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Business, Architecture & Design, Development

This is what will replace the Vancouver viaducts at Main Street

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Kenneth Chan Jun 27, 2017 8:05 am 6,292

Two city-sized block sections on the easternmost end of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts are set to get a new look.

Located immediately west and east of Main Street, the viaduct ramps will be redeveloped into a mixed-use development with retail and both market and non-market housing.

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The original 1915-built viaducts were demolished and replaced in the early-1970s, with an extension to the block east of Main Street where the African Canadian enclave called Hogan’s Alley was located.

Location of the West Block in relation to the existing footprint of the Vancouver viaducts ramps. (Perkins + Will)

According to the City of Vancouver’s Northeast False Creek draft area plan, the redevelopment of the City-owned land will be an “opportunity to redress a moment in history” when the municipality was planning a freeway project, which resulted in the demolition of Hogan’s Alley in the 1970s.

There will be approximately 1,000 residential units combined between both blocks immediately south of Chinatown, including 200 to 300 units of social housing. Childcare facilities, cultural centre and social facilities, and non-profit office space are also planned.

Ground-level areas facing streets and public spaces will be lined with shops and restaurants to provide the area with activity and help revitalize Chinatown.

West Block

The so-called ‘West Block’ is bordered by Main Street to the east, Union Street to the north, Quebec Street to the south, and the planned Pacific Boulevard extension to the south.

Three buildings are planned, with the tallest being a tower with approximately 20 storeys, within the constraints of height limitations stipulated by view cones, located near the centre of the site.

Artistic rendering of the West Block redevelopment and the new plaza space. (Perkins + Will)

As the city block is on reclaimed land, a large plaza space splicing through the middle of the block with a water feature will “reflect” the footprint of the historic False Creek shoreline passing through the block.

In addition to restaurants and smaller retail units, a large grocery store is envisioned for the site.

Landscaping plan for the West Block. (Perkins + Will)

East Block

Detailed design plans have yet to be created for the east block given that it was the site of Hogan’s Alley.

The City says it wants to “meaningfully honour the Black community that existed prior to the building of the viaducts while celebrating the contributions of the contemporary Black community.”

The East Block is immediately adjacent to the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus planned for the False Creek Flats.

Artistic rendering of the West Block. (Perkins + Will)

Artistic rendering of the West Block. (Perkins + Will)

Depiction of the West Block redevelopment showing the massing. (Perkins + Will)

Depiction of the West Block redevelopment showing the massing. (Perkins + Will)


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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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