New 'glass box' office and retail building in Gastown retains heritage structures

May 1 2018, 11:34 am

A relatively sizeable building for downtown Vancouver’s historic Gastown district will soon be shifting into its construction phase.

The new seven-storey, 83-ft-tall commercial building project at 155 Water Street calls for five additional storeys built on top of a 1913-built, two-storey building and the retainment of 157 Water Street – an adjacent 1909-built, seven-storey warehouse building.

155 Water Street Vancouver

The development site at 155 Water Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

155 Water Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 155 Water Street, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership / Low Tide Properties)

There will be over 85,000 sq. ft. of floor area, including nearly 8,000-sq-ft of retail space on the ground floor.

Office space suitable for tech will takeover the remaining floors, and the tenants will have access to a large rooftop amenity space with landscaping; no residential is planned.

Extensive portions of the heritage buildings will be kept in the development; the facade of the two-storey building will retained as the base for the new “industrialized glass box with exposed metal detailing.”

The seven-storey building will be restored, and its walls will be retained as there are no plans to merge the floor plates of the new building due to the varying ceiling heights. Reclaimed brick from this taller building will be reused in the development’s other brick elements as well as the top floor.

“The goal being to break the scale of the two components down into masses which embody the Gastown character,” reads the City’s Urban Design Panel description of the development’s design. “Preserving the two facades is critical, as one of the goals of the Gastown guidelines is to preserve existing heritage.”

A historic breezeway on the eastern edge of the property will also be preserved to “keep the heritage spirit and access to viewing the mountains through the breezeway.”

This LEED Gold project – owned by Low Tide Properties and designed by Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership – was approved by the City of Vancouver three years ago and is now set for a spring 2020 completion.

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