In most major cities, office towers are typically the tallest buildings around, but Vancouver has defied following this direction for the past two decades of city building.
However, a new office tower proposed by Oxford Properties for 1133 Melville Street, located on a multi-storey parkade site wedged mid-block next to the Loden Hotel, could give the downtown skyline new verticality.
The proposed 34-storey building has a height of 550 ft, tying it with the under-construction One Burrard Place, and is permissible under the City of Vancouver’s General Policy for Higher Buildings (GPHB), which requires architectural and sustainable designs of a higher standard.
Designed by James Cheng Architects, it calls for 555,000 sq. ft. of floor area and a relatively high density of 18.2 FSR, achieved by having some of the largest office floor plates in the city.
Most of the floor plates are approximately 20,000 sq. ft. in size, making it ideal for large companies including tech firms. Depending on the size of the companies, the building could potentially hold thousands of employees.
Retail and restaurant spaces are slated for the base of the tower.
To support the density, there will be 231 vehicle spaces and 221 bike spaces within six levels of underground parking.
The design supported by the municipal government’s Urban Design Panel (UDP) earlier this year features four stacked box masses, with each mass several storeys high. The second tallest stacked box twists approximately 15 degrees, breaking away from the fixed regular pattern.
In 2015, Oxford Properties submitted a rezoning application designed by New York City-based architectural firm Kohn Pederson Fox, which also designed the developer’s MNP Tower.
However, the UDP rejected the design as its members felt it was not unique enough to qualify for the GPHB.