The plans for the new St. Paul’s Hospital in the False Creek Flats, on the easternmost edge of downtown Vancouver and immediately south of Chinatown, are immense to say the least.
An overall master plan policy statement for the project was approved by Vancouver City Council last year, and a rezoning application by IBI Group Architects based on the approved policy statement was recently submitted to advance the project closer to the construction stage.
Providence Healthcare’s new replacement hospital, anticipated to cost up to $1.2 billion, will be located on a vacant 18.4-acre site at 1002 Station Street – immediately north of Pacific Central railway station and south of Chinatown, and near SkyTrain’s Main Street-Science World Station.
The hospital will be bordered to the north by a new east-west arterial road that begins at Northeast False Creek, and new streets – including a high street fronted by retail and restaurants – will be created within the development site.
It is anticipated the new hospital will include about 700 beds – a considerable increase from the 435 beds currently found at the existing, aging hospital facility on Burrard Street, but smaller than Vancouver General Hospital’s 1,000 beds.
All of the existing programs and services found at the current facility on Burrard Street will be provided at the new facility, including emergency room services, medical surgical inpatient care, critical and high acuity care, maternity and newborn care, mental health, ambulatory clinics, clinical support services, rehabilitation services, specialty services, surgical and interventional services, and transition centre.
“The core hospital is comprised of three main areas that are organized in relation to one another to optimize operations for timely and effective care. The north and south hospital buildings are linked by a central atrium,” reads the plans.
“The south block houses support buildings to the core hospital functions: a professional office building with daycare facility; a research centre; and office/research centre expansion buildings. The main entrances for these buildings, like the north block, are oriented to the Healthcare Boulevard.”
Early in the planning stage, there were considerations to incorporate a heliport into the hospital, but the application states a more detailed study will be be required to determine its exact placement.
The new hospital is intended to be a part of a larger health campus hub, far larger than the existing facilities of St. Paul’s Hospital, entailing as many as seven buildings during the first two phases. This includes an 180-room hotel for visiting family and friends of hospital patients or visiting workers and researchers, office and research buildings for healthcare-related fields, and even some health-related residential intended for staff of the hospital and visiting researchers. Non-hospital buildings will be developed by other parties and partners.
Space has also been set aside to allow for major expansions of the hospital complex and the construction of additional office and research buildings. Nearly a dozen buildings could form the overall campus once all three phases are fully complete.
These buildings will be connected by overhead walkways, underground parking, and service areas.
Two childcare facilities with a combined capacity for 125 young children are planned to meet the needs of workers in the health campus.
Expansive public spaces and green spaces are envisioned for the new hub, such as a large central plaza in front of the main hospital entrance and a smaller plaza next to the hotel.
New streets running through the area will include bike lanes that connect to the seawall, and the public realm will be finished with extensive landscaping. This includes a looping ‘Wellness Walk’ path around the perimeter of the hospital complex, established from a generous setback with a wide sidewalk and lush plantings.
Extensive green roof spaces for both ecological functions and therapeutic uses for patients are planned.
Overall, the new health campus will have a total floor area spanning nearly 2.5 million sq. ft., and the tallest buildings will reach approximately 200 ft. There is a goal to construct the new facility to a LEED Gold green building standard.
Providence Healthcare is aiming to complete and open the first phase – entailing the opening of the new hospital – by 2024.
This would allow the redevelopment of the existing 6.5-acre Burrard Street hospital site, with proceeds from the covering the cost of the new hospital facility. Significant density is permitted for the site under the City’s West End Community Plan.