Vancouver City Council approves 557 rental homes for the West End

Jun 23 2022, 12:10 am

Twin towers on both eastern corners of the intersection of Thurlow Street and Harwood Street in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood have been approved.

On Tuesday, Vancouver City Council approved Bosa Properties’ Bosa4Rent Homes’ project of building 557 rental homes on the two sites separated by Harwood Street.

While this is considered as one project, the towers were split into two site-specific rezoning applications, with city council voting unanimously in support for each application. TEAM councillor Colleen Hardwick was absent from the vote.

Both towers will reach 300 ft with 33 storeys. The applications originally called for slightly taller buildings, but this was not permitted by city staff due to the need to follow the city’s West End Community Plan and reduce shadowing on Davie Street to the north.

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Site of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Site of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

The north tower at 1332 Thurlow Street and 1065 Harwood Street will contain 279 rental homes, including 224 market units and 55 below-market units, while the south tower at 1066-1078 Harwood Street will contain 278 rental homes, including 223 market units and 55 below-market units.

The below-market housing allocation includes replacement units for the residents of the existing four 60+ year old, low-rise buildings on the development sites.

“This project goes above and beyond in offering below-market housing in our city that is desperately needed, and we know all of the checks and balances will be in place to test incomes and to make sure that those who need the deepest level of affordability will be getting it,” said NPA councillor Melissa De Genova during the meeting.

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

Five years ago, Bosa Properties originally proposed to build two condominium towers with a similar height and density, but with a starkly different design. It would have included 241 homes, including 143 condominium homes and 98 social housing units. But the condominium-primary proposal stalled due to the market downturn at the time, which meant the social housing units and the high level of community amenity contributions (CACs) were no longer financially feasible.

To move this proposal and several others forward along the West End’s Thurlow Street corridor, in late 2020, city council approved city staff’s recommendation to enable a two-year period of providing developers with the flexible option to build market rental housing with a below-market rental housing component, instead of condominiums with some social housing and allocating CACs worth tens of millions of dollars, as required under the West End Plan. This interim policy has since catalyzed the conversion of a number of previous condominium-primary proposals into rental housing.

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

Henriquez Partners Architects was retained as the architect for the revised design with rental-primary uses.

“High quality building materials will be used throughout the project in a refined palette that integrates with the rich historical context of its surroundings. The solid walls of the building will be clad with durable materials. Insulated precast concrete panels with a thin brick veneer or with a form lined texture are being explored as possible options for a durable and timeless character that will blend with the variety of styles and architectural typologies that define the texture of Vancouver’s West End,” reads the architect’s design rationale.

“The solid walls will help highlight the building’s unique interlocking vocabulary, expressed by the balconies that are sculpted out of the horizontal bands. These solid wall bands have been metaphorically pushed out by the balconies and broken at the ends. The open ends of the balconies are framed by bronze picket railings.”

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

The total floor areas will reach 218,000 sq ft for the north tower, and 217,000 sq ft for the south tower, with each building establishing a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 12.6 times larger than the size of the lots.

The north tower will contain five underground levels and the south tower will contain six levels, containing a combined total of 320 vehicle parking stalls and 1,080 bike parking spaces.

The developer will be required to provide the municipal government with $6.2 million in development cost levies for each of the two towers, but they will be eligible for a waiver of most of these fees — a waiver of $4 million for each tower. A public art contribution of $430,000 will also be stipulated.

Architectural rendering of the original condominium towers proposal at the intersection of Thurlow Street and Harwood Street. (Bosa BlueSky Properties/Henriquez Partners Architects)

1065-1066-1078 Harwood Street 1332 Thurlow Street Vancouver Bosa4Rent

Artistic rendering of the rental-only concept for 1065 Harwood Street and 1332 Thurlow Street (north site) and 1078 Harwood Street (south site). (Henriquez Partners Architects/Bosa4Rent Homes)

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