800 Granville revitalization project progresses to official application (RENDERINGS)

Sep 13 2021, 1:43 pm

The proposal to redevelop the 800 block of Granville Street into a significant mixed-use, commercial-only complex has progressed to the formal application stage.

Bonnis Properties submitted a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver last month, after conducting highly extensive pre-application public and stakeholder consultation earlier in 2021.

“With over two decades of assembling contiguous properties on this block, coordinating lease expiries and years of planning, we are excited that our rezoning application for the 800 Granville Block proposal has been submitted to the City of Vancouver. We have been immensely encouraged by the public response to our application so far,” Kerry Bonnis, the owner and developer of Bonnis Properties, told Daily Hive Urbanized.

“Since the beginning of the year our project team has been active on social media and in the community, talking to arts and culture and business organizations, and local residents; and what we are hearing has reinforced our belief that Granville Street will be propelled into a new future by this project. Now that our application has been submitted, we look forward to working with the City’s planning department to realize our vision with the urgency this endeavour merits.”

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the revised design for 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

The rezoning application shows a refined design for the project compared to what Daily Hive Urbanized first reported early this year, now with a streamlined architectural profile and even more office space.

The tower height remains the same at 260 ft (79 metres), but the massing of the building within the upper levels has been redistributed for larger office floor plates, including the elimination of a small upper floor plate for 16 storeys instead of 17 storeys. With the changes, the total office floor area has increased to 420,399 sq ft from the previous iteration with 377,100 sq ft.

Most of the office floor plates are nearly the length of a city block — a rarity within downtown Vancouver, but deemed highly coveted space for tech firms and other larger companies looking for large office floor plates to better suit their workplace needs. The building’s office space component can accommodate about 4,000 workers.

Previous design:

800 granville street vancouver

January 2021 artistic rendering of 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

Revised design:

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the revised design for 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

The upper eight levels have large outdoor terraces on the southern end of their floor plates, made possible by the building’s gradual north-south height transition between the taller buildings to the north in the Central Business District and the shorter buildings to the south in the Granville Entertainment District. The building’s sculpting is also now less pronounced, and the glass curtain wall for the exterior has been simplified. Perkins & Will is the architectural design firm.

The proposal has retained it’s extensive cultural, entertainment, and retail spaces within the lower levels of the building. This includes the complete retention of the Commodore Ballroom and Commodore Lanes bowling and billiards by building a 175-ft-long (53 metres) structural bridge over the historic Commodore building.

A new 14,700 sq ft, 320-seat black box theatre space would be built above the Commodore building as a public benefit contribution, owned by the City of Vancouver upon completion.

Newly released artistic sketches also show proposed changes to the Orpheum Theatre’s Granville Street entrance lobby area to accommodate new elevators reaching the black box theatre, Commodore Ballroom, and shared pre-function spaces. Additionally, the proposal incorporates much-needed, back-of-house upgrades that benefit both the Commodore Ballroom and the Orpheum Theatre.

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 sketch of changes to the Orpheum Theatre’s Granville Street entrance for new vertical circulation access to the Commodore Ballroom and the new city-owned theatre, as part of 800 Granville Street. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 sketch of the 800 Granville Street’s fourth level of a restaurant, lounge space, and promenade. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 sketch of the new mid-building modern facade and preserved Commodore Building facade at 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

Within the lower floors of the building, there would be 89,580 sq ft of cultural and entertainment space (44,961 sq ft of that is new space), and 103,057 sq ft of retail and restaurant space over three levels (85,701 sq ft of that is new space), including several retail units for large retailers.

On the fourth level, there is a restaurant and a large outdoor promenade spanning the length of the building along Granville Street.

Other than the complete retention of the exterior and interior of the Commodore building, the heritage facades of four other buildings on the block would be retained and preserved, with the internal space demolished for new construction.

A massive two-storey tall video wall encloses the lower section of the building along Robson Street and Granville Street, providing the building with a dynamic visual identity that is fitting for an entertainment district — complementing the area’s neon sign heritage.

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

Model of the revised design of 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Bonnis Properties)

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the revised design for 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the office space interior of 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

The updated design provides the building with a floor area ratio density (FAR) that is 12.78 times larger than the size of the lot. This is up from the previous iteration for 11.5 FAR.

If approved by Vancouver City Council, the complex would have a profoundly positive impact on revitalizing Granville Street, given the critical mass of office workers, and the additional foot traffic generated by the new additional and revitalized retail, restaurant, culture, and entertainment spaces.

The project is now moving into the formal application stage, after the city council widened the door for building proposals that would be accepted and reviewed by city staff in July 2021 — including those non-compliant with existing city policies. This is under a new streamlined process that prioritizes projects with a public benefit and a positive impact, such as economic stimulation and job creation, significant community amenity contribution, cultural opportunities, and/or affordable housing. This has triggered a new wave of major formal applications to the city.

Proponents of 800 Granville Street plan on conducting further public consultation over the coming months.

Previous design:

800 granville street vancouver

Artistic rendering of 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins & Will/Bonnis Properties)

Revised design:

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the revised design for 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

800 granville street vancouver bonnis properties

August 2021 artistic rendering of the revised design for 800 Granville Street, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Bonnis Properties)

 

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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