Midtown Modern – 630 East Broadway


Portliving first developed a project on East Broadway called ‘Midtown’. They followed it with a second building – ‘Midtown Modern’ on the opposite side of the next block east. Designed by Studio B Architects, we saw the design three years ago – now it’s complete.

We couldn’t tell initially if the project was colourful or more cautiously detailed. The image on the developer’s website (right) suggested the later. As built, it looks like the render – or it will once there are retail tenants. The project has 50 condos in three floors over retail.

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1529 Comox Street

Here’s another West End laneway 2.0 project, which like a number of others in the area is designed by Ankenman Marchand for Carrera Management. This is larger than some of the other proposals, with 15 rental units on four floors, submitted at the end of 2016. It sits behind a 1910 building with 11 rental units.

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1616 West 7th Avenue (at Fir Street)

In the first decade of the century, a series of mid-height towers were built in a small area running downhill from West Broadway between Fir Street and Burrard Street.

A project for this site was first announced in 2011, with 46 units in a modest building designed by IBI/HB (shown below). The site was marketed (as ‘Italia’), but never developed.

Now, after a seven year hiatus, the same developers have submitted a revised project for 47 condos, including four townhomes. It’s designed by the same architects, now named the IBI Group. The building is bigger than the first version because it’s seeking a bonus for adding a 6,000 sq. ft. cultural amenity space on the south-west corner of the podium.

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1055 West Georgia Street

There’s a rather tired looking, very small Royal Bank branch in a small pavilion at the base of the Royal Centre towers at Burrard and West Georgia.

Now Musson Cattell Mackey have designed a 5 storey replacement, which will have a replacement bank on the main floor, four floors of office above, and a canopy added to the adjacent area next to the new building which would see a new restaurant added underneath.

The render suggests the whole complex will now be called RBC Place.

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1150 Comox Street

Although the Mole Hill housing project was completed nearly 15 years ago, there were still a few privately owned lots that could see further change. Mole Hill’s collection of early houses was acquired with the idea of increasing the size of Nelson Park, but the potential for heritage preservation and providing low-rise non-market housing saw a different approach

Ankenman Marchand designed this infill behind a restored 1902 house, converted to strata 4 units. The front elevation really hasn’t changed, although the house has been moved forward on the lot and totally renovated.

The laneway has a more contemporary design, which as built has the same massing, but different colours to the render on the right. An earlier proposal to add a much larger apartment form on the lane was rejected, and the project took several years to complete as a result.

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1668 Davie Street


This rental tower on Davie Street has 158 secured market rental units over retail space. The site was previously the parking lot for London Drugs, which has been replaced underground.

Designed by D A Architects and Planners (the long-established Downs Archambault practice) for Larco, the 23-storey tower didn’t require a rezoning; so went through the system reasonably speedily, and is now complete under four years from first being proposed.

As built, the blue balconies look as dramatic (and seaside-related) as the pre-build illustration suggested they might. The entrance to the building also has some neat touches, with a tile patterned wall, and an illuminated canopy that covers the entrance and continues inside the building’s lobby.


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1296 West Broadway

The Denny’s on West Broadway, with its surface parking lot, has been an obvious contender for redevelopment for years.

The architects are the very experienced IBI Group working for Jameson Development Corp.

Initially they obtained a rezoning in 2017 under the Rental 100 program for a 16-storey mixed-use building with retail at grade and office or retail on the second floor, and 158 rental apartments above. There were 39 2-bed and 17 3-bed units, so it met the ‘family-friendly’ policies of the City of Vancouver for purpose-built rental projects.

Now the project has grown significantly, (and has a new address of 2538 Birch Street), with 248 rental units now proposed, in a 28 storey tower. There would be 30 studios, 121 one-bedrooms, 70 two-bedrooms & 27 three-bedrooms. 53 units are designated as moderate income units – so leasing at below market. There’s also 16,212 sq. ft. of office space and 11,326 sq. ft. of retail. The corner is proposed to have a public art tile mosaic by local Musqueam artist, Debra Sparrow.

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