City Council approves 215 rental homes near Oakridge-41st Avenue Station

Apr 14 2021, 8:35 pm

Another significant rental housing proposal within the Oakridge Municipal Town Centre area has been approved by Vancouver City Council.

On Tuesday evening, city council approved the rezoning for 325-341 West 42nd Avenue in a 9-1 vote, with COPE councillor Jean Swanson in opposition, and NPA councillor Colleen Hardwick abstaining.

Marcon Developments will turn three single-family homes at the northeast corner of Alberta Street and West 42nd Avenue — just north of Columbia Park, and one block east of Oakridge Centre and SkyTrain’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station — into a 197-ft-tall, 19-storey residential tower with 215 secured purpose-built rental homes. The design firm is Rositch Hemphill Architects.

This includes 175 market units and 40 below-market units, with a unit mix of 76 studios, 62 one-bedroom units, 73 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units. These will be pet-friendly rentals.

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

At least 40 units will be set aside at below-market rates under the city’s Moderate Income Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP), which offers rents at as much as 50% lower than the market rates for new buildings in the area.

Three underground levels will contain 97 vehicle parking stalls and 400 bike parking spaces.

The total floor area is 131,000 sq ft for a floor area ratio (FSR) density of a floor area that is 6.82 times larger than the land assembly lot size of 19,200 sq ft.

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

Both Hardwick and Swanson took issue with MIRHPP, with Hardwick specifically calling the scheme “flawed” and renewing her request for a review of the city’s established 10-year Housing Vancouver targets through 2027.

Swanson also highlighted her strong preference for more social housing units instead of the MIRHPP units, based on her belief that the former provides greater benefits.

“When you look at the FSR increase here, the density increase is not only double or quadruple, but it’s about nine times the density increase that we’re giving this developer. And what are we getting in exchange? We’re getting the 20% MIRHPP,” said Swanson.

“If we didn’t have that option in the Cambie Corridor Plan, what if we just had the 30% social housing option? Could we get more social housing? I’m really afraid that by the time we get the report on housing affordability in the Cambie Corridor, the whole corridor will be rezoned to have expensive rental and condos mostly.”

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

However, Green Party councillor Adriane Carr countered Swanson’s assertions of the tradeoffs between social housing and MIRHPP below-market units, suggesting that the latter offers more affordability.

“I think as council knows, when you look at a building being 30% social housing, only a third of the units of the 30% have to be rented to people in the housing income limits level. That is way fewer than the 20% MIRPHH units, and all 20% of the MIRHPP units have to be at 30% of people’s income — the real definition of social housing,” said Carr.

“These kinds of rent levels are just not very common, and the housing is vacancy controlled. That, I think, is the most compelling part of the MIRHPP program… and you cannot compare that in my mind to 30% social housing, of which only 30% is housing income limits.”

In exchange for the rezoning approval, the municipal government will receive $3.7 million in development cost levies and a $260,000 public art contribution.

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Site of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Site of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

During the same meeting, city council also approved the rezoning for 485 West 28th Avenue, which is on the footprint of a single-family home just north of Queen Elizabeth Park. The modest project of creating a new six-storey building with 27 condominium homes came down to a 9-2 vote, with both Hardwick and Swanson against.

Earlier this year, city council green lighted an 18-storey student rental housing tower just a city block to the west of the Marcon rental tower site at 441-475 West 42nd Avenue. It will offer 475 student beds within 124 rental homes, including 29 below-market units.

At the southeast corner of the intersection of Cambie Street and West 41st Avenue, the approved 5740 Cambie Street project will generate 133 condominium homes, 80 market rental homes, and office and retail spaces in two towers up to 27 storeys.

City council also approved 5910-5998 Cambie Street at the southeast corner of the intersection of West 43rd Avenue and Cambie Street. There will be a 270-room hotel and 168 condominium homes within towers up to 29 storeys.

325-341 West 42nd Avenue Vancouver

Site of 325-341 West 42nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Rositch Hemphill Architects/Marcon Developments)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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