Revision downsizes Safeway redevelopment proposal at Commercial-Broadway Station

Nov 5 2021, 7:54 pm

Another revision has been made to the proposal to redevelop the Safeway grocery store site next to the SkyTrain Commercial-Broadway Station hub in East Vancouver.

After engaging with the community and City of Vancouver staff on the previous design iteration since Fall 2020, the Broadway Commercial project at 1780 East Broadway has been downsized again, and there are some noticeable public benefit tradeoffs as a result of the reduced density.

One residential storey has been slashed from each of the three towers — now at heights ranging between 24 and 29 storeys above the podium’s retail plinth — and towers are now also slightly slimmer.

September 2019 design:

1780 East Broadway Commercial Safeway Vancouver

September 2019 artistic rendering of 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver. (Crombie REIT/Westbank/Perkins&Will)

September 2020 design:

broadway commercial safeway redevelopment

September 2020 artistic rendering of the Broadway & Commercial Safeway redevelopment from East 10th Avenue. (Perkins + Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

Current November 2021 design:

1780 East Broadway Commercial Vancouver November 2021

November 2021 artistic rendering of the Broadway Commercial Safeway redevelopment at 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

This has reduced the total number of homes from 688 units in the 2020 rezoning application to 653 units as of November 2021, with the reductions coming from both the rental housing and condominium components. There will be 438 secured rental units, representing a decrease of 14 rental units, but the number of below-market rental units has more than doubled to 93 units — shrinking the number of market rental homes to 345 units. The number of condominiums is now 215 units, which is a drop of 20 units.

Overall, the total floor area has decreased from 607,623 sq ft to 602,662 sq ft, creating a floor area ratio (FAR) density of a floor area that is 5.7 times larger than the size of the 2.4-acre lot. It amounts to a drop of 0.49 FAR, but the actual decrease in floor area is not fully represented, as the 12,000 sq ft childcare facility — not calculated as part of FAR in the 2020 proposal — has been eliminated as a result of the latest changes in residential density and housing tenure mix. A proposed fitness gym, previously not part of FAR as well, has also increased in size and is now part of overall density calculations.

The slight height and density changes now put the project in alignment with the city’s Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, which limits the Safeway site’s density to 5.7 FAR. It is the only major transit-oriented development site identified by the plan.

1780 East Broadway Commercial Vancouver November 2021

November 2021 artistic rendering of the Broadway Commercial Safeway redevelopment at 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

1780 East Broadway Commercial Vancouver November 2021

November 2021 artistic rendering of the Broadway Commercial Safeway redevelopment at 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

broadway commercial safeway redevelopment 1780 east broadway

September 2020 artistic rendering of the Broadway & Commercial Safeway redevelopment from East Broadway. (Perkins + Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

Changes have also been made to the form and volume of the towers, as well as the facade, with a punctured window pattern, and simplified vertical greenery.

The public plaza between the building complex and the SkyTrain station has been slightly increased in size, and its configuration has changed to improve its day-do-day functionality for the community.

From the plaza, building residents will still use elevators or the grand staircase to reach the landscaped amenity courtyard on the rooftop of the Safeway and the lobby entrances for each of the three residential towers.

An additional above-ground pocket park has also been added along the property’s 10th Avenue frontage, where a bike lane is already proposed as part of the project.

broadway commercial safeway redevelopment 1780 east broadway

September 2020 artistic rendering of the public plaza at the Broadway & Commercial Safeway redevelopment from East 10th Avenue. (Perkins + Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

broadway commercial safeway redevelopment 1780 east broadway

September 2020 artistic rendering of the new public plaza at the Broadway & Commercial Safeway redevelopment. (Perkins + Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

1780 East Broadway Commercial Vancouver November 2021

November 2021 artistic rendering of the Broadway Commercial Safeway redevelopment at 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver. (Perkins&Will/Westbank/Crombie REIT)

Three underground levels would accommodate 446 vehicle parking stalls and 1,390 secure bike parking spaces. These parkade levels and the loading docks for the Safeway would be accessible from a new intersection on East Broadway.

This project is a partnership between Crombie REIT and local developer Westbank, and the architectural design firm is Perkins & Will. It is the third public iteration of the project’s design between all three firms, following the death of Bing Thom, who created some of the early framework and concepts for the site’s redevelopment potential.

Public consultation on the revised rezoning application is slated to begin November 15, 2021.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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