Project proponents of the mixed-use redevelopment of the old RCMP headquarters have selected a preferred concept for further consideration.
The new concept for the 21-acre redevelopment on the Cambie Street Corridor is being proposed for the policy statement that will guide the future rezoning of the site. This latest concept, the fourth created for the project, is based on the three concepts put into public consideration last fall.
The site is bounded by West 33rd Avenue to the north, the alleyway behind Willow Street to the west, the alleyway behind Ash Street to the east, and West 37th Avenue to the south. It was acquired in 2014 by a joint venture consisting of three local First Nations and federal crown corporation Canada Lands Company.
This selected concept calls for towers reaching up to 24 storeys high near the centre of the redevelopment site.
Other parcels on the site will have buildings ranging between three to 18 storeys, with buildings stepping away to provide a transition to the surrounding lower density neighbourhood.
Townhouses will also fill spaces between the towers and mid-rise buildings to frame open spaces and to provide a sense of “human scale”.
Altogether, there could be as many as 2,000 homes in the redevelopment when it reaches full completion.
Other elements of the project include a new cultural centre on the northernmost parcel of the site at West 33rd Avenue – the existing site of the historic Fairmont Building, which could be relocated to another site in the city. The First Nations are insisting on the removal of the building as part of reconciliation, even if it means demolition, but staff with the City of Vancouver are recommending that the municipal government take the lead with a relocation project of the building.
There will be a 69-space daycare and local-serving retail near the cultural centre, which will have a floor area of between 15,000 and 20,000 sq. ft.
A location on the southwest corner of the property has also been identified for a potential francophone elementary school.
As well, four acres of park and open spaces are planned, with a linear “forest trail” stretching from the northwest corner of the site to the centre of the site on the southernmost edge. This is in addition to private courtyard spaces as amenities for residents.
And a new road network will extend from local streets onto the site, although Heather Street north of West 37th Avenue will be closed to create “safe and comfortable connections” for pedestrians and cyclists.
Vancouver City Council is expected to consider a policy statement for the redevelopment, including the potential relocation of the Fairmont Building, later this spring.
The Heather Street Lands are one of five neighbourhood-sized redevelopments planned for the Cambie Street Corridor. The other redevelopments are slated for the old Vancouver Transit Centre, Oakridge Centre, Langara Gardens, and Pearson Dogwood. This does not include standalone redevelopment opportunities identified by the Cambie Street Corridor, which envisions 50,000 additional residents in the area over the next 20 years.