Despite the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, downtown Vancouver’s office market remains amongst North America’s tightest and most competitive office markets due to the city’s strong economic fundamentals, which are expected to make a return after the pandemic.
The confidence in the local office market is shown by Bonnis Properties’ new architecturally striking proposal for the tiny 5,996-sq-ft lot at 526 Granville Street — near the southeast corner of the intersection of Granville Street and West Pender Street, immediately south of SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business building.
The proposed height is 335 ft with 24 storeys, just one ft under the mountain view cone height restrictions.
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The property has a narrow width of only 50 ft along its Granville Street frontage, and is occupied by the 1899-built Leckie Block — a three-storey building with the Moore’s men’s clothing store on the ground level and offices in the upper levels.
There will be a total of 125,774 sq. ft. of total floor area, for a floor area ratio density of 21 times the size of the lot.
This includes 123,199 sq. ft. of office space in the upper levels, and 2,575 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground level.
Due to lot size constraints, zero vehicle parking stalls will be incorporated. A single underground level will only accommodate 95 bike parking spaces and end-of-trip facilities including lockers, showers, and change rooms. The location is, of course, conveniently highly walkable and within close proximity to a number of major public transit services.
The Leckie Block’s heritage facade, an example of Romanesque Revival architectural style, will be preserved and restored. It will provide contrast with the office tower’s sleek features of a diagonal grid of structural columns
“This system supports efficient and column-free floorplates by locating structural columns toward the exterior of the building,” reads the design rationale.
“Enclosed with transparent floor-to-floor curtain walls built of glass and aluminum, this proposal presents a bold and elegant design. The interior floor plates of the tower taper toward the lower levels, emphasizing the existing heritage roofline.”
A green roof is envisioned for the tower rooftop.
This proposal is currently in its pre-application phase. A formal rezoning application is forthcoming this fall for an anticipated public hearing with city council in the middle of 2021.
Several narrow office towers are forthcoming in downtown, including the recently approved 619-685 West Hastings Street, which will be a 330-ft-tall, 28-storey building on a 6,242-sq-ft lot with a street frontage of 52 ft. Approximately 158,000 sq. ft. of office floor area will be created. Five underground parkade levels with 54 vehicle stalls are only accessible by car elevators.
At 809 Seymour Street, Bonnis Properties is developing a 215-ft-tall, 13-storey building on a 12,000-sq-ft lot with about 61,000 sq. ft. of office space. There will be vehicle parking, but the underground parkade levels will be accessible by using the parkade entrance of the adjacent Capitol Residences tower.
And next to Waterfront Station, there is a 376-ft-tall, 26-storey office tower proposal for 555 West Cordova Street — the parking lot immediately east of the building. The 530,000-sq-ft building’s width grows as it rises in height, and as a result of site constraints there will be no parking.