After nearly two years of site preparation work, rock blasting, and excavation, construction on the Horseshoe Bay Residences development is finally beginning to gain some verticality.
The Sewell family’s project, developed by Westbank and designed by Merrick Architecture, is one of the most significant developments in the District of West Vancouver to date. It is being built on a parking lot in Sewell’s Landing at 6695 Nelson Avenue, on the westside of Horseshoe Bay — on the base of a hillside, near the BC Ferries terminal.
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The six-building development, reaching up to 11 storeys and 164 ft. in height, will contain 158 upscale homes, approximately 13,700 sq. ft. commercial space, and 493 vehicle parking stalls within underground levels. The total floor area is roughly 225,000 sq. ft.
One of the green design features that will help the project meet its LEED Gold environmental certification ambitions is the creation of a geothermal ocean loop for its cooling systems.
The development was only approved in 2016 after the applicant team returned to district council with commitments that forbid assignment flipping and require all buyers to sign a declaration that stipulates they (or their families) will reside in the unit.
Other stipulations included no foreign marketing. Instead, there was a required focus on localized marketing, with sales initially targeted to West Vancouver residents during the first 30 days after launch and the rest of the Lower Mainland afterwards.
These measures were designed to provide more housing options to locals and prevent foreign speculation.
As well, in exchange for the project’s approval, $10.7 million in community amenity contributions (CAC) was committed to the district.
The design, using West Coast contemporary architectural style, aims to add to the village feel of the Horseshoe Bay community.
“The concept is seen generally as an extension of the village. Design inspiration comes from its West Coast marine setting, influenced by architects Erickson, Thom, Hollingsworth, and Pratt and is built around themes concerning locality, community, waterfront, continuity, and West Coast location,” reads the design rationale.
“It is seen as not a single large edifice, but a congregation of smaller building elements.”
The key architectural piece for the project is on the water: An elaborate boathouse on the waterfront will be complete with wooden parabolic arches, topped by an open truss and skylight.
The boathouse includes a resident’s lounge, multi-purpose hall with panoramic harbour views, and a flexible accordion gangway staircase that leads to the floating dock — the home of a Chris-Craft Corsair 25 sport powerboat, which can be booked by residents for pleasure uses.
During the nighttime, transparent and translucent glass panels will turn the boathouse into a “glowing lantern” landmark in the bay.
Public realm improvements incorporated into the development include a large public plaza, a 400-ft-long extension of the waterfront promenade onto the property, and a new public footbridge to the area’s foreshore island.
“Landscape and groundscape will be treated similar to a European village, with cobbled or textured stone in the piazza, stone paving in larger pieces on the pathways, a grassed common in the upper quadrangle, and selected specimen trees edging or as a focus in the urban spaces,” continues the rationale.
“The waterfront quay will be surfaced in stone pavers, and the small island will be left natural, with a small viewing terrace only.”
The entire Horseshoe Bay waterfront is set to see a transformation over the coming years, with the development of Horseshoe Bay Residences accounting for just one of three separate components to the area’s revitalization.
The district is currently in the process of developing a design plan to retrofit Horseshoe Bay Park — the 2.5-acre waterfront public park immediately east of Sewell’s Landing. Westbank is providing $1 million in CAC funding towards the cost of this park redesign.
And just east of the park is the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, which is slated for a complete rebuild in the 2020s that could cost up to $250 million. BC Ferries’ terminal project will modernize the facility, expand capacity, and improve efficiency.
Horseshoe Bay Residences is scheduled for completion in 2020.