A revised downsized design for the mixed-use redevelopment of the Brickhouse site in Vancouver’s Chinatown is now being considered by the municipal government.
Bonnis Development Corporation’s new rezoning proposal for the property at 728-796 Main Street — the prominent northeast corner of the intersection of Main Street and Union Street — now calls for a 114-ft-tall, 11-storey building instead of the 2017 original application’s 150-ft, 15-storey design.
- See also:
Original 2017 design
Downsized 2019 design
The revised design by Studio One Architecture calls for 85,673 sq. ft. of floor area (down from 104,000 sq. ft. previously) to contain 19 units of replacement social housing (unchanged from the previous proposal) and 75 units of market residential units (down from 99 market units previously) for a total of 94 homes (down from 188 homes previously).
The new unit mix is 23 studios, 25 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units.
Additional indoor and outdoor amenity spaces have been added for social housing residents.
Approximately 6,100 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space (down from over 7,000 sq. ft. previously) will be located on the ground level.
Like the previous proposal, heritage facade elements of the Brickhouse and 207 Union Street structures on the property will be reclaimed and incorporated into the new building design.
This specifically includes the front brick facade of the Brickhouse, with a new use that acknowledges the adjacent Hogan’s Alley redevelopment on the footprint of the eastern end of the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts.
“The design of the proposed building is contemporary in architectural vocabulary… The clarity and organization of the mid-rise facade, clad in brick reflects the pattern and vernacular expression of Chinatown original mid-rise buildings. The scale and height of the mid-rise section also relates to the adjacent buildings’ form proportions. The saw tooth termination of the mid-rise section is achieved by varied height of the individual building blocks,” reads the design rationale.
“Vernacular of typical ‘balcony-style’ architecture of Chinatown Society buildings is used throughout the mid-section of the proposed development.”
Four underground levels will host 67 vehicle parking stalls and 195 bike parking spaces.
Altogether, the revised design on the 12,800-sq-ft property is 6.67 times the size of the lot, and five floors and 38 ft shorter than what is allowed by the city’s rezoning policies for the site.
The revised design follows a July 2018 decision by city council to cancel the 2011-enacted policies allowing for greater densities and heights in Chinatown, originally implemented in an effort to help revitalize the area.
City council’s decisions against 105 Keefer Street’s rezoning in 2017 and the subsequent wider changes to what is permissible in Chinatown were in response to activist and community concerns over height and perceived gentrification resulting from such developments.
At the time, city staff said the proposed redevelopment of the Brickhouse site was the one and only proposal exempt from city council’s revised policies for Chinatown, as the application was mid-stream in city’s review process. City staff said they would continue to consider the design under the previous 2011 regulations.
- See also:
- 15-storey condo building proposed to replace The Brickhouse in Chinatown
- City Council approves ban on ‘tall’ and ‘wide’ buildings in Vancouver’s Chinatown district
- 105 Keefer Street Chinatown developer suing City of Vancouver over rejection
- Opinion: Stop clinging to the past, Vancouver’s Chinatown is dead and needs revival