There’s an existing brown brick almost windowless building here. Built in 1947, and altered in the 1960s, it served as a cheque sorting and processing centre for many years. Now Westbank have hired Henriquez Partners to design a medium term renovation including adding a new ‘Living Screen’ to the perimeter of the building, renovating the existing Main Street entrance lobby, facade renovations and new planting.
The illustration shows larger office buildings nearby, all presumably associated with the long term aspirations of Hootsuite, the tech company operating in other buildings on this block.
In March the City of Vancouver unveiled their ‘housing reset’ to increase supply of affordable housing. Here’s an example of what that might look like; a 9-storey rental building in Mount Pleasant.
Proposed by Catalyst Community Developments Society and Marcon Developments with the City of Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Agency, it would see 145 social housing rental units over retail. The rezoning is for a site that for many years has been a City-owned parking lot, acquired for a road building project abandoned several years ago. There’s a proposed park also intended for the southern end of the site (in the foreground of this render).
Half the units will be two and three bed apartments. There would be nearly 10,000 square feet of commercial space in the Rositch Hemphill designed building. Thw project is moving fast; the design has already been revised. On the right is what the earlier version would have looked like from Kingsway, the same view as the revised design above.
This modest infill in the West End contrasts with some of the massive towers proposed elsewhere in the area. The existing Heritage ‘B’ home will be retained and restored, and a 3-storey contemporary addition added to create a third unit on the lot. Feenstra Architecture have designed the project, which won’t be low-budget as the parking is underground, accessed by a parking elevator.
A cluster of rival luxury condo towers is rapidly emerging in the small area around Alberni and West Georgia where the West End Plan contemplated higher towers. The latest design is about to head to a pre-rezoning open house, before submission to the City for consideration.
This isn’t the first pair of towers designed for this site; it was initially assembled by Wall Financial who commissioned a more contemporary design for a pair of towers, before selling the site on to Landa Properties and Asia Standard for twice what they had acquired it for. The new owners have commissioned New York architect Robert A M Stern (with Vancouver’s MCM) who have produced this initial design. It’s a very retro design, looking like New York towers from the 1930s, and also a very similar tower designed by the same architect in Toronto. If these are approved (after the many steps they face) they will look very different from the much more contemporary designs proposed so far in this area. 133 of the units are proposed to be rental, and 358 more would be strata units.
We have see more office space completed recently than in many previous years – in the past that would have been reason for the development industry to slow down for several years.
That doesn’t seem to be happening; instead there’s a stream of new proposals for more office buildings, and this project (one of the largest) is for a rezoning on Melville Street.
Currently there’s a rather ugly and somewhat oddly designed 500 space parkade from the early 1980s, with office space on the top on this mid-block Melville Street site. Initially Oxford Properties hired Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 650,000 sq ft office tower (below), 33 storeys tall – which translated to 524 feet to the top of the parapet.
That design ran into some issues, and wasn’t supported by the Urban Design Panel in mid 2015.
Now there’s a new ‘stacked boxes’ design by James Cheng with Adamason Associates of Toronto that would still see one of the largest office spaces in the city at around 550,000 square feet. It would definitely be the tallest at 550 feet and 34 storeys.
The building would be around three times the base density allowed here – the Metro Core Study some years ago allowed the potential for rezonings for commercial uses. There appears to be some retail space at the bottom of the tower, (likely top attract restaurant and coffee shop type uses).
Here’s the built version of ‘Spot’, approved in early 2015, and now just completing. It first showed up in April 2012, and was redesigned in the summer if 2013. Council have to live with the design – it’s across the street from City Hall, on the corner of 12th Avenue and Cambie.
Earlier designs by Fougere Architecture for Shato Holdings (who own White Spot – there was a restaurant on the southern half of the site) were rejected by the Urban Design Panel. IBI/HB’s design has a much more contemporary look than the rejected earlier attempts, and the final version has fewer units, and just two layers. The new building has 8 rental units as well as 125 condos, and a relocated heritage house on 13th Avenue. The street trees are still to be planted, but the ‘as built’ otherwise looks very much as promised on the models and renders.
Here’s another West End tower, possible thanks to the West End Plan. This is a 32 storey tower designed by NSDA that would replace a 28 unit co-op, sold last year and now to be redeveloped by Strand Developments with Intracorp.
The new building has 82 market units, all 2-bedroom or larger, and 25% of the space as social housing (a plan requirement to permit the project to proceed). That space would see 44 units in total, with 24 two or three bed family units.