6-storey healthcare office building planned for Vancouver Chinatown

Mar 18 2022, 11:57 pm

A dilapidated two-storey building at a mid-block location in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown could be replaced with a new six-storey healthcare office building.

DLP Architecture has submitted a development permit application to redevelop 275 East Pender Street.

The proponents have described the existing 1949-built building as “condemned” and indicated the structure has since undergone hazmat removal. Up until about a decade ago, this space was the Kwong Wong Kee BBQ Wonton House restaurant, and the storefront has been boarded up for nearly seven years now.

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Site of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Site of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Site of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

The new replacement mid-rise building will have a height of 67 ft and a streetfront width of just 25 ft. With a lot depth of 122 ft, the development site is just 3,050 sq ft. The total floor area is 14,600 sq ft.

This will be a new facility for Downtown Radiology, which currently has a nearby location at Chinatown Plaza at 180 Keefer Street.

The entire new building will function as medical office space on various levels, including but not limited to radiology, audiology, and general practice. The ground level will be used as a lobby and amenity area, and potentially a small cafe.

Given the lot’s size constraints, no vehicle parking will be required, but there will be enhanced bike parking and changing facilities in the basement.

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Artistic rendering of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Artistic rendering of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Artistic rendering of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

The proponents note the building is approaching a Passive House green building design standard, but they are not considering certification at the moment.

They have also noted that the design has “undergone several iterations in response to planning comments” and “substantial schematic design,” and suggested there were major challenges complying with the municipal government’s HA-1 zoning guidelines, which they describe as “strict.”

HA-1 zoning is one of several revised zoning changes across Chinatown made by the previous Vancouver City Council in July 2018, which reversed a previous 2011 policy that encouraged more mixed-use developments in the area to catalyze revitalization.

But in response to neighbourhood opposition to larger building developments and “gentrification,” the municipal government in 2018 made sweeping changes that essentially banned taller and wider new buildings across Chinatown.

HA-1 spans historic Pender Street through Chinatown, and limits heights to five floors within 50 ft of height and seven floors within 75 ft of height.

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Artistic rendering of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

275 east pender street vancouver chinatown downtown radiology

Artistic rendering of the new Downtown Radiology building at 275 East Pender Street in Vancouver Chinatown. (DLP Architecture)

“The building will provide a much-needed medical facility in a neighbourhood in desperate need of such a facility,” states the application.

“We feel this project has the potential to set a precedent for smaller developments by showing we can achieve a high-performing office building that is both contemporary in detail and contextually appropriate in form.”

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