Rental housing approved for prominent vacant corner at Cambie Street and 41st Avenue

Jun 23 2022, 8:28 pm

With Vancouver City Council’s decision to approve the rezoning application for 495 West 41st Avenue, three of the four corners of the prominent intersection of Cambie Street and West 41st Avenue are now set for redevelopment.

This project for the vacant northeast corner received city council’s approval in an 8-1 vote earlier this week, with COPE councillor Jean Swanson opposed, and TEAM councillor Colleen Hardwick and ABC councillor Rebecca Bligh absent.

PCI Developments’ plan calls for a 164-ft-tall, 14-storey, mixed-use building, with 99 secured market rental homes — 55 one-bedroom units, and 44 two-bedroom units. Residents will have access to indoor and outdoor amenity spaces on the fourth level (the rooftop of the commercial podium) and the building rooftop.

The original proposal called for 13 more rental homes, but the lowest residential level has now been converted into commercial uses for a total of three floors of retail and office uses within the bottom of the building. There will now be 30,000 sq ft of commercial uses, with TD Bank expected to largely occupy the high-profile space — replacing their existing location just across the street.

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

Both NPA councillor Melissa De Genova and ABC councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung commented on the need for more rental housing, and the welcome change for the long-vacant property.

“I pass by this empty lot often, and it’s a little sad. A lot of people have been hoping to see this brought to life, instead of this empty lot. The rental housing complements a lot of the strata that has already been put into the Cambie Corridor,” said Kirby-Yung.

“With respect to the commercial space, there is a huge opportunity here for locally-serving food, cafe, and retail shops, anything to support daily needs… We’ve put a lot of housing into this area, but we haven’t put those needs there, and we’re forcing people to travel for their daily needs.”

The property was previously a gas station well over a decade ago. It was owned by Cormandel Properties up until June 2020, when it changed hands to PCI Developments in a deal worth $40 million, according to records. Cormandel Properties acquired the property about seven years ago for $16 million for its plans to develop a 12-storey building with condominiums and retail, but the proposal stalled.

City staff explained the developer was unable to acquire 488 West 40th Avenue — the adjacent 1990s-built, four-storey retail and strata residential property immediately to the north — for a larger block-sized development, which would have realized an adjacent 260-ft-tall tower, based on the city’s Cambie Corridor Plan.

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver

Site of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Site of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

The Cambie Corridor Plan stipulates the vacant lot at the corner can only reach a height of up to 150 ft, with multiple floors of commercial uses in the base, and office or rental housing uses in the upper levels. The now-approved project aligns with the area plan.

“I would able to vote for this if there were some affordability into it, but it looks like the owner is going to be making money form the commercial spaces in the bottom, and the rental spaces on the top. I basically just don’t see what we’re getting out of it, so it’s a no from me,” said Swanson in her rationale against the project.

The building will have a total floor area of 101,000 sq ft, establishing a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 6.4 times larger than the size of the 15,800 sq ft lot.

Three underground levels will contain 65 vehicle parking stalls and 186 secured bike parking spaces. The location is immediately adjacent to Oakridge Park mall (the new name of Oakridge Centre), SkyTrain’s Oakridge-41st Avenue Station, and the bus stops for the R4 41st Avenue RapidBus.

The design firm for the project is Perkins & Will Architects.

“The layout of the balcony modules reinforce and strengthen the regularity of the building grid. While the grid is strongly reflected on the facade as a result, the operable screens [on the north- and south-facing units] and the random patterns created by their users introduce an additional layer of animation and variety that enables constant transformation,” reads the design rationale.

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

495 West 41st Avenue Vancouver PCI Developments Cambie

Artistic rendering of 495 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/PCI Developments)

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