Indigenous social housing tower proposed for Knight Street and King Edward Avenue

Oct 29 2021, 9:53 pm

Details of the proposed supportive housing building at the southeast corner of the intersection of King Edward Avenue and Knight Street in Vancouver’s Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood have been released, ahead of the start of public consultation.

The rezoning application for 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue calls for a 185-ft-tall, 14-storey permanent modular tower, replacing a vacant lot next to Kingcrest Park and King Edward Village.

BC Housing’s intension to develop this site with affordable housing was first made known in February 2021, and since then they have selected Vancouver Native Housing Society and Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society as the building’s operators. Initially, this proposal called for 90 studio units of supportive housing in a 12-storey building.

Based on the refined details, with two additional floors, there will now be 109 studio units of supportive housing for Indigenous individuals experiencing or at risk of homeless. Each unit will have its own bathroom and kitchenette, and residents will also have access to various common amenities, multipurpose spaces, and dining areas within the lower floors, as well as indoor and outdoor amenity spaces on the tower rooftop.

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Site of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Vancouver Supportive Housing

Site of the supportive housing project at 1406-1410 East King Edward, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

Designed by Stantec Architecture, the tower would be built using a system of stacked steel structures, using the pre-fabricated process established by Bird/Stack Modular. Not entirely dissimilar to Vancouver’s temporary modular housing structures, it is expected this permanent building will be constructed relatively quickly using this method.

In addition to cost effectiveness and speed, the structure is being designed to Passive House green building standards.

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

The building’s facade will be highlighted by timber-like panels that soften its modular appearance. Large blank walls spanning the tower’s height could be blanketed by Indigenous-themed murals.

The total floor area is 77,313 sq ft, creating a floor area ratio density for a floor area that is 11.73 times larger than the size of the 6,588 sq ft lot. An underground level contains four vehicle parking stalls, some bike parking spaces, and utility and equipment areas.

City council is expected to reach the public hearing stage with this rezoning application early next year. If approved, construction could begin in the middle of 2022.

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

This King Edward/Knight project is one of two permanent supportive housing tower proposals put forward by BC Housing this year, with the other major project being a 13-storey modular tower containing 140 supportive housing units at a site at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue — next to SkyTrain’s future Arbutus Station. The Kitsilano proposal has been particularly controversial to date for reasons that include its close proximity to St. Augustine’s private elementary school.

Both projects work towards the provincial government’s goal announced in September 2020 of building 350 additional permanent supportive housing units in Vancouver.

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of 1406-1410 East King Edward Avenue, Vancouver. (Stantec Architecture/BC Housing)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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