Sota – Birch Street

Here’s a project that’s took nearly five years from its first appearance here. As built matches the render – although that conveniently ignored the power line and mangled street tree.

It illustrates why City Council were said to be considering extending the ‘rate of change’ to further limit the loss of rental property. Since 1995 the City Council have required retention or replacement of most rental housing in the West End, extended to the rest of the city in 2007 including ‘RM’ zones – those that have the most higher density purpose-built rental buildings.

birch manorThere’s currently an exception that says if you’re building less than six new units, you don’t have to replace the previous rental units. This small project in an RM zone on Birch, at West 14th Avenue, saw a 1912 8-unit rental building (sold in 2012 with an asking price of around $2 million) replaced with a 4-unit strata. The new building, designed by Walter Francl, was approved in 2014 and has 2-bed 1,600 sq ft units, one per floor on four floors (with a wine store for each unit in the garage floor) offered for sale at – or above – $2.5 million each.

The original house was a speculative design-and-build project by Shaw Brothers, who added a stable a year later for the new owner, H J Hatch. It was modified in 1944 with a design by W F Gardiner.

Posted in West Broadway | Tagged | Leave a comment

315 – 319 East 2nd Avenue

This is another Mount Pleasant project with an interesting mix of uses. Designed by Studio Balcaen Kwan, it’s a 9 storey building planned for Scotia and E2nd. The project has two levels of commercial use, five floors of residential, and the top two floors as office. The building won’t be exactly like our illustration (from the architect’s website) as the the two office floors are a change from the original plans, and so the design has altered slightly, although the massing is the same.

Lower floors include Manufacturing, Brewing and Distilling Use at Level 1 & 2, as well as a restaurant on Level 1 and a Fitness Centre and General Office Use on Level 2. The residential units will be secured market rental.

Posted in Mount Pleasant | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

1640 Alberni Street

An initial tower (possible thanks to the West End Plan) was proposed in fall 2016. It was a little different; unlike many of the projects here, the architect was from Vancouver; Francl Architecture; and the building was proposed by Hollyburn Properties as a rental tower.

The initial 42 storey tower (below) also required rezoning, and if it had been approved would have replaced a three storey office building and Brockton House, a 15 storey residential rental building dating back to 1969. The new tower would have seen a net gain of over 200 suites, and would have over a third of the units as family sized two and three bedroom apartments, which the existing building does not have. Negotiations over the CAC for the project fell through, and the site sold for $130 million to Landa Global.

Their tower (to be developed with Asia Standard Americas) proposes 198 condos and 66 secured market rental replacement apartments. The design isn’t generated in Vancouver; it’s by US architects SOM, (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) working with local architects of record IBI Group.

Posted in West End | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

1063 – 1075 Barclay Street

Despite the current housing market, developers continue to submit proposals for ambitious residential towers. Here’s a West End Plan tower that’s planned at 48 storeys, with 374 units. There’s a requirement for 25% social housing, so 79 units will be given to the City of Vancouver to manage, and 295 will be strata apartments.

The tower is designed by by ACDF Architecture and IBI Group Architects, and will replace a 1990 7-storey strata building originally developed by Aquilini Investments, and 4 townhouse units built in 2003. The site was bought by the developers in 2018 for $113 million.


Posted in West End | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1015 East Hastings Street

The development of additional non-market housing in the Downtown Easside has been slow, but steady. This project was announced in march, and is now a rezoning proposal. The site is next to the Glen Drive railway tracks, and the building is a joint BC Housing, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre run project.

163 rental homes are planned in a 14 storey building which will also have a new 80 bed shelter for people and families experiencing homelessness. The rental units would see 25 studio and one-bedroom homes with supports for people who are ready to move from the shelter to more independent living, 85 new affordable rental homes for people and families with lower incomes (one, two and three-bedroom units) and 53 new market rental units.

The design is by a Victoria based firm, Low Hammond Rowe, with many projects on Vancouver Island, but none (as far as we know) in Vancouver before.

Posted in Downtown Eastside, Non-market | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

936 Main Street

The site boards appeared for this infill project on Main Street early in 2018, but it was submitted in 2016, so there must have been some issues to work through. Francl Architecture designed an eight storey building with a main floor retail and restaurant, office space above and twenty-five rental apartments on the top five floors. Whether the scheme will go forward as shown is now in doubt as BC Housing have acquired the site, along with the adjacent American Hotel.

The site is next door to another interesting new housing project, and like that building it will have a rear façade to a street as it’s an unusually shallow block (the rear façade is seen on the right).

There’s an existing burned out building whose façade was retained and incorporated into the new building.

Posted in Downtown Eastside | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

304 East 1st Avenue

Local developer Cape Group have submitted a development application for this 9-storey 112 unit rental building to be coming to a site at 304 E1st Avenue. That’s the corner of Scotia Street, (although the developer initially indicated Sophia).

The project has a small commercial unit, and a a 56-space daycare with south-facing outdoor play area, as well as second floor amenity room and a rooftop patio for the residents. A hybrid construction method is proposed, designed by MCM, with a concrete podium and the upper residential floors constructed with a mass timber system. The building will be linked to the Neighbourhood Energy System.

The project replaces an earlier 2015 rental artist live/work woodframe proposal called Steelhaus, designed by Taylor Kurtz.

Posted in Mount Pleasant | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

471 East Broadway

This build-to-zoning project is located on the corner of St George Street. The 91-unit condo building would have a woodframe structure, but still proposes rooftop patios and planters, which is unusual. Designed by Integra for Reliance Holdings there are 91 units, but only 75 parking spaces, with car-share proposed to allow for less than one space per unit. There are potentially seven new retail units (although some could be joined) planned to replace an existing older 2-storey office building.

Posted in East Broadway | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

338 East 2nd Avenue

This is an artist live-work project designed by Human Studio for local developers The Cape Group. It’s a rental building with 95 units; both artist studio and 2-bed apartments, constructed in mass timber construction. The project will be built to zoning.

It’s named The Raphael, to supposedly reflect the name of Ralph’s Auto Parts, who operated here for many years. Now part of Lordco, the company might return to occupy 10,000 square feet of wholesale space on the ground floor.

Posted in Mount Pleasant | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Elenore on Fifth – 2106 Main Street

The Mount Pleasant Plan allows projects that could add housing along Main Street between 2nd and 7th Avenues. Four years ago a number of projects had been proposed, but none built. That’s changed, and here’s the latest completed building on the east side of the street at the corner with East 5th Avenue.

The site has limitations because of an angled viewcone, so Proscenium Architecture designed a building with 51 condos over retail space, with the residential five storey element angled over the retail to respect the policy constraints.

As built the project looks similar to the render, although the dramatic cantilever on the northern end may have been a bit too much for the structural engineers to feel happy about.

Posted in Mount Pleasant | Tagged , , | Leave a comment