Construction begins on mass timber rental housing building next to future SkyTrain station

Jul 21 2021, 5:54 pm

Just over a year after a formal development permit application was submitted to the City of Vancouver, local developer Cape Group commenced construction last week on The Raphael — a rental housing project on the northernmost edge of Mount Pleasant.

Replacing the now-demolished Ralph’s Recycled Auto Parts building at 338 East 2nd Avenue, the site for development is less than a block’s distance west of the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station of SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension.

The new five-storey, arts-focused building will contain 95 rental homes, with a unit mix of 39 artist studios, 15 two-bedroom artist studios, and 41 regular studios. This includes dedicating two artist studios for artists in residence, secured at special rates, managed by the Grunt Gallery.

About 100 sq ft of dedicated area within each artist studio is designed to be flexible working space for the creation of art. As well, there are oversized sinks, electrical outlets, and an allowance for an increased floor weight load.

On the ground level, there will be an artist gallery, multi-purpose workshop space, and 10,000 sq ft of commercial space.

338 East 2nd Avenue Vancouver The Raphael

2021 artistic rendering of The Raphael at 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture and Urban Design/Cape Group)

2021 artistic rendering of The Raphael at 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture and Urban Design/Cape Group)

The arts-focused approach for the project is strategic, given the site’s close proximity to Emily Carr University of Art and Design and arts-based businesses, and the city’s shortage of affordable homes and work spaces for artists.

The building design by Human Studio Architecture and Urban Design utilizes mass timber construction, with the components pre-manufactured off-site. This factory-based construction strategy lowers carbon emissions, reduces costs, shortens the construction timeline, and is safer and more efficient.

Construction is expected to reach completion in early 2023.

With these benefits in mind, Cape Group has indicated The Raphael and its other upcoming projects will have the entire building envelope, and as many building features as possible, pre-manufactured and constructed off-site.

338 East 2nd Avenue Vancouver

Site of 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture and Urban Design / The Cape Group)

338 East 2nd Avenue Vancouver

Layout of some of the artist studios at 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Human Studio Architecture and Urban Design / The Cape Group)

Two underground levels in The Raphael will accommodate 95 vehicle parking stalls and 149 bike parking spaces. Recognizing the building’s uses by artists and the area’s home to the Vancouver Mural Festival, the building’s laneway frontage will feature a mural.

The total floor area is 66,000 sq ft, giving the project a floor space ratio density of a floor area that is 3.25 times larger than the size of the 20,200 sq ft lot.

Within the immediate vicinity, just a block to the north at 304 East 1st Avenue, Cape Group is also planning to build a nine-storey building with 112 rental homes, a childcare facility, and retail unit.

And wedged by The Raphael to the south and 304 East 1st Avenue to the north, Wave Developments has plans to redevelop 315-319 East 2nd Avenue into a nine-storey building with 100 rental homes, and space for offices, creative manufacturing, brewing, distilling, and restaurants.

338 East 2nd Avenue Vancouver The Raphael construction July 2021

Construction groundbreaking of The Raphael on July 16, 2021 at 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver. (Cape Group)

338 East 2nd Avenue Vancouver The Raphael construction July 2021

Construction groundbreaking of The Raphael on July 16, 2021 at 338 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, with local artists John Ferrie and Jenn Brisson. (Cape Group)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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