Another stalled residential tower project in downtown Vancouver’s West End returns to the rezoning application phase with various proposed uses.
While the tower’s height and shape are nearly the same, more floors have been squeezed into the building volume and the floor slabs are now larger to allow for increased density with a floor area ratio (FAR) 12.25 times greater than the size of the lot – opposite the previous design of 9.01 FAR.
In July 2018, the Vision Vancouver-led City Council approved a 30-story tower on the lot at 1068-1090 Burnaby Street and 1318 Thurlow Street – the southeast corner of the intersection of Thurlow Street and Burnaby Street – containing 89 condominiums and 39 public housing units.
The new application for rededication now provides for around 24 social housing (equivalent to around 10% of the total living space) and 287 secured rental apartments. In their filing, local developers Strand and Intracorp Homes state that due to changing market conditions, the previous condo design was no longer financially viable and the project was shelved. The existing low-storey apartment buildings are rented for a limited period.
This revised design is now being presented as part of the City Council’s new flexible guidelines for developers, giving them the opportunity to propose rental housing primary projects along the east side of Thurlow Street in the West End, rather than the more expensive option of condominiums with significant community facilities contributions (CACs) .
Under the new application, there would be separate lobby entrances, elevators and interiors for the council and rental housing components, with the council housing entrance on Burnaby Street and the rental housing entrance on Thurlow Street. However, the residents of both residential areas will share the open spaces outdoors.
The council housing mix of sizes consists of nine studios, three one-bedroom units, six two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units. These units are located on floors two through five.
Above the council housing base, the mix of rental unit sizes will include 59 studios, 118 one-bedroom units, 107 two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units.
While this particular location is not affected by the height restrictions of sheltered mountain view cones, the potential height of the tower is capped by city officials’ desire to limit building shading on the sidewalks of Davie Village’s retail strip — one block north — between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes. This is accomplished by not only limiting the overall height of the building to 295 feet, but also by setting back the top floors of the tower, creating part-size floor slabs for the top three levels.
“Perhaps the most defining visual aspect of the design is the offset, peaked roofline, which responds to the shadow angle limitation imposed on the Davie Street sidewalk. Rather than obscure or counteract the restriction, it is used to create a distinctive roof shape that contributes to the skyline,” reads the design justification by Boniface Oleksiuk Politano Architects.
“Two bands of solid cladding rise on the north and south sides of the tower and resolve at the top into a decorative cover for the mechanical equipment on the roof, enhancing the overall appearance of the project.”
Four basement floors and part of the ground floor will provide space for 125 vehicle parking spaces and 487 secure bicycle parking spaces. The total floor area would reach approximately 212,000 square meters.