Temporary modular homeless housing approved for site of new Vancouver Art Gallery

Aug 16 2018, 5:39 am

A temporary modular housing project proposed by city staff for Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver has been approved by the City’s Development Permit Board.

The approval was announced today, which will create Vancouver’s largest modular housing complex for the homeless to date.

Larwill Park 688 cambie street

Larwill Park at 688 Cambie Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Two three-storey buildings housing a total of 98 homes for individuals who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. Each unit will be about 320-sq-ft and contain a kitchenette, bathroom, and living and sleeping areas.

Like other modular housing projects, this complex will have indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, communal laundry facilities, administration space, and meeting rooms for support services.

Larwill Park modular housing

Artistic rendering of the modular housing complex at Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

The vacant city-block sized site, owned by the municipal government, faces Dunsmuir Street between Cambie Street and Beatty Street. It is heavily used for filming and special events such as the 2015 FIFA World Cup Fan Fest and 2017 Drum Is Calling Festival, and it is the location of the new Vancouver Art Gallery building.

However, the temporary housing is not expected to affect filming and the future construction of the new museum, as it will occupy the northernmost one-third portion of the block that is slated to become two office towers.

The southernmost two-thirds will be the new museum, and over a longer term, the northernmost parcel will become two office towers.

Larwill Park will be subdivided into two lots: coloured in red for the new Vancouver Art Gallery, and coloured in blue for office towers. (City of Vancouver)

New Vancouver Art Gallery

Redevelopment of the Larwill Park city block: The new Vancouver Art Gallery (right) and two office towers (left). (Vancouver Art Gallery)

Non-profit housing operator MPA Society has been selected by BC Housing to operate the complex, including offering residents life skills training and employment preparation.

Funding for this project is provided by the provincial government’s $66 million fund to build 600 modular homes for the homeless within Vancouver. So far, over 400 homes are approved or under construction and another 200 homes are in various stages of the development application process.

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