1144 Burrard Street

The Burrard Medical Building is a 5-storey office building designed by Rhone & Iredale, who won an architectural award for it when it was built in 1972. Now Amacon have acquired it and are proposing a conversion of the upper floors to a 68 room boutique hotel, with a restaurant (with a patio) on the main floor. With St paul’s Hospital moving in a few years, medical offices are likely to move as well.

Designed by Ciccozzi Architects, steel frames will be added to the facade to add variation, painted a lighter colour than the remainder of the existing concrete facade, which will be charcoal grey.

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

205 West 5th Avenue

This is the next industrial and office building to complete in the Mount Pleasant commercial area. As with several other of the recent developments in the area, it sits on a corner (in this case W 5th and Columbia) and it’s designed by MGBA for Rendition Developments (in partnership with Nicola Wealth)

As with most projects in the area it proposes 4 floors, with 24,585 square feet of space; a third for manufacturing and two thirds of office uses on the upper floors.

The final touches have now been added, and apart from replacing some of the white painted concrete with a more practical pale grey it’s exactly as promised.

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

1068-1080 Burnaby and 1318 Thurlow Street

Here’s another West End tower that can be developed thanks to the West End Plan.  It’s a rezoning for a 34-storey rental tower with 287 market and 24 social units to be developed by Strand Developments with Intracorp. It will replace a 5 unit rental in a 1905 house, a 14 unit strata built in 1984 and a 23 unit rental building developed in 1955.

In 2019 the developers proposed a 30 storey tower called ‘The Thurlow’, with 82 condos and 39 social housing units, similar to a nearby tower proposal by the same architects and developers, designed by NSDA. They sold that project site when it failed to sell sufficient units, and a new developer is proposing a rental project there too.

Here, the developers have retained the site, but as the rental market is now more attractive than the condo market, have hired a different architect, BOP (Boniface Oleksluk Politano Architects) to design a bigger tower.

Posted in West End | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Gemini – 138 East 8th Avenue

The Urban Design Panel reviewed, and supported this unusual housing project in Mount Pleasant six years ago. Called The Grand, it was supposed to have an innovative stacked modular construction. Ankenman Marchand had designed the 18 unit building to be constructed from factory assembled modules that will be trucked to site and then stacked over the retail unit on the lower floor.

Among other problems, that didn’t happen. Initially the excavation for the parkade went horribly wrong when the shotcrete and horizontal anchors failed, and a portion of the street fell into the hole. Relaunched as Gemini, with a more traditional concrete frame, it now has 17 units, in a building that still looks like the modular earlier version, and has taken three years of construction.

Initial renders suggested a muted colour; the copper chosen to accent the black panels is altogether more bold.

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

Aristotle – 1308 Adanac Street

Taylor Kurtz Architecture & Design designed another of the new buildings in the Clark Drive Industrial Area. For decades most of the buildings in the area were single, and sometimes two storeys. A shortage of sites, and more flexible zoning has led to a series of much bigger projects. Aristotle, just completing, has over 54,000 square feet of space.

The I-2 zoning allows up to 100 feet tall buildings, and this has five floors. The zoning allows a wide range of light industrial uses including life sciences laboratories, high-technology facilities, light manufacturing and food production, creative/design services, showrooms and wholesale. A wider range of general office tenants is allowed on the top two floors.

Initially proposed on the site of a former muffler, lube and tire garage as strata units, a new developer took over and is now offering the building for rent, and it’s already two thirds leased.

Posted in Clark Drive | Tagged , | Leave a comment

VCII – 753 Seymour Street

Ten years ago we posted an initial scheme for 753 Seymour Street, a new office tower replacing the Vancouver Centre parkade. It’s located next to the Scotia Tower and across from the Telus office complex.

It’s a design by experienced city office architects MCM. The final version is shown below; earlier versions were fussier and more complex on the lower part of the tower; now there’s an angled ‘curtain’ wall being pulled sideways.

753-seymour-deIt was hard to be certain, but it looked as if the tower also flared slightly outwards, and that’s the case in reality.

