8 future towers in Metro Vancouver that will be taller than Shangri-La (RENDERINGS)

May 18 2022, 9:50 pm

Traditionally, the tallest buildings in urban regions can be found in their metropolitan core area, but moving forward, that will no longer be the case in Metro Vancouver, which is emerging as an outlier in the world.

At least eight future towers are set to be taller than BC’s current tallest — Westbank’s Living Shangri-La in downtown Vancouver, which has a height of 659 ft (201 metres) with 57 storeys. Prior to the 2008 completion of Living-Shangri-La, the 2001-built, 491 ft (150 metres) One Wall Centre was the tallest building in Metro Vancouver.

But none of the eight forthcoming tall towers in this region are located inside Vancouver’s municipal borders. Seven of these future towers are located in Burnaby, while one is located in Surrey.

These are all transit-oriented developments; five future towers are immediately adjacent to a SkyTrain station, and three towers are just under a short 10-minute walking distance from a SkyTrain hub.

Various factors are driving the trend away from downtown Vancouver, with City of Vancouver policies suppressing heights through permitted zoning and unambitious area/community plans. An overarching added height restriction within Vancouver that trumps zoning and area/community plans is its strict policy of protecting mountain views at points of interest and public spaces through dozens of view cones, with the wide-sweeping View Cone 3.0 emanating from Queen Elizabeth Park being the most impactful for both the downtown Vancouver peninsula and Central Broadway.

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Living Shangri-La is the tallest building in the downtown Vancouver skyline. (Shutterstock)

living shangri-la hotel vancouver

Living Shangri-La hotel tower in downtown Vancouver. (Shutterstock)

Increasingly in recent years, city staff have also layered on an added informal policy of further limiting building heights and scaling back upper levels to reduce shadowing on public parks, intersections, and shopping streets.

As a result of the relative ambiguity, uncertainty, and greater cost of building within Vancouver, developers and those backing their construction financing are turning to Metro Vancouver’s traditional suburban communities.

Housing demand, and to a certain extent job space as well, that is centred in Vancouver, is increasingly being forced out of the city’s jurisdiction, leading to the rise of new skylines in the distance. Chipping away at Vancouver through their policies of economic growth, housing options, and transit-oriented development, the suburban municipal governments also stand to benefit from increased revenue through development, and new residents and businesses paying property taxes.

This trend is expected to greatly accelerate, and there are both tangible and intangible implications to the detriment of Vancouver.

Under Vancouver’s existing policies, there is only one parcel of land that holds allowances for a tower that exceeds the height of Living Shangri-La, but it would come well short of being the region’s new tallest. The southwest corner of the intersection of Burrard Street and West Georgia Street — currently occupied by a mid-rise office building with the Hermes flagship store — carries the permitted potential of a 700 ft (213-metre) tower. This site’s tall maximum height is permitted under the city’s West End Plan, and there are no view cones that curb the potential of this site.

west end plan downtown vancouver 700 ft tower site

Depiction of the 700 ft (213 metre) tower site at the southwest corner of the intersection of Burrard Street and West Georgia Street under the West End Plan. (City of Vancouver)

hudsons bay parkade holborn group vancouver mad architects

Artistic rendering of a concept for the Hudson’s Bay parkade redevelopment in downtown Vancouver. (MAD Architects/Arc Shadow/Holborn  Group)

But there is certainly interest with building taller in downtown Vancouver. A mixed-use redevelopment concept for the Hudson’s Bay parkade block by Holborn Group that surfaced in 2020 included a tall tower likely well over 800 ft (244 metres). It was just one concept being considered internally by the developer, which has yet to submit a formal rezoning application for the site. However, the redevelopment’s potential height is greatly limited by view cones, similar to the restrictions on the TELUS Garden office tower and the proposed Hudson’s Bay redevelopment across the street.

Beyond the downtown Vancouver peninsula, but still within the city, the two tallest building sites are set for Oakridge Municipal Town Centre and the vicinity of the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway.

Earlier this year, Vancouver City Council approved a revised rezoning for Westbank’s Oakridge Park (Oakridge Centre) redevelopment that allows a 518 ft (158-metre) tower with 52 storeys, which will mainly contain market rental housing.

Another relatively taller tower that was recently approved by city council is within the Broadway Plan area — a 407 ft (124 metres) tower by PCI Developments with 39 storeys at 1477 West Broadway, right above SkyTrain’s future South Granville Station, with rental housing, office uses, and retail. The area around this future station will see the tallest heights permissible in the entirety of the Broadway Plan.

Earlier this year, construction reached completion on Reliance Properties’ One Burrard Place near the north end of the Burrard Street Bridge in downtown Vancouver. It currently stands as Vancouver’s third tallest building, with a height of 550 ft (168 metres) with 54 storeys.

But One Burrard Place will be eclipsed in late 2022 or early 2023, when construction tops out on Westbank’s nearby The Butterfly tower, which will reach 556 ft (170 metres) with 57 storeys.

burrard place construction july 15 2021

The Offices at Burrard Place (left) and One Burrard Place (right) from Drake Street. Construction progress as of July 14, 2021. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

curv 1059-1075 Nelson Street vancouver bravia group april 2022 rendering

April 2022 artistic rendering of CURV at 1059-1075 Nelson Street, Vancouver. (WKK Architects/Bravia Group)

Shortly after by 2027, the title of Vancouver’s third tallest building will be passed to Bravia Group’s The Curv — a 586 ft (179 metres) tower with condominiums, rental housing, and social housing, located on the same city block as The Butterfly. Its rezoning was approved in 2020.

There is also a proposal by Intracorp to build a 580 ft (177 metres) mixed-use tower at 1045 Haro Street in downtown Vancouver, but the project’s height faces some resistance from city staff due to its perceived shadowing impacts on Robson Street to the north.

