A development application by Atira Women’s Resource Society (AWRS) for 420 Hawks Avenue in the Downtown Eastside calls for a 70-ft-tall, six-storey social housing building for vulnerable women and their children.
The development site is located near the southeast corner of the intersection of East Hastings Street and Hawks Avenue.
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According to Boni-Maddison Architects, this building will contain 20 units, including five micro studio units and 15 two-bedroom units. The units will be rented at the shelter component of income assistance, currently set at $375 monthly for singles and $570 monthly for a woman with one child.
“AWRS considers the proposed functional layout to be sufficient for the intended tenant group, who are likely to have been previously housed in SRO units of only 100 sq. ft. and with no ability to cook and prepare healthy meals and with common washroom amenities,” reads the design rationale.
Residents will have access to a community amenity space on the ground level, a large outdoor rooftop amenity space, and 24/7 support with the staff working next door at The Rice Block and referral agencies. As well, they will be invited to participate in The Rice Block’s community meals and art programs.
The ground level will be constructed using concrete construction, while the upper floors will use stacked wood-frame modules, with a large punched window that allows natural light and a swing door to the balcony. The use of modular construction lowers the construction timeline and reduces costs compared to conventional methods.
Murals are planned for the building’s walls facing north and east.
No vehicle parking will be provided, but there will be 21 bike parking spaces.
The total floor area is 13,429 sq. ft., giving the project a floor space ratio density of 4.4 times the size of its tight lot size of 50 feet along the laneway and 61 feet along Hawks Avenue. In 2006, a SRO house on the site burnt down, and the property has been sitting vacant ever since.