Major redevelopment with rental housing and office space near Vancouver's Chinatown moves forward

Mar 2 2023, 1:18 am

Strand Developments has signalled it is proceeding with its plans to redevelop a significant site immediately south of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and the eastern end of the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts.

The developers have recently submitted the development permit application for their mixed-use redevelopment of the 2.4-acre warehouse site of 456-496 Prior Street, which is also immediately adjacent to Trillium Park and the emergency room entrance of the future new St. Paul’s Hospital, currently under construction.

This latest application follows the July 2022 decision by Vancouver City Council to approve the rezoning application allowing such uses and density, which falls under the City’s False Creek Flats Plan.

As can be expected, the building’s design and uses in the development permit phase are largely the same as what was proposed during rezoning.

A five-storey office and retail base podium will enclose most of the city block, apart from a full opening on Prior Street and a partial opening under a two-storey office bridge to enable seamless access to an internal plaza and create a mid-block pedestrian connection from the park and hospital campus to Chinatown and the future Hogan’s Alley development.

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development

Site of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

Site of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver, in relation to other future redevelopments in the area including the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus. (Francl Architecture/Strand Development)

There will be 228,000 sq ft of office space, including 109,000 sq ft of general office uses and 119,000 sq ft of purpose-designed healthcare office uses, which will help fulfill the clinical and research space demand that can be expected from the new hospital. The ground level will be significantly activated with 10,400 sq ft of restaurant space, 16,000 sq ft of retail space, and a 6,500 sq ft cultural space.

Within the tower levels above the podium, there will be a total of 303 secured market rental homes — up from the rezoning’s count of 262 units. The unit size mix is 39 studios, 115 one-bedroom units, 22 one-bedroom units with dens, 109 two-bedroom units, and 18 three-bedroom units.

Residents and office workers will have access to extensive, shared amenity spaces, including significant outdoor amenity areas on the podium rooftop, the sixth level, such as a basketball half-court.

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

2023 revised drawing of the landscaped rooftop spaces, including amenity areas, of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (ETA Landscape Architecture)

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

2023 revised artistic rendering of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture/Strand Development)

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

2023 revised artistic rendering of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture/Strand Development)

Strand Development previously told Daily Hive Urbanized the wide range of mixed uses in the building could accommodate about 1,500 office workers, 150 retail/restaurant workers, and 600 residents.

These are very significant figures for this part of the city, and it will provide the struggling Chinatown district with added foot traffic in the streets, and support for its businesses.

“We are very supportive of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and the new surrounding residential and commercial developments,” Jordan Eng, the president of the Vancouver Chinatown Business Improvement Association, previously told Daily Hive Urbanized.

“It will create significant economic spinoff for the businesses in Chinatown. In particular, Strand Development’s project will create a large residential base in short walking distance.”

Four underground levels will contain 677 vehicle parking stalls and 896 secured bike parking spaces. The total floor area is 483,550 sq ft, establishing a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 4.67 times larger than the size of the lot. The project’s design firms are Francl Architecture and ETA Landscape Architecture.

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

2023 revised artistic rendering of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture/Strand Development)

456-496 Prior Street Vancouver Strand Development 2023

2023 revised artistic rendering of 456-496 Prior Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture/Strand Development)

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