Major redesign proposed to turn Blood Alley Square into an event-friendly space

May 17 2019, 6:31 pm

Three years after a redesign project was initially proposed, City of Vancouver planners revealed this week a new revised concept for Blood Alley Square and Trounce Alley in the Gastown district.

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The heritage public space is in need of a revitalization that conserves its heritage characteristics and character look, while also improving the area into an inviting space for community events. The city is working with Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects on the redesign.

Current condition:

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Future condition:

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Cobblestones and red bricks in both the square and the adjacent Trounce Alley — one of Vancouver’s original roadways dating back to 1870 — will be rehabilitated. As well, heritage globe lights and bollards will be restored and re-painted to historic style, and semi-industrial elements will be repurposed for furnishings and railings.

Mature trees will be retained, wherever possible, and new seating areas will be added.

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Layout of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

But the biggest changes will be the regrading of the space and the creation of a continuous open space to make it more functional for larger events, with an estimated capacity for about 500 people.

The proposed redesign of Blood Alley is still dependent on city council’s final approval.

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Blood Alley Square Gastown

Artistic rendering of the May 2019 redesign concept of Blood Alley Square in Gastown. (City of Vancouver)

Additionally, since the original concept in 2016, planners have also factored in the 2018 approval of the redevelopment of 33 West Cordova Street, which has a rear frontage that borders much of the square’s length.

The redevelopment, by local developer Westbank and designed by Henriquez Partners Architects, will have a retail/restaurant frontage that helps activate the square and a porous mid-block connection that allows the public to access the square from West Cordova Street through the building.

33 West Cordova Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 33 West Cordova, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank)

The 10-storey redevelopment retains the West Cordova Street heritage facades of the lot’s existing structures, and in addition to its commercial usages on the lower and basement levels the project will include 142 homes — 80 social housing units and 62 market rental housing units.

A previous concept for this project incorporate a significant underground event venue, but this was eliminated due to safety concerns from the municipal government.

33 West Cordova Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 33 West Cordova, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank)

33 West Cordova Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 33 West Cordova, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank)

33 West Cordova Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 33 West Cordova, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank)

33 West Cordova Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 33 West Cordova, Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects / Westbank)

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