Taller towers for rental homes proposed for under-construction Park Royal redevelopment

Jul 15 2019, 10:29 pm

A pair of residential towers for West Vancouver’s Park Royal shopping centre that were approved last year and are already well under construction could see a relatively modest vertical extension to accommodate more purpose-built rental housing.

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Park Royal and Larco Development are returning to District of West Vancouver council with a proposal to add five storeys to each of the new Gateway Residences – from 14 storeys to 19 storeys for the East Tower, and from 11 storeys to 16 storeys for the West Tower.

Park Royal South

Location of the proposed redevelopment – 752 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal)

Outline of the five-storey vertical extension revised design of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

The redevelopment of the shopping centre’s ground-level parking lot at 707-723 Main Street – the southwest corner of the prominent intersection of Marine Drive and Taylor Way – is now in the site excavation phase; a deep pit for underground parking levels is being created.

But even if the extra floors are approved, the pit will not be made any deeper as an expanded project scope that includes 95 new rental homes will not include any additional parking stalls.

Gateway Residences 707-723 Main Street West Vancouver Park Royal

Approved (left) and proposed revisions (right): artistic renderings of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

Gateway Residences 707-723 Main Street West Vancouver Park Royal

Approved (top) and proposed revisions (bottom): artistic renderings of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

“Traffic was raised at the majority of conversations with the community,”reads the application. “Almost everyone agreed that providing rental units with no attributable parking was a good idea.”

The application also notes that more bike parking spaces will be made available and Park Royal will also benefit from being the western terminus of the new North Shore B-Line rapid bus route.

With a higher residential density and the absence of extra parking, the ratio of cars to units is lowered to only 0.57.

According to the application, “this is a unique proposition in West Vancouver and puts the Gateway Residences at the lowest parking ratio on the North Shore and one of the lowest in Metro Vancouver.”

Gateway Residences 707-723 Main Street West Vancouver Park Royal

Approved (top) and proposed revisions (bottom): artistic renderings of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

The currently approved design calls for 203 new homes, including 143 units of market ownership housing, 49 units of market rental housing, and 11 units of non-market supportive housing.

With the additional floors for the rental homes, the complex’s total floor area will rise from 219,000 sq. ft. to 303,000 sq. ft., and the total number of homes from 203 units to 298 units. Everything else with the project, including the ground-level commercial spaces and

The majority of the homes will be two-bedroom units suitable, “built to condominium standards that will appeal to new families, young professionals and downsizers who wish to live in West Vancouver in a contemporary and amenity-filled environment.”

Gateway Residences 707-723 Main Street West Vancouver Park Royal

Approved (top) and proposed revisions (bottom): artistic renderings of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

Project proponents reason that the additions align with the goals of the new official community plan, and the much-needed new rental homes can be delivered quickly as the project is already under construction.

This is “merely an add-on” to what district council has already approved, and would not result in any new construction disruption or neighbourhood impact.

The rental vacancy rate in West Vancouver is now only 0.4%, far below the healthy vacancy rate of 3%.

“People want to live in West Vancouver, they just don’t have any viable options, given the state of the real estate market,” the application says. “Problems of congestion and lack of alternatives are only going to get worse if further attainable housing options are not presented. If not here, where?”

The Gateway Residences “appeal to this left out demographics of professionals who want to live, play and work in West Vancouver. By expanding choices, we can accommodate the missing middle and at the same time, stop the exodus of critical community members, increasing the resiliency and health of West Vancouver as a whole.”

Gateway Residences 707-723 Main Street West Vancouver Park Royal

Approved (top) and proposed revisions (bottom): artistic renderings of the Park Royal mixed-use towers at 707-723 Main Street, West Vancouver. (DIALOG / Park Royal / Larco Development)

If the vertical expansion is approved, the development will generate extra community amenity contributions for the district, possibly towards creating new arts and culture facilities in the municipality.

In March 2018, the previous district council narrowly approved the project in a 4-3 vote. According to proponents, initial community feedback for the project addition has been supportive.

District council is set to consider the revised design later this month.

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