A nine-storey office building has been proposed for a site immediately adjacent to Holy Rosary Cathedral on the southwest corner of Homer and Dunsmuir streets in downtown Vancouver.
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Project proponents B + Architects and Oxford Properties Group has submitted a development application to the City of Vancouver to replace the existing site – a two-storey commercial building with an underground parkade entrance – with a new 147,000-square-foot building with retail and office on the ground floor and office in the floors above.
The current underground parking facility at the site is currently accessed from Homer Street, but a new replacement two-level underground parking facility will have a vehicle entrance from the back lane.
While the project is located on Homer Street, its address is 401 West Georgia as it is considered as an expansion of the commercial building complex that begins on the southern end of the city block. No rezoning is required as additional density is permitted at the site.
The proposed building has a height of approximately 139 feet, well below view cone height limitations that restrict any development on the site to no higher than 300 feet. But proponents say “the proposed building height is capped to fit into the urban fabric.”
Inspiration for both the massing and the facade is based on the adjacent cathedral, Labour Temple commercial building, and the old Canada Post building, which will be redeveloped into a major mixed-use project with residential, retail, and office. Additionally, the building’s office spaces are specifically designed for tech tenants.
“The design is inspired by the urban loft and industrial conversions. Vancouver is undergoing a market renaissance with a strong growth in the tech sector,” reads the architect’s rationale.
“These tech clients are looking for industrial style, creative design, but also modern amenities and building efficiencies that older retrofits simply cannot provide. Oxford believes an urban loft is a good concept for this location and tenant type.”
Infill developments such as 401 West Georgia and major redevelopment projects at the old Canada Post building and Hudson’s Bay parkade as well as the relocation of the Vancouver Art Gallery to a new facility at Larwill Park will help expand downtown Vancouver’s Central Business District eastwards.