49-storey, tree-inspired condo tower proposed for downtown Vancouver
An eighth new major tower has been proposed for a site located within the one block radius around the intersection of Nicola Street and West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver.
Local developer Wesgroup Properties has partnered with Yamamoto Architecture to redevelop 1450 West Georgia Street — the southeast corner of the intersection — into a new mixed-use building.
The half-block site is currently occupied by an aging, 1955-built, 25-storey building with 162 rental units. Its latest assessed value by BC Assessment is $92 million.
The proposal calls for a new 49-storey residential tower reaching a height of about 500 ft, extending approximately 61 ft into the bottom of the Queen Elizabeth Park view cone. About 349 new homes will be created, with 162 replacement units of rental housing within the lower floors of the building and 187 units of market ownership units within the upper portion.
The unit mix is 51 studio units, 140 one-bedroom units, 139 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units.
Residents will have access to various amenity spaces, such as a lower-floor swimming pool and a mid-tower, high-ceiling amenity level with both indoor and outdoor spaces.
There will also be 3,000 sq. ft. of ground-level retail space and 309 vehicle parking spaces within underground levels.
As for the tower’s overall design, the architects have imagined a tower inspired by the trunk of a tree, with balconies adding to this appearance by ‘forming the branches or roots’.
“The growth of towers where the City now stands was once a forest of evergreen trees. In developing our design, we looked to our local fir trees for inspiration, and for a way to think differently about how an appropriate building and structure might arise,” reads the architect’s design description.
Balconies will be constructed using a unique independent balcony structure method, which will improve the building’s insulation and minimize the transfer of cold air into the building.
Roughly 280,000 sq. ft. of floor area will be produced, providing the project with a floor space ratio density of 13.82 times the size of its lot.
The project is currently in its pre-application phase, and a formal rezoning application is expected sometime this winter for a possible public hearing and City Council decision in fall 2019.
Wesgroup will offer an extensive tenant relocation assistance program to the residents of the existing building and provide a substantial community amenity contribution towards the City’s West End Community Plan’s long-term community amenity program.
If approved, construction could begin in 2021 for a completion in 2024.
This development site’s immediate vicinity is host to a number of other major development projects, such as Ole Scheeren’s Jenga Tower at 1500 West Georgia Street, the New York-style towers by Robert AM Stern at 1444 Alberni Street, and James Cheng’s flat iron tower at 1450 West Georgia Street, which has been postponed.
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