North Vancouver approves 360 beds of student housing at Capilano University

Jun 29 2021, 11:43 am

Last week, North Vancouver District Council approved a proposal by Capilano University to construct a purpose-built student housing building at its main campus.

With 360 beds, the project provides a significant infusion in housing options for students who struggle to find rental housing on the North Shore or are forced to make a long commute across the inlet on a daily basis.

“We are greatly appreciative of Council’s decision in favour of this vital component of our infrastructure,” said Capilano University President Paul Dangerfield in a statement.

“This project marks a major revitalization of our campus and a significant step forward towards realizing our priority of offering below-market, on-campus housing for students.”

The building will be constructed at the north end of the campus, on the eastern half of an existing surface parking lot at the southwest corner of the intersection of Monashee Drive and Tantalus Road — near Bosa Centre for Film and Animation. HDR Architecture Associates is the design firm.

2055 Purcell Way North Vancouver Capilano University

Layout of Capilano University’s on-campus student residence, and future phases. (Capex Projects/Capilano University)

Site of 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Capilano University intends to cover about 30% of the construction costs, with the remainder expected to be covered by the provincial government’s program that funds new student housing. If funding is secured, the building is expected to reach completion by August 2024.

There will be 154 double-occupancy dormitory rooms, 52 single-occupancy dormitory rooms, and a single two-bedroom suite for a resident advisor.

As most of the units will not have private kitchens and washrooms, shared washroom and living/study areas will be included on each of the upper five levels. Communal laundry facilities and multi-purpose rooms are located on the ground level.

capilano university 2055 purcell way

August 2020 artistic rendering of 2055 Purcell Way at Capilano University in North Vancouver District. (HDR Architecture Associates)

capilano university 2055 purcell way

August 2020 artistic rendering of 2055 Purcell Way at Capilano University in North Vancouver District. (HDR Architecture Associates)

Below-market monthly rental rates will be about $800 for a double-occupancy dorm room and $1,000 for a single-occupancy dorm room. All student residents will be required to have a mandatory meal plan of approximately $2,600 per academic term of four months.

The ground level of this building includes a large dining hall with a capacity to accommodate about 500 students for not only the residents of this student housing building, but also the potential future expansion phases of the student housing complex on the western parcel of the parking lot. The glass-enclosed dining hall its own wing with a green roof.

capilano university 2055 purcell way

August 2020 artistic rendering of 2055 Purcell Way at Capilano University in North Vancouver District. (HDR Architecture Associates)

capilano university 2055 purcell way

August 2020 site plan of 2055 Purcell Way at Capilano University in North Vancouver District. (HDR Architecture Associates)

Approximately 190 surface vehicle parking stalls — half of the site’s parking capacity — will be removed to accommodate this first building of the complex. No underground parking is proposed, but there will be 66 bike parking spaces, and end-of-trip facilities such as lockers and change rooms.

As more on-campus student housing options are provided, less on-campus parking will be required. The university has 12,600 students and faculty, and there is an immense demand for on-campus housing.

The university converted the former international boarding school buildings in 2017 into a student housing complex with 250 beds and a dining hall. The off-campus student housing complex is a 10-minute drive or 15-minute bus ride — including one transfer at Phibbs Exchange — from campus. Over the longer term, the property could be redeveloped as part of a larger project in the area.

In 2019, Darwin Properties also submitted a separate application for a mixed-use residential and commercial complex at 1310 Monashee Drive, immediately east of the Bosa Centre. It calls for two six-storey buildings with 346 market rental homes dedicated to the students, faculty, and staff of the university, as well as 5,564 sq ft of food service space and 3,778 sq ft of artist space. This private development includes underground levels for 168 vehicle parking stalls and 692 bike parking spaces.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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