The Balfour Block, roughly the size of a whole city block, in Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood could see a new mix of housing tenures through redevelopment.
Local developer Wesgroup is proposing to redevelop 906-982 West 18th Avenue and 906-969 West 19th Avenue — framed by West 18th Avenue to the north, Laurel Street to the east, West 19th Avenue to the south, and the laneway east of Oak Street to the west — into several low-rise and mid-rise buildings.
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Currently, the 2.34-acre site is occupied by two-storey duplex buildings constructed in the 1950s.
The proposal calls for a new six-storey rental building, six-storey condominium building, and six four-storey and two three-storey stacked townhome buildings. The tallest building reaches a height of up to 83 ft.
Altogether, a total of 241 homes are envisioned, including 84 townhomes, 57 condominiums, and 100 purpose-built secured market rental homes.
The rental housing component almost triples the number of rental homes in the existing buildings. Moreover, a quarter of the proposed rental floor area will be set at below-market rates for moderate income households.
The overall unit mix is 13 studios, 104 one-bedroom units, 59 two-bedroom units, and 65 three-bedroom units. Nearly 75% of the townhomes are three-bedroom units, and 39% and 44% of the rental homes and condominiums, respectively, are two-bedroom units or larger.
Shared indoor amenity spaces for the condominium and rental housing components are separated. The condominium indoor and outdoor amenities are located on the rooftop of the building.
Additionally, the condominium building includes a 5,500 sq ft childcare facility on the ground level with a capacity for 37 kids, and attached outdoor play space.
The project’s design firm is Formwerks Architecture, which is known for its modern interpretation of classical architecture. In this case, the design is inspired by Belgravia-style architecture found in London, UK.
“While the form of buildings includes varying materiality, the simplistically elegant lines and stucco materiality pays homage to the existing Balfour Block buildings and the surrounding neighbourhood,” reads the design rationale.
The existing east-west laneway that bisects the site will be turned into a public linear greenspace within the eastern half of the site, which will transition to the private parkade entry on the west side of the site. Courtyard pathways will run north-south through the site to provide enhanced neighbourhood connectivity.
Underground levels will contain 334 vehicle parking stalls and 630 bike parking spaces.
The total floor area is 220,000 sq ft for a floor space ratio density of 2.16 times the size of the lot.
In exchange for the density and market housing, the developer will provide about $3.65 million in development cost levies, $440,000 in public art contributions, $217,000 for the in-kind value of the linear greenspace, and $3.57 million for the in-kind value of the childcare facility. The proposal is being considered under the city’s Cambie Corridor Plan and Rezoning Policy for Large Sustainable Developments.