In a public hearing on Tuesday evening, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved a mixed-use redevelopment that incorporates 215 rental homes under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP).
The site at 445 Kingsway, just across from Mount St. Joseph Hospital, is currently occupied by a Honda used car dealership. Property owners Razgul Holdings and Azizamalco Holdings will develop the property into a pair of 14-storey, 150-ft-tall towers, including a five-storey podium.
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The unit mix is 54 studio units, 86 one-bedroom units, 54 two-bedroom units, and 21 three-bedroom units, with indoor and outdoor amenity spaces for residents located on the third level.
MIRHPP stipulates all residential space must be used as secured rental housing and at least 20% of the floor area set aside for moderate income households earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually. This translates into 44 moderate income homes, with the average below-market studio rent starting at $950 monthly based on an average household income of $38,000. On the high end, for a below-market three-bedroom unit, the average rent starts at $2,000 monthly for an average household income of $80,000.
A significant commercial floor area of 129,000 sq. ft. is incorporated, but 96,000 sq. ft. is uniquely located below ground within the underground levels for a commercial car wash and commercial parking for the vehicle storage needs of the nearby Kingsway Honda dealership and service centre, located at 2770 Sophia Street.
There will be five underground levels for 224 vehicle parking stalls and 443 bike parking spaces.
On the ground level with Kingsway frontage, the building will create 20,400 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, including a 13,300-sq-ft commercial unit that could potentially be suitable for a small grocery store.
One floor up on the second level, approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of the floor plate is dedicated for office space.
“Varied massing forms and heights reduce shadowing at Robson Park and neighbouring properties. The westernmost mid-rise rental tower is oriented toward Kingsway to establish a strong street wall presence along the Kingsway corridor,” reads the design rationale by Acton Ostry Architects.
“The southernmost mid-rise tower is rotated 90° to face St. George Street, which reduces shadowing at the park and creates variation of the overall massing. Residential penthouse levels are stepped back for additional articulation and reduction of shadowing.”
Altogether, this complex will create over 324,000 sq. ft. of floor area, resulting in a floor space ratio of 6.96 times the size of the lot, including 2.12 of the ratio from the underground commercial uses.
Under MIRHPP, the developer will qualify for a waiver of the development and utilities cost levies for the residential portion of the redevelopment, worth $4.97 million. But the commercial space will generate approximately $2.96 million in development and utilities cost levies for the municipal government.
Additionally, new on-site public art worth $666,000 or a financial contribution of the same value is required.
The 700 jobs created by this development during its construction will help stimulate the economy.
This project is considerably larger than the 2016-approved proposal for a six-storey building with 109 secured market rental homes under the Rental 100 Secured Market Rental Housing Policy and a ground-level Honda car dealership.