A unique and innovative addition to the rooftop parking deck of the major parkade in Gastown has been proposed by the City of Vancouver.
There is a proposal to build two single-storey structures on the easternmost end of the parkade at 150 Water Street, with the northern side on Water Street and the southern side on West Cordova Street, across Trounce Alley, each holding a 37-space childcare facility for a total capacity of 74 children.
This includes 24 spaces for toddlers under the age of three and 25 spaces for children between the ages of three and five.
According to a development application designed by Acton Ostry Architects to modify the city-owned parkade, each facility will take over approximately 38,000 sq. ft. of the rooftop’s parking area for a combined total area in excess of 75,000 sq. ft.
Water Street Childcare
West Cordova Childcare
The facilities feature extensive, high-quality outdoor play areas for each side of the project, including a large tricycle practice loop on the West Cordova side.
A pedestrian bridge over the laneway linking the two facilities together is proposed.
To access the facilities, two dedicated entrances with elevators and a staircase will be created, with one entrance located on Water Street and the other on Cordova Street. Vehicle parking for staff and parental pick-up and drop-off areas will be accessed from Water Street.
Once approved, the municipal government will select a single non-profit operator to run both facilities.
The parkade, constructed by the city at a cost of $28 million and designed by Henriquez Partners Architects, opened in 2004 and initially included Storyeum within its basement – a $22-million live-action show attraction that told the story of BC’s history. But the attraction closed just over two years later due to its financial losses.
After years of vacancy, Storyeum’s former 70,000 sq. ft. space was later converted into a satellite campus for the Vancouver Film School. The parkade also has retail space on its ground level.
In 2013, the parkade was named “one of the coolest in the world” – ranked in the top 10 – by Britain’s FX Magazine.
There is a severe shortage of childcare spaces in Vancouver, and the current provincial government has made new affordable childcare spaces one of its key priorities.
During February’s budget announcement, the government announced $1 billion in funding for a new provincial childcare subsidy program and $237 million to create 22,000 new licensed childcare spaces over the next three years.