Six towers proposed to replace Granville Bridge's north loops

Jun 1 2021, 10:45 am

The footprint of the Granville Street Bridge’s north loops in downtown Vancouver will be replaced by a new street grid and development parcels for six towers.

Vancouver City Council previously approved the removal of the loops in late 2017, which link each direction of the bridge with Pacific Street below. This builds on the 2010 approval of the policy plan for the loops that called for towers up to 300 ft in height and a combined total floor area of 682,000 sq ft.

A rezoning application submitted this week for the city-owned site at 625-777 Pacific Street calls for a much more ambitious development, with taller tower heights to accommodate increased density.

There would be a pair of 395-foot-tall, 40-storey towers on the edges of the site — fronting Seymour Street for sub-area B and Howe Street for sub-area D — with a combined total of 526,000 sq ft of condominium homes. These towers are 95 ft taller than the 2010 plan.

Sub-areas B and C in the centre parcels fronting Granville Street between Pacific Street and the new Neon Street would have two towers reaching a height of 275 ft with 27 storeys — up from the 2010 plan’s height of 180 ft — and two buildings with a height of 105 ft with 12 storeys.

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Footprint of the Granville Street Bridge’s north loops. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street, with the additional height/density shown. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street, with the additional height/density and impact of View Cone 3 Queen Elizabeth Park shown. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

Both of these sub-areas would have a combined total floor area of 399,000 sq ft, including 126,524 sq ft of secured market rental housing, 161,649 sq ft of social housing with 50,000 sq ft replacing the SRO housing in the Old Continental Residence, 25,700 sq ft of retail and restaurant space, 5,000 sq ft childcare facility with a capacity for up to 37 kids, and the remainder as condominiums.

The rezoning application calls for about 243,000 sq ft of additional total floor area over the 2010 plan, creating a total floor area of 920,173 sq ft. All of the additional floor area is dedicated to the social housing, rental housing, and childcare components.

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

The undulating form of the buildings, essentially a mirror image on each side of Granville Street, create an “improved ‘valley gateway’ to Granville Street, the historic high street of Vancouver and major entertainment district,” reads the application by the City of Vancouver’s Real Estate and Facilities Management department.

“Added building height and density on the loops site creates the opportunity to accommodate the expanded scope of engineering works and achieve greater public benefits than were anticipated in the 2010 plan.”

Downtown South had a 300 ft height limit when the policy plan was approved more than a decade ago, but a subsequent rezoning policy for the surrounding area now allows an increase to heights that reach the ceiling of the view cones. The loops site is specifically affected by View Cone 3 emanating from Queen Elizabeth Park.

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street, with the additional height/density and impact of View Cone 3 Queen Elizabeth Park shown. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street, with the additional height/density and impact of View Cone 3 Queen Elizabeth Park shown. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street, with the additional height/density and impact of View Cone 3 Queen Elizabeth Park shown. (City of Vancouver)

The development will complement the two gateway towers on either side of the bridge — the 495-ft-tall Vancouver House and the 535-ft-tall tower recently approved for 601 Beach Crescent.

The new H-shaped street network replacing the loops includes extensions of Continental and Rolston streets, which will serve the transportation function of the loops as the new road connections between the bridge and Pacific Street.

The municipal government previously stated the estimated $18 million cost of demolishing the loops and building the new street grid will be recovered from the site’s developments.

Other changes to the area’s transportation network include the narrowing of Drake Street into a one-way, single-lane road for a bike lane on the south side of the street, and the construction of the Granville Street Bridge Connector’s pedestrian and cycling pathways.

The city is also considering removing the western loop on the southern end of the Granville Street Bridge for development opportunities.

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

Conceptual artistic rendering of the form of the Granville Bridge Loops redevelopment at 625-777 Pacific Street. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

The four sub-area parcels and H-shaped street network that will be created from the footprint of the Granville Street Bridge’s north loops. (City of Vancouver)

625-777 Pacific Street Vancouver Granville Loops

New H-shaped street grid replacing the Granville Street Bridge’s north loops. (City of Vancouver)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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