Nearly four months after the provincial government announced the project, a rezoning application has been submitted to develop the vacant industrial lot at 1015 East Hastings Street into a mixed-use development with a homeless shelter and social housing for the Indigenous community, as well as market rental housing.
BC Housing’s proposal for the northwest corner of the intersection of East Hastings Street and Glen Drive in the Downtown Eastside calls for a complex of two joined 14-storey residential towers reaching up to 139 ft in height. The CN railway to the port crosses through the western side of the city block.
The west building, operated by the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society (VAFCS), will contain 85 units of social housing, with a unit mix of 15 studios, 35 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units, and five three-bedroom units.
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A third of the social housing units will be rented at the shelter component of income assistance for low-income households eligible for income assistance or a combination of old age pension and guaranteed income supplement. Another third will be up to housing income limits, while the remaining third will be affordable market rents.
Social housing residents will have a significant rooftop amenity entailing a large multipurpose room that opens up to an outdoor landscaped space with a children’s play area.
VAFCS will also operate a shelter with 80 beds, 25 units of transitional social housing, and social services within the Day Centre of the west building’s first four levels. The Day Centre includes a dining room, kitchen serving two meals to residents daily, a day lounge, library, meeting space, art studio, counselling spaces, and cultural gathering and ceremony space.
The shelter beds will be offered on a 90-day term to eliminate the need for daily queuing, and free up time for homeless individuals to allow them to pursue “personal wellbeing, betterment, and employment.”
“A key design goal is to express Indigenous values of sharing and caring, the importance of connecting to nature, and to provide opportunities to connect to Indigenous culture. Connecting to views of places in the landscape, such as views of the mountains and water and outdoor spaces with greenery are important,” reads the design rationale by Low Hammond Rowe Architects.
“Spaces that support culture, ceremony, and gathering are key to the facility’s mission. Architectural expression throughout the entire project is intended to celebrate Indigenous culture and will be developed with Indigenous Elders and artists as the project evolves.”
Within the east building, a 4,600-sq-ft ground level space will be used as a social enterprise, which includes a cafe and bicycle repair operation.
A total of 53 secured market rental homes will be constructed in the upper levels of the east building, with a unit mix of 15 studios, 33 one-bedroom units, and five two-bedroom units.
The market rental residential component will be completely self-contained, physically separate from the rest of the complex with its own elevators, circulation, exiting, and building services. The intent is to sell the market rental component to a private owner as a turnkey rental property with revenues shared between the developer and BC Housing to help cover the complex’s construction cost.
“A clean separation between the market housing component and the rest of the project is made to facilitate a straightforward property demarcation and separate operations and maintenance, which in turn will make it most attractive to a buyer,” reads the rationale.
“The two housing components are composed as two separate masses of different heights, set at right angles to each other in an L-shape, and connected by back-to-back elevator and stair cores. These sit on a podium built up from the lower parking levels and the two Shelter levels which sites below the level of the Hastings Viaduct.”
The market rental entrance and lobby is located at Glen Drive, on the east side of the building. Residents of the market rental homes will have access to amenity spaces on the top floor, with a fitness room, meeting room, and two separate outdoor rooftop gardens.
“The two residential blocks are given a special skyline identity by their respective amenity penthouses. These, together with their cousin the Shelter entry portal, are loosely inspired by the interior of the cedar bentwood boxes of the coastal First Peoples. These are simple but expressive forms, with open glazed ends taking in views in all the cardinal directions, lined with warm cedar and wrapped with copper coloured metal cladding,” continues the rationale.
“Their slight projection over the roof parapets accentuates their role as import social spaces for the building’s community and helps them make a strong statement from distant viewpoints, such as the important view from the east.”
Three levels below the shelter provide 59 vehicle parking stalls and 318 bike parking spaces.
The total floor area is 156,184 sq. ft., providing the complex with a floor space ratio density of 6.8 times the size of the 22,970 sq. ft. lot.