Public input to begin on Kitsilano homeless housing next to future Arbutus Station

Oct 14 2021, 1:05 am

Public consultation on BC Housing’s proposed 140-unit supportive housing tower immediately north of SkyTrain’s future Arbutus Station will take place next month.

Although the provincial government first announced the project in February 2021, the formal rezoning application details to the City of Vancouver have now been released.

The largely vacant lot in Kitsilano at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue —  the northeast corner of the intersection of Arbutus Street and West 8th Avenue, just west of the Arbutus Greenway and south of Delamont Park — would be redeveloped into a 164-ft-tall, 13-storey residential tower for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Supportive housing is often a temporary housing step for its residents — the transition between shelters and social housing. In this case, it is expected to be a permanent home for many residents.

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Site of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver

Site of the homeless supportive housing project at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

All units in this building will be single-occupancy studios, complete with a washroom and storage space. Kitchenettes will be provided in the units, and residents will also be served meals daily from a large dining hall at ground level.

A not-for-profit housing operator will manage the building 24/7 and provide services to residents. Other spaces on the ground level include multi-purpose spaces, a communal kitchen, shared laundry facilities, a medical room, consultation rooms, and a heat treatment room.

According to BC Housing, no public overdose prevention site is planned for this housing complex. But this does not preclude basic treatment services for residents, which will include individuals with mental health and addiction issues.

Residents will also have access to a large outdoor terrace on the second level facing the Arbutus Greenway, and a small lounge space will be located on each residential level.

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Layout of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Ground floor layout of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Second floor layout of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

“The design team has created a spectrum of social spaces throughout the project. High-frequency circulation routes intentionally pass by support spaces to maximize encounters and greetings with staff,” reads the design rationale by Human Studios Architecture & Urban Design.

“The main amenity space is modest in scale relative to typical social housing projects to ensure an inviting, warm setting for relaxing and participating in activities.”

This will be the first modular steel tall building to receive a Passive House green building certification. The modular levels sit on top of a concrete parking level, and the modular exterior is hidden by a screen facade.

A brick facade on the lower floors of the building, including the podium, mimics the brick facade of St. Augustine’s private elementary school across the street. On the lower east facade facing the Arbutus Greenway, giant text will read “ARBUTUS GREEN.”

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Layout of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

Just six vehicle parking stalls will be provided for operations staff, while 154 bike parking spaces will be made available to residents.

The total floor area is 85,551 sq ft, creating a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 4.42 times larger than the size of the 19,349 sq ft lot.

After public consultation in November 2021, the proposal is expected to proceed to public hearing in Spring 2022 for Vancouver City Council’s review and decision. Construction could begin shortly after in the middle of 2022.

2086-2098 West 7th Avenue 2091 West 8th Avenue Vancouver supportive housing

Artistic rendering of the supportive housing tower at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture & Urban Design/BC Housing)

BC Housing is also proposing to build a 12-storey modular building with 90 units of supportive housing at 1406-1410 East King Edward.

Both projects combined account for the majority of the provincial government’s strategy, announced in September 2020, of building 350 additional permanent supportive modular homes within Vancouver for the homeless.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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