A pair of mixed-use towers proposed for a site just west of SkyTrain’s Marine Drive Station in South Vancouver envisions a significant infusion of new rental housing supply.
Chard Development and architectural firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership (MCMP) have submitted a new rezoning application for 622 Southwest Marine Drive.
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This proposal will completely redevelop the triangular-shaped city block, currently occupied by three low-storey buildings with the Denny’s restaurant and several other businesses.
There will be two towers — 28 storeys and 32 storeys, reaching a height of up to 335 ft (102 metres) with a six-storey podium — containing a total of 573 secured purpose-built rental homes, including 456 market rental homes and 117 below-market rental homes.
“This project will directly address a critical part of the housing continuum along the non-market rental social housing and the low end of market,” reads the application.
“Increasing the housing supply for this particular range of housing options would allow households that currently are not able to find safe, stable affordable housing in the City of Vancouver to stay and work in the community rather than move to other municipalities.”
The market unit mix is 56 studios, 241 one-bedroom units, 153 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units, while the below-market rental unit mix is 54 studios, 21 one-bedroom units, 36 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units.
At least 28 below-market units will be YWCA social housing units for women and their children, with a mix of 22 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units.
“The YWCA’s goal is to establish a housing community that is sustainable, accessible, mixed-rent and mixed-use. In particular, the YWCA’s goal is to provide vulnerable families the opportunity to be adequately housed, given that this is key to successful educational outcomes, stable health and economic sustainability,” continues the application.
“All of the YWCA housing units will be for women and their children facing vulnerable conditions. With this focus, we are aligned with the vision of the Women’s Equity Strategy, ensuring that women have full access to the resources provided in the city, in particular, housing, which is one of the priority areas.”
Deviating from common practice, the below-market units will not be clustered together exclusively, as they will be in the lower floors mixed with market unit neighbours.
Additionally, all residents regardless of housing tenure will have access to all amenity spaces in the complex, including 23,400 sq. ft. of indoor amenity space. This entails a 4,135 sq. ft. indoor basketball court and 3,500 sq. ft. fitness gym in the podium, and indoor amenity spaces on the seventh level of both towers that open up to large outdoor amenity spaces.
There are also significant two-storey indoor amenity spaces on the top two levels of both towers that open up to outdoor amenity spaces.
Within the podium, a childcare facility will have 7,200 sq. ft. of indoor space, plus outdoor play space, for a capacity of about 50 children.
On the ground level, nearly 17,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space is planned, with these commercial units mainly fronting Marine Drive. Several commercial units will front a large public plaza and mid-block pedestrian corridor between the two towers — animated by the retail, restaurant patios, a splash pad style water feature, and moveable furniture and ping pong tables. This plaza is equal in size to Marine Gateway, but designed as a neighbourhood destination.
This proposal is coming forward now after city council’s decision in late 2020 allowing city staff to accept rezoning applications with taller tower designs for further consideration for select properties near Marine Drive Station. This was initiated by the adjacent proposal to redevelop the Ashley Mar Housing Cooperating with towers containing 582 rental homes including social housing.
“The higher towers are contextually appropriate with new and developing context along Southwest Marine Drive and Ash Street. The combination of height and floor plate increases unit efficiency considerably,” reads MCMP’s design rationale.
“To ensure the feasibility of this purpose-built rental building that includes significant below market and supportive units, the proposal goes beyond the number of storeys suggested in the Marpole Community Plan.”
The redevelopment’s total floor area is 481,365 sq. ft., creating a floor space ratio density of 6.68 times the size of the 66,474 sq. ft. lot.
Three underground levels will contain 276 vehicle parking stalls and 1,096 bike parking spaces.