If it proceeds, a proposed redevelopment project in downtown Vancouver will be one of the largest new rental housing projects in the West End neighbourhood.
Local developer Hollyburn Properties has partnered with Frankl Architecture to redevelop 1640-1650 Alberni Street into a 385-foot-tall, 42-storey tower with 276 rental units.
The project is significant not only for its scale but because it would involve the demolition of Brockton House, the existing 14-storey, 66-rental unit Brockton House building on the proposed development site. To date, most major redevelopments in Vancouver have been on greenfield, low-density or low-rise sites, which are generally more affordable and available to acquire, but this project steps away from the trend that developers have been pursuing.
A number of relocation mitigation measures will be offered to residents of the existing building to ensure they are cared for. This includes providing assistance in finding alternate accommodations, the first right-of-refusal on the new rental units, a contribution towards moving expenses, a minimum of two months’ notification to the end of tenancy, and at least two months’ financial compensation towards rent.
Proponents intend to allocate 40% of the units as family units, effectively aligning the proposal with the municipal government’s High Density Housing for Families with Children’s Guidelines.
There will be 108 units for families, split between 94 two bedroom units and 14 three bedroom units. Planned amenities in the building are designed for families with children, including a lounge and children’s play area.
A floor space ratio (FSR) of 13.66 and LEED Gold design standard is being pursued.
The project is currently in the pre-application phase as a rezoning application has yet to be submitted. If approved, construction on the tower could begin in mid-2018.
A number of major projects are also planned or proposed for the immediate vicinity, including a 40-storey ‘carved’ tower by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, a 43-storey Jenga-like tower, a 44-storey obelisk-inspired tower, and a 26-storey tower with a scaly facade. However, all of these projects are aimed for upscale residents.
The largest rental project proposed for the West End is a 319-unit, two-tower proposal by Westbank on the Safeway site on Denman Street.
The City of Vancouver aims to foster the development of at least 5,000 new rental units by the end of the decade. As of spring 2016, there were 5,660 units in the works including 1,291 units completed, 1,996 units under construction, and 2,373 units approved.
The vacancy rate City-wide currently sits at just 0.8%. At 0.5%, the West End’s rental vacancy rate is the lowest in the city.