16-storey social housing tower proposed next to Oppenheimer Park

Jun 4 2021, 11:37 am

Atira Women’s Resource Society and TL Housing Solutions have submitted a rezoning application to build a 16-storey social housing tower just north of Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside.

This development site at 450 Alexander Street — the southwest corner of the intersection of Alexander Street and Jackson Avenue — is currently occupied by ageing, low-storey industrial buildings. It is also immediately across from the historic Japanese Hall community centre.

The proposal calls for 181 social housing units, with a unit mix of 15 studios, 87 one-bedroom units, 56 two-bedroom units, and 23 three-bedroom units.

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Site of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Site of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

On the ground level, there would be a childcare facility with 4,900 sq ft of indoor space and 5,000 sq ft of outdoor play space facing the laneway, and a 5,000 sq ft “social enterprise” space operated by Atira facing Alexander Street.

Residents would have access to a landscaped outdoor amenity space on the rooftop of the podium at the seventh level.

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

The tower reaches a height of 160 ft, which is about 110 ft below the site’s height restriction of roughly 270 ft established by View Cone 3.0 emanating from Queen Elizabeth Park.

“The intent of this application is to develop a mixed-use social housing project cultivated in response to a vision of building a vibrant community,” reads the application by architectural firm IBI Group.

“While the proposed building height is greater than what is anticipated in the Downtown-Eastside/Oppenheimer Official Development Plan for this site, at 16 storeys with a six-storey podium, the proposed height provides a comfortable transition from existing and proposed surrounding developments as well as offers a comfortable streetwall along Alexander Street. The height of the proposed building [has] been carefully determined to avoid the effects of shadows on the street and neighbourhood buildings. The proposed form has been designed to contribute to the streetscape while minimizing disruption to the existing infrastructure within the neighbourhood.”

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

450 Alexander Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the social housing tower at 450 Alexander Street, Vancouver. (IBI Group/Atira Women’s Resource Society)

A single underground level provides 35 vehicle parking stalls and 364 bike parking spaces.

The redevelopment’s total floor area is 138,400 sq ft, creating a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 5.67 times larger than the 24,415-sq-ft lot.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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