A proposal for a transit-oriented, mixed-use redevelopment at the northwest corner of the intersection of Cambie Street and West 49th Avenue — immediately across from SkyTrain’s Langara-49th Avenue Station — has just been revised with a pivot into making it primarily an office project.
In late 2019, a proposal was submitted by Acton Ostry Architects to redevelop 6409-6487 Cambie Street into a 10-storey building with 127 condominium homes, two levels of office space totalling 27,000 sq ft, a 37-space childcare facility, and 10,700 sq ft of retail and restaurant space on the ground level.
However, there is now a significant change in direction based on the revised rezoning application submitted to the City of Vancouver in May 2021, with the new details and conceptual artistic renderings released today ahead of the commencement of public consultation in September.
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Revised 2021 proposal primarily with office space:
Esatto Architecture is behind the revised design, which retains a 10-storey building but with more density with the total floor area increasing from 150,100 sq ft to 171,670 sq ft.
As a result, the floor area ratio density has increased from 4.09 in the previous design to 4.68 times larger than the size of the 36,700 sq ft lot — currently a land assembly of four single-family houses.
Four floors that were previously condominiums have now been converted into office space, bringing the total office space floor area to 109,549 sq ft over six floors, representing an increase of nearly 83,000 sq ft over the original proposal.
Only the top three floors of the tower have been retained as residential space for a reduced number of condominium homes. The revised design calls for 48 units, with a unit mix of 15 studios, 21 two-bedroom units, and 12 three-bedroom units, including 11 stacked live-work townhouses accessible from an internal courtyard and the laneway.
Residents will have access to an indoor amenity space on the ninth level that connects to a large landscaped outdoor amenity space on a rooftop.
The childcare facility component on the second level remains the same, including a childcare amenity space overlooking the laneway.
The building’s ground level frontages facing both arterial streets will be activated by 10,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space in up to seven commercial retail units.
“The development will be designed with the view of creating a complete community by combining a diverse mix of housing options, office space, fine grained ‘active edge’ retail at grade, local gathering places, and community facilities to promote more walkable, livable, and sustainable neighbourhoods,” reads the design rationale.
“The development will increase the number of residential housing units in the Langara Neighbourhood and provide commercial space to support his important transit node on the Cambie Corridor. The development will contribute to the wide variety of existing business and professional services in response to the needs of the local community, Langara College students and in-transit passengers. Ground level retail, childcare and office space will provide local amenities and services to residents and promote local shopping, walking and sidewalk ‘spillover’ activities in promoting a complete community.”
Three underground levels will accommodate 226 vehicle parking stalls and 306 secure bike parking spaces.
The project aligns with the municipal government’s Cambie Corridor Plan, maximizing the allowable height for one of the three 10-storey, mixed-use sites next to the subway station entrance building.
The rationale for shifting the proposal from condominiums to office space is not immediately clear, but it shows confidence in the local office market over the longer term.
As well, with significantly lower market residential floor area, the project’s required community amenity contributions and development cost levies to the municipal government would be substantially lower than the original proposed uses.
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