Condo tower approved by Vancouver City Council will help pay for new pool

May 21 2022, 3:19 am

A single 40-storey, 100% luxury condominium tower in downtown Vancouver approved this week by Vancouver City Council will generate a staggering amount of public benefits worth more than $44 million.

The vast majority of this sum is a community amenity contribution (CAC), which will be provided to the municipal government in the form of a $37 million financial contribution. It is one of the largest 100% cash CAC contributions in recent memory.

City council approved Westbank’s rezoning application for 1668-1684 Alberni Street in a 7-1 vote, with TEAM councillor Colleen Hardwick opposed, and OneCity councillor Christine Boyle, Green Party councillor Pete Fry, and Mayor Kennedy Stewart absent.

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

During the public hearing, both NPA councillor Melissa De Genova and ABC councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung expressed the urgency with directing the project’s cash CACs towards much-needed community and recreational facilities in the West End, specifically the new replacement West End Community Centre and especially the new replacement Vancouver Aquatic Centre. Earlier this spring, a portion of the exterior wall of the aging aquatic centre literally crumbled.

“I appreciate that this will generate CACs and appreciate city staff’s clear answer that although we usually don’t generally allocate CACs from one project to a specific amenity in the community, I do understand that the aquatic centre is in need of repair and I appreciate that this is top of mind for our staff,” said De Genova.

The architecturally striking tower will be located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Alberni Street and Bidwell Street — adjacent to the former West Georgia White Spot and just off Robson Street.

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

There will be a total of 128 condominium homes, with 100% of these units sized for families — defined as units with at least two bedrooms. Half of the units will have two-bedroom units, while the other half will be three-bedroom units.

Green Party councillor Michael Wiebe complimented the building’s unique design, along with its extensive water feature at the base and use of green roofs.

The project is one of the final designs originally filed under Revery Architecture’s previous name of Bing Thom Architects. Internationally renowned Vancouver architect Bing Thom suddenly passed away about eight months before the formal application’s submission to the city.

The design is said to be a “weave” or “exoskeleton” that takes inspiration from the repetitive structures found in nature, including the shape of DNA, the cellular pattern of leaves, and a whale skeleton.

“The challenge was to find a simple and elegant geometry that when repeated and woven together, it would become a complex system that is functional and visually attractive. The resulting form manages to express a calm repetition that is exciting and dynamic simultaneously,” reads the architect’s design rationale.

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

The height of the tower is 385 ft (117 metres), which protrudes into one of the four mountain view cones that cross over the property — the height restriction of 316 ft (96 metres) by View Cone 20 emanating from the intersection of West Broadway and Granville Street. But because there is a “view cone shadow” of an existing building in the foreground that reaches 400 ft (122 metres), 1668-1684 Alberni Street is permitted by city staff to achieve a taller height — reaching 385 ft (117 metres), which is the maximum height for the site under the city’s West End Community Plan.

Five underground levels will contain 167 vehicle parking stalls and 359 secured bike parking spaces.

The total floor area is about 238,000 sq ft, establishing a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 10.8 times larger than the size of the 21,600 sq ft lot. The new tower will replace aging 13-storey and 14-storey buildings containing a combined total of 23 strata units.

The development site is immediately adjacent to five future tower redevelopments:

  • To the north: A 33-storey condominium tower at 1698 West Georgia Street by Anthem Properties, replacing the former Chevron gas station. Approved by city council in 2021.
  • To the northeast: Two condominium towers up to 38 storeys at 1608-1616 West Georgia Street by Carnival International Holdings, replacing the former White Spot restaurant. Proposal stage.
  • To the east: A 43-storey condominium and rental housing tower at 1640-1650 Alberni Street by Asia Standard Americas. Approved by city council in 2021.
  • To the south: A 28-storey tower with condominium, social housing, office, and retail uses at 1555 Robson Street by VivaGrand Developments. Approved by the development permit board in 2019.
  • To the west: Two towers up to 39 storeys with condominium, retail, and restaurant uses at 1700 Alberni Street by Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties. Proposal stage.

Westbank is also working with Revery Architecture on The Butterfly and Senakw projects.

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Site of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

1668-1684 Alberni Street Vancouver Westbank

Artistic rendering of 1668-1684 Alberni Street, Vancouver. (Revery Architecture/Westbank)

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