West End twin towers with 1,100 homes approved by Vancouver City Council

May 11 2023, 11:58 pm

Twin towers in downtown Vancouver’s West End with a range of affordable homes have been swiftly approved by Vancouver City Council.

Following a public hearing that briefly began Tuesday evening and continued for a very short duration Thursday afternoon, without the need for debate, City Council unanimously approved the rezoning application by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties for 1040-1080 Barclay Street.

The development site, replacing old low-rise apartment buildings, takes up half a city block at the southeast corner of the intersection of Thurlow Street and Barclay Street — immediately west of the Robert Lee YMCA.

The project has been more than six years in the making. In 2018, the developers initially proposed two Jenga-like towers — reaching 449 ft with 48 storeys and 458 ft with 49 storeys — containing 680 homes, including 481 condominium homes and 162 social housing units. This previous concept with the appearance of stacked cubes was designed by renowned German firm Buro Ole Scheeren Architects.

However, when the condominium market softened, this condominium/social housing iteration of the project with a Jenga-like design was cancelled.

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

Site of the rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. Dark yellow represents proposed high-rise buildings, while light yellow represents existing high-rise buildings. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 barclay street vancouver

Site of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Google Earth)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

Site of the rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

Cancelled 2018 condominium-primary design by Buro Ole Scheeren Architects:

1070-barclay-street-vancouver-bosa-properties-twin-towers-buro-ole-scheeren-1

Artistic rendering of Bosa Properties’ twin tower proposal at 1070 Barclay Street in downtown Vancouver. (Buro Ole Scheeren Architects/Bosa Properties)

May 2023 approved rezoning application design:

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver rental towers

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

After the previous makeup of City Council introduced flexible policies, providing developers on the west side of Thurlow Street within the West End with the option to pursue rental housing developments, the developers returned with a new rezoning application in early 2022 with a different architectural design, taller towers for more density, and a wider range of housing tenure — the introduction of a significant rental housing component.

As approved by City Council, this revised project will create twin towers, with both buildings reaching a structural height of 550 ft. However, the East Tower (mid-block) will appear slightly shorter in the skyline than the West Tower due to the downslope elevation change from the intersection.

In accordance with City staff’s shadowing concerns, the uppermost levels of both towers have also been sculpted down on the north side to partial floor plates to reduce shadowing on the Robson Street sidewalks, two blocks to the north.

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver shadowing

Diagram showing the uppermost levels of the twin towers carved down to partial floor plates to consider Robson Street shadowing impacts. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 uses in the towers for the redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

The West Tower at the intersection will have 57 storeys, containing 365 condominium homes in the upper levels, 99 social housing units in the base levels, and a 4,600 sq ft childcare facility for up to 37 kids at ground level.

The East Tower will have 60 storeys, providing 636 secured purpose-built rental homes, including 506 market rental units and 130 below-market rental units.

Social housing residents in the West Tower will have their own indoor amenity space on the lower levels, along with a main entrance and lobby separate from condominium residents.

Condominium residents will have access to an expansive indoor amenity space spanning two entire levels in the mid-section of the West Tower.

Rental housing residents in the East Tower will find their indoor and outdoor amenity spaces on both the ground level and the tower rooftop.

Both towers will also have minor commercial spaces at ground level, including 4,300 sq ft across two retail/restaurant units for the West Tower fronting Thurlow Street and a 1,700 sq ft cafe unit in the East Tower activating the mid-block plaza and pedestrian pathway, which separates the towers.

Both towers combined will generate about 946,000 sq ft of total floor area, establishing a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is approximately 22 times larger than the size of the 43,300 sq ft lot.

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 artistic rendering of a rental housing-primary redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver Rental Housing

March 2022 ground-level plan for the redevelopment of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

The towers are designed by architectural firm Perkins&Will, which also created a concept that hints of stacked boxes — it is far more subtle than the previous Jenga-like design.

As currently planned and approved, this project will involve very deep excavation for 10 underground levels, accommodating 820 vehicle parking stalls and 2,087 secured bike parking spaces.

During today’s public meeting, OneCity councillor Christine Boyle expressed strong desire for the project to reduce its vehicle parking supply. In response, City staff suggested that through transportation demand measures, the developer could potentially reduce their parking supply by up to 60%, but it will ultimately be their decision, based on their perceived need/market demand for the amount of vehicle parking. If they desire to reduce vehicle parking, this could be done during the forthcoming development permit application stage.

In exchange for the density and market residential uses, the project’s public benefits will reach a total value of $87 million, including $17.3 million in development cost levies, $6.6 million from the in-kind value of the childcare facility, $61.4 million from the in-kind value of the social housing, and $1.7 million of public art.

The twin towers will add to the growing tight cluster of taller towers in the immediate area, with Westbank’s The Butterfly tower (586 ft) to the southeast, Brivia Group’s CURV tower (586 ft) to the south, and Pacific Northern Developments’ tower (487 ft) to the north. The Butterfly will reach completion later this year, CURV will begin construction in 2024, and the unnamed Pacific Northern Developments project saw its rezoning application approved early this year.

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

1040-1080 Barclay Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 1040-1080 Barclay Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bosa Properties/Kingswood Properties)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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