155 Water Street

This Gastown project is finally moving ahead, after getting the thumbs up from the Urban Design Panel in 2015. This is a more recent render; the initial proposal is shown below.

155 WaterThe façades of the two storey 151 Water St will be retained, along with the seven storey neighbor at 157 Water. Originally three additional floors were proposed to be added in a complementary ‘heritage’ style, and 157 Water Street would have been redeveloped, with the façade ‘reconstructed’ to match the existing building, but with one less floor (so that floors line up across the entire structure).

The project now ends up with seven floors of office over retail and restaurant uses, around 95 feet high. The total space will be around 75,000 square feet and Musson Cattell Mackey are the architects.

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Strathcona Village – 900 E Hastings


We first mentioned this project back in January 2012, although ideas had been kicking around for many years. It was given a green light for rezoning in November that year, and a slightly revised design was supported by the Urban Design Panel (seen below), in early 2013. Now, five years later, it’s just about complete. After a false start trying to sell the project in a Downtown sales centre it was remarketed – and successfully sold – as Strathcona Village.

It’s a surprisingly big structure, and will make a huge difference to the neighbourhood. Initially we wondered if the Development Permit would look any different from the rezoning design (which referenced the stacks of shipping containers found just to the north in the Port of Vancouver). The rezoning render is below – and very little changed. The coloured material is corrugated, just like containers.

955 E Hastings render 2Previously there was a set of what looked like single storey buildings, although as they’re on the edge of the bridge that goes over the railway, actually they’re quite a bit taller on the lane. GBL designed the new building for Wall Financial. The tallest section is twelve storeys, with over 280 market units, 70 non-market units and light industrial and commercial strata units both at street level and below.

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245 East Georgia Street

The 200 block of East Georgia Street already has an innovative nine storey building on a 25 foot wide lot, called The Flats.

Now four years later there’s another building that’s the same width on the same block. This project has 40 rental units in another nine storey building, this one designed by Gair Williamson, named the Albert Block.

An earlier seven storey condo project by a different developer was approved for development before the site was sold on in 2012 for just over a million dollars.

The ‘as built’ is pretty close to the render that was published a couple of years ago (below).

Completion of the building has crawled forward very slowly in the past year, but now there’s a flurry of activity on site as the finishing touches are being added to the retail unit on the main floor. That has black details rather than the lighter colour scheme seen in the render, but everything else seems to be as expected.

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Sparrow – 239 Keefer Street

Here’s another Chinatown project, this time coming forward within zoning and so avoiding any potentially contentious public hearings.

It’s an eight storey mixed use building originally called Keefer Gardens, but now renamed for marketing as Sparrow.

It has retail uses on the first storey and mezzanine above, General Office uses on the second and third storeys, and Residential on the fourth through eighth storeys, with 25 condos.

Mallen Gowing Berzins Architecture designed the building for Rendition Developments, who acquired the site of the former Chinatown Supermarket a couple of years ago.

The initial reviewed by the Urban Design panel suggested some changes to the first version, reflected in the model (right) and the marketing render (above). It’s a tight 50 foot lot, mid block, so the two storeys of parking will have a car elevator.

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616 East Cordova Street

This is a development permit application for a replacement facility in the DEOD part of the Downtown Eastside. Designed by NSDA Architects, it will be a seven storey building with non-market housing, a social services centre and childcare. The application hasn’t been posted on the City’s website yet, but the Urban Design Panel got to review the model seen here.

Right now there’s a two and three storey building, (originally just single storey in 1950, and then added onto in the early 1980s) with 14 housing units and some sleeping rooms. It’s run by the Union Gospel Mission as their Women & Families Centre. Funding from the BC government means the new building will have 63 supportive housing units, of which 36 are family units at shelter rates and the remaining 27 are treatment beds. It’s anticipated there will be about 120 beds across the 63 units.

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137 East 4th Avenue

The office projects are continuing to show up in Mount Pleasant. Here’s a seven storey tech office over industry building proposed in the new I-1A zone that allows higher density developments close to Main Street. This would see 58,000 square feet of space on a relatively tight site. The project is designed by Perkins + Will for Mondivan.

There’s no render on the City’s website, just a (misleadingly black) elevation, but this picture is on the developer’s website. The application describes a ‘colourful play of extruded profile screens’, so the image may be missing some details. (but the render on the site sign looks very similar).

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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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