. The housing mix was complex; there were 169 units with a mix of self-contained rental units; Housing Income Limits units and affordable home ownership units, some guaranteed as rental units for a minimum of 15 years. The render of the first version is on the the right.

Once the rezoning had been approved there was a revised version submitted for a Development Permit with a new design by IBI Group. The design had a more glazed appearance, and it now had 198 units, still maintaining a mix of low end of market and shelter rate non-market housing units over retail. It was given unanimous support by the Urban Design Panel.

It sits next door to the Lux, a BC Housing funded scheme completed in 2009 and designed by GBL. It replaces a modest 3 storey building, best known as the recent home of United We Can, the binners not for profit organization, which has moved to the False Creek Flats.

The version as built is slightly different again, although there are still 198 units. Named Olivia Skye, it honours a former Atira tenant, Marnie Crassweller; her daughters are named Olivia and Skye. Marnie died of a fentanyl overdose in November 2016, and Skye Crassweller overdosed in August 2017. Costing $32 million to build, funds came from the City of Vancouver, BC Housing, and the Streetohome Foundation, which donated more than $1 million.

Local first nations artist Judy Chartrand was asked to create art for the 14 glass panels on the front façade of Olivia Skye, as well as for the glass canopy.

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