Vancouver Jewish Community Centre redevelopment moves a step forward

Oct 15 2019, 2:38 pm

A new community entity will be formed to oversee the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (JCC) into a new mixed-use community, cultural, and recreation centre with rental housing.

In September 2018, Vancouver city council approved the rezoning application to redevelop the 3.3-acre property at 950 West 41st Avenue — the southeast corner of the intersection of West 41st Avenue and Oak Street — into a new hub for the region’s Jewish community and the wider public.

Aerial view of the existing Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver site at 950 West 41st Avenue. (Google Maps Streetview)

Jewish Community Centre Vancouver

The site at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, looking from the intersection of West 41st Avenue and Willow Street. (Google Maps)

A year later, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver has announced a collaboration with the JCC, with a memorandum of understanding now signed between the two parties in which the JCC would transfer ownership of the property to a new entity government by a new board of directors. Both parties will also collaborate and co-lead the fundraising initiatives needed to fulfill the multi-phased redevelopment.

“This agreement is an important initial step toward acting upon the community’s vision for a revitalized JCC that would become a legacy for the Jewish community and the city,” said JCC President Salomon Casseres in a statement.

“Our board is excited to partner with Jewish Federation. We believe that this collaboration puts the project on a strong foundation for success, from a community, financial and governance perspective.”

The property is just one block west of Oakridge Centre shopping mall, and across from the Oak Green redevelopment of TransLink’s former Vancouver Transit Centre. It is largely undeveloped, with a ground-level parking lot on the eastern half of the site and the existing, three-storey community centre building – which also houses the Norman Rostein Theatre – on the western half.

950 West 41st Avenue Vancouver Jewish Community Centre

Artistic rendering of the Jewish Community Centre redevelopment at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

950 West 41st Avenue Vancouver Jewish Community Centre

Site plan of the Jewish Community Centre redevelopment at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

The approved rezoning designed by Acton Ostry Architects calls for two towers — 26 storeys and 24 storeys, reaching up to 279 ft — to provide 299 new homes, including mixed-use rental housing that will be offered at or below market value and open to everyone.

Within the nine-storey podium building structures, there will be 200,000 sq. ft. of new recreational, cultural, and community space, including a new swimming pool, gymnasiums, multi-purpose facilities, childcare spaces for up to 104 young children, senior services, and theatre, as well as an expanded Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre and office space for over 15 not-for-profit community organizations.

Retail and restaurant spaces are also slated for the ground level facing the arterial streets, and gardens and functional outdoor spaces are planned for the extensive rooftop areas.

950 West 41st Avenue Vancouver Jewish Community Centre

Artistic rendering of the Jewish Community Centre redevelopment at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Underground levels will provide 783 vehicle parking spaces. Overall, the redevelopment will generate a floor space ratio density of 4.59 times the size of the lot.

The original rezoning plan included a new 13-storey seniors residential home to replace the neighbouring Louis Brier Home and Hospital, but that was removed in a revised application.

“The proposed redevelopment of the JCC site is a complex, long-term project that will take commitments from across the community, government, and beyond to realize,” said Alex Cristall, Jewish Federation’s board chair.

“We are hopeful that the necessary support can be secured to make this proposed redevelopment possible.”