Previously this was a pretty dead stretch of street, but the Telus block has been overclad, and with their new offices on Georgia as well, it should be a whole lot better.

There’s an unusual aspect to the proposal: floors 2 to 6 are above-grade parking, with 398,000 square feet of office above that. The total parking proposed just about meets the requirements here, with 7 underground floors of parking and 5 above grade. The developers appear to be anticipating those requirements coming down in future, as 65,000 of the above grade parking is designed to potentially convert to additional office space.

The rezoning report said “The exterior of the office building incorporates a complex curtain-wall glazing treatment that involves fritted glass, triple-glazed units and an extended capping system in order to maximize energy performance of the building.”

One unexpected aspect of the project is the public art, a huge 30 foot salmon sculpture called ‘Spawn’ by Douglas Coupland.

Described inaccurately as stainless steel, it’s actually fibre glass, with the colours of the angular planes reflecting the salmon’s imminent demise: “Spawning salmon are literally disintegrating, and their skins turn unexpected colours — and then they’re gone”.

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Post – 349 West Georgia

Various designs and ideas circulated about what would happen to the 1950s Post Office that fills an entire city block. It was sold to pension fund developer Quadreal, and in November 2016 Musson Cattell Mackey submitted a rezoning that would have seen an office tower, some large format retail and two residential towers (shown below left).

Then it was totally changed to have just two towers, both for office space (right). This was the biggest shift from proposed residential to commercial use seen in many years – and it meant that the project could proceed without a Public Hearing as it need not be a rezoning. Now five years later the project is nearly complete.

It’s a huge building – the original building is massive – a Heritage ‘A’ structure designed by McCarter & Nairne (who also designed the Marine Building). What you can’t see is that the building is almost as big underground as above – and when it was built it was the world’s largest welded-steel structure, so we’re talking solid!

The heritage element has been converted into a seven-storey podium which will contain retail along all street frontages, office, and parking both above and below grade.

Amazon initially took 416,000 square feet (one of the largest single deals in the city’s history) with plans to add 3,000 more employees, on top of the 2,000 they had previously announced. Subsequently they leased the second tower as well, so they will occupy nearly a million square feet in the 1.13 million square feet project. There will be around 150,000 square feet of retail space, including a large supermarket and a food court featuring some of the historic neon from the Museum of  Vancouver collection.

As built (but not yet fitted out by the tenants) the building almost exactly delivers what was promised, and despite a pandemic and economic uncertainty, Amazon are fitting out and recruiting to occupy their space.

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

516-534 West Pender & 509 Richards Street

The corner of Pender and Richards has a parkade, but up Richards is the Lumberman’s Building, and along Pender is the Captain Pybus Block. Both are retained in this project to add a 578 room hotel, with office and retail space.

Overall the project proposes 32 storeys, with large scoop cut-outs to differentiate the heritage building. Designed by Henriquez Architects, the building would have an impressive density of over 22 FSR.

Posted in Downtown | Tagged , | Leave a comment

900 West Georgia Street

Those in the know will recognise this as the address of the Hotel Vancouver. There’s a low section of the building on the south side of the hotel, and owners Larco are proposing a 264,000 office building to sit on that side of the hotel.

Designed by Architects-Alliance of Toronto, the 17-storey office would be shorter than the hotel, so views of the green hotel ‘chateau’ roof would be mostly preserved. The building adopts the ‘stcak of boxes’ approach seen in other office developments in the city. There’s a slot cut-out that lines up with the heritage 1950s former library to the south.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

456 to 496 Prior Street


Strand Developments submitted a rezoning for a Prior Street development in the fall of 2019, to be developed just to the east of the new St Paul’s Hospital.

The two 19 storey rental towers had 262 units, above a 5-storey office and retail podium. Francl Architecture designed the project which incorporated a 14,000 sq. ft. grocery store in the podium along with 246,000 sq. ft. of office space.

Council approved the project, and now the Development Application has been submitted. The tower design has changed slightly, the number of units has increased to 303 over 228,000 sq ft of office space (both general and health care space) and 28,500 of commercial space at grade, with four restaurants and other retail units, but apparently no grocery store.

Posted in Downtown Eastside | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment