A redevelopment of the Earls Tin Palace restaurant near the northern end of the Lions Gate Bridge is envisioned to become a new ‘gateway’ landmark into the North Shore.
The 53,300 sq. ft. restaurant site at 303 Marine Drive in West Vancouver, right on the border with the District of North Vancouver, could become a 278 ft. tall, 26-storey residential tower if a rezoning and development permit submitted to the municipal government is successful.
“The tower will serve as a gateway element moving east from West Vancouver and the Lions Gate bridge into Lions Gate Village and the District of North Vancouver,” reads the design rationale by Chris Dikeakos Architects.
“It will also serve as the final tower of the Lions Gate Village assemblage of towers as you move in a westerly direction from the District of North Vancouver towards the Lions Gate Bridge and the District of West Vancouver.”
There is no replacement Earls restaurant on the site, as the restaurant will permanently close later this spring and reopen shortly after at the new Grosvenor mixed-use complex on West Vancouver’s Ambleside waterfront.
The new location is said to be a new restaurant concept that will the first of its kind in Canada. The existing location on Marine Drive was one of the restaurant chain’s first locations.
According to the application local developer Darwin Development, the redevelopment will have 121 homes including 93 market units, 24 rental units, and four three-storey townhouses. The unit mix is 12 one-bedroom units, 54 two-bedroom units, 53 three-bedroom units, and two four-bedroom penthouse units.
Along the west side of the tower, “scalloped curving balconies” will provide large outdoor areas that maximize views to West Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, and Vancouver Island.
The tower will have a major public art component, with patterned metal panels with the image of a tree in the forest along the side of the structure from the base to the top. The image of this tree will be illuminated by backlit LED lighting during the nighttime hours, and the colours will change with the season with varying colours of green in the summer and spring, pink in the fall, and brown in the winter.
“We feel our approach provides an artistic expression that will be enjoyed by many more Vancouverites and North Shore residents from various vantage points,” continues the architect. “It will also serve to reinforce the identity of this tower as an iconic signature feature on the skyline.”
A secondary art piece is proposed for the large ceiling of the southwest corner of the building. Similar to TELUS Garden, the proponents plan on installing a series of LED panels with a changing pattern of light and colour which acts as a canvas for artistic images.
Overall, the building with a total floor area of about 173,000 sq. ft., giving it a floor area 3.25 times the size of its lot (FSR).
To support the density, the building will have 198 parking stalls and 427 bike storage stalls within underground levels. Access into the building will be from a new District of North Vancouver road instead of a direct access from Marine Drive, as it could interfere with traffic on the major arterial route.
Proponents have set a green design goal of a LEED Gold environmental certification.
Over half a dozen major tower redevelopments are planned for the immediate area within the District of North Vancouver’s jurisdiction, and this does not include mid-rise buildings and a new townhouse neighbourhood to the north of the site.