The former headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, located on Robson Street across the street from the Terry Fox Plaza entrance in to BC Place Stadium, is slated for redevelopment.
The archdiocese sold its headquarters in 2012 and relocated to a new facility at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital on 33rd Street near Oak Street. Its offices were located at the building since 1958.
A formal rezoning application is expected later this year to redevelop the former headquarters, the historic three-storey Northern Electric Company Building, built in two separate phases in 1928 and 1947, and the Back Forty pub – the properties from 118 to 150 Robson Street, from Beatty Street to Cambie Street.
Designed by GBL Architects, local developer Amacon is proposing a 120-room hotel within the heritage podium and a new mid-rise on the Back Forty site, and approximately 125 residential suites within a new 293-foot-tall, 30-storey tower rising from the footprint of the heritage building. The hotel lobby will be situated on Robson Street while the residential lobby will will be located on Cambie Street.
A hotel-operated restaurant and large commercial unit is planned for the ground level of the building facing Robson Street. There will be approximately 280 below-grade parking stalls, 250 bicycle stalls, and 56 electric vehicle charging stations.
Amacon is pursuing a LEED Gold sustainability target and a floor-space-ratio density of 10.1.
Only the brick facade of the heritage archdiocese building will be preserved; the interior will be gutted for new floor levels and a modern structure.
“The exterior of the building has heritage value, and is an interesting example of commercial vernacular design with Art Moderne and Classical motifs at the entrance,” reads a backgrounder for the project.
“The Robson Street entry features three bays framed with handsome broad granite fluted pilasters and a rusticated granite base. The balance of the building is clad in wirecut brick and has metal-framed windows. A vestige of an old rail line to the Robson frontage is evident in the parking lot to the east (a former gas station). There is little remaining of heritage value on the interior.”
A 102-bed emergency shelter operated by the Catholic Charities on the third floor of the archdiocese shelter will be relocated to a yet-to-be-determined location.
Proponents also plan to incorporate public spaces, such as a wider sidewalk on Robson Street that goes right up to the building’s commercial interface and a small plaza at the corner of Beatty and Robson streets. With bushes and trees lining the exteriors of the existing properties, this section of sidewalk is often a pinch point for crowds streaming in and out of BC Place Stadium, resulting in crowds overflowing onto the roadway.
If approved by Vancouver City Council, the project will be the fifth hotel in the immediate area, adding to Hampton Inn & Suites, Hotel Blu, Georgian Court Hotel, YWCA Hotel Vancouver, and Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre. Another two hotels, Marriott’s the Douglas and JW Marriott, will open at the Parq Vancouver casino resort complex next to the stadium this September.
These new hotel properties will recoup some of the hotel room supply lost from the expected closures of the Empire Landmark Hotel and the Coast Plaza Hotel in the West End.