A proposed concept for a large one-block stretch of land – formerly Hogan’s Alley – currently occupied by the eastern end of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, immediately south of Chinatown and east of Main Street, is at first glance intentionally archaic, with flairs of Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro.
The 3.5-acre block at 898 Main Street bounded by Main Street to the west, Union Street to the north, Gore Avenue to the east, and Prior Street to the south is part of the Northeast False Creek planning process.
The design for this block by local architectural firm Perks & Will calls for six buildings with varying massings reaching a height of up to 14 storeys.
A new Hogan’s Alley is created on the site, flowing through the block’s span as a unique plaza space and pedestrianized laneway with a market as well as retail and restaurants at its edge.
The multi-building complex will be predominantly residential, including 300 units of social housing. At the block’s mid-span, overhead footbridges will provide a connection between buildings separated by the new laneway.
At the block’s western end at Main Street, there will be a cultural centre with social and community gathering facilities, including a rooftop basketball court, and non-profit office space. A daycare facility is also planned near the cultural centre.
Green terraces, porches, and rooftop gardens are defining features of the architectural concept.
“The proposed massing will be a departure from the conventional tower and podium model that characterizes much of Vancouver’s recent mid-rise and high-rise development,” reads the architect’s vision.
“The stepped massing is specifically tailored to respect view cones and adjacent contexts and the overall form is expressive of a unified architectural expression. This will render a clear sense of place necessary for its identity as a cultural precinct.”
The original Hogan’s Alley, an African Canadian enclave, was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the viaducts, and City planners say they want to use the redevelopment as an “opportunity to redress a moment in history”.
“The Black Community that lived in Hogan’s Alley is honoured by celebrating the history and ensure pursuits on the land honour the history of those that were displaced. It will create a legacy of acknowledging, honouring the past Black Community while nurturing and developing the contributions of our contemporary Black Community.”
Earlier this year, a preliminary concept for the west block – west of Hogan’s Alley across Main Street – on another part of the viaducts was released by the municipal government. Buildings reaching up to 20 storeys in height, a large grocery store, retail units, and restaurants are envisioned for this parcel.
Both the west block and east block, the new Hogan’s Alley, will have about 1,000 residential units combined. The two blocks, located immediately north of the future home of St. Paul’s Hospital, are owned by the City of Vancouver.