Briefly, for about just one year upon topping out in 2015, Holborn Group’s Paradox Hotel Vancouver (former Trump Tower) in downtown Vancouver carried the sole title of the region’s second tallest tower. Beginning in 2016, it shared that title with Appia Development’s Altus at their Solo District complex in Burnaby’s Brentwood Town Centre. Both towers reach a height of 616 ft (188 metres).

The fourth tallest buildings in the region are currently located at SHAPE Properties’ The Amazing Brentwood mall development. The 2020-built twin towers of Brentwood One and Brentwood Two reach a height of 611 ft (186 metres).

Contrast all of this to what is permitted near SkyTrain Commercial-Broadway Station, the busiest transit hub in Metro Vancouver. Under the City of Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland Plan, only the Safeway site adjacent to the station can be redeveloped into high-rise towers, with the peripheral areas around the hub generally restricted to mid-rise buildings. As a result, Westbank’s proposal for the Safeway redevelopment — containing significant rental housing and new retail, including a new replacement grocery store — calls for three towers reaching only between 24 and 29 storeys. If approved, the tallest tower will be about 370 ft (113 metres), well below the transit-oriented development heights in the suburban cities.

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)

Here are Metro Vancouver’s eight future tallest buildings from shortest to tallest, including the new tallest building west of Toronto, and the new tallest office building in the region:

8. MetroKing

  • Height: 692 ft (211 metres)
  • Floors: 66
  • Location: 4653-4673 Kingsway and 4638-4670 Hazel Street, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Metrotown
  • Status: Formal proposal
  • Uses: Condominiums, market rental housing, below-market rental housing, office, retail
  • Developer/owner: Anthem Properties
  • Architect: Chris Dikeakos Architects
4653-4673 Kingsway 4638-4670 Hazel Street Surrey Metro King

Artistic rendering of Metro King tower at 4653-4673 Kingsway and 4638-4670 Hazel Street, Burnaby. (Chris Dikeakos Architects/Anthem Properties)

4653-4673 Kingsway 4638-4670 Hazel Street Surrey Metro King

Artistic rendering of Metro King tower at 4653-4673 Kingsway and 4638-4670 Hazel Street, Burnaby. (Chris Dikeakos Architects/Anthem Properties)

7. Gilmore Place: Tower Two

  • Height: 708 ft (216 metres); this will be the first building to exceed the height of Living Shangri-La
  • Floors: 64
  • Location: 4190 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Metrotown
  • Status: Under construction; 2024 completion targeted
  • Uses: Condominiums, office, retail
  • Developer/owner: Onni Group
  • Architect: IBI Group
Gilmore Place Onni Group

Artistic rendering of the first phase of Gilmore Place. (Onni Group)

gilmore place towers

Artistic rendering of the first phase of Gilmore Place. (Onni Group)

gilmore place construction may 16 2022

Construction progress on Gilmore Place as of May 16, 2022, with Tower Two’s progress shown on the left of the two towers under construction. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

6. Bosa Kingsway-Willingdon

  • Height (estimated only): 700+ ft (213+ metres)
  • Floors (estimated only): 70+
  • Location: 4444-4488 Kingsway, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Metrotown
  • Status: Proposal (precise design details have not been released at this time; more details later in 2022)
  • Uses: Condominiums, market rental housing, below-market rental housing, office, hotel, retail
  • Developer/owner: Bosa Properties
  • Architect: unknown
4488 kingsway vancouver

Highly preliminary concept for 4444-4488 Kingsway, Burnaby. (Bosa Properties)

5. Concord Metrotown: Grand Tower

  • Height: 755 ft (230 metres)
  • Floors: 65
  • Location: 6403 Nelson Avenue, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Metrotown
  • Status: Under construction; 2025 completion targeted
  • Uses: Condominiums, retail
  • Developer/owner: Concord Pacific
  • Architect: IBI Group
concord metrotown first phase rendering

Artistic rendering of the first phase of Concord Metrotown, including Metro Vancouver’s new tallest building. (Concord Pacific)

concord metrotown

Artistic rendering of Concord Metrotown in relation to Ivanhoe Cambridge’s future Metropolis at Metrotown redevelopment. (Concord Pacific)

4. Centre Block

  • Height: 738 ft (225 metres); Metro Vancouver’s future tallest office building
  • Floors: 47
  • Location: 10275 City Parkway, Surrey
  • SkyTrain station: Surrey Central
  • Status: Approved
  • Uses: Office, education/institutional, retail
  • Developer/owner: City of Surrey
  • Architect: Hariri Pontarini Architects and Adamson Architects
10275 City Parkway Centre Block Surrey

September 2021 artistic rendering of Centre Block at 10275 City Parkway, Surrey. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/City of Surrey)

10275 City Parkway Centre Block Surrey

September 2021 artistic rendering of Centre Block at 10275 City Parkway, Surrey. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/City of Surrey)

10275 City Parkway Centre Block Surrey

September 2021 artistic rendering of Centre Block at 10275 City Parkway, Surrey. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/City of Surrey)

3. Pinnacle Lougheed: Phase 1a tower

  • Height: 782 ft (239 metres)
  • Floors: 73
  • Location: 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Lougheed Town Centre
  • Status: Formal proposal
  • Uses: Condominiums, office, retail
  • Developer/owner: Pinnacle International Development
  • Architect: JYOM Architecture
9850 Austin Road 9858-9898 Gatineau Place Burnaby Pinnacle Lougheed 2022

2022 concept artistic rendering of Pinnacle Lougheed at 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby, with the first phase highlighted. (JYOM Architecture/Pinnacle International Development)

2. Pinnacle Lougheed: Phase 2 tower

  • Height: 794 ft (242 metres)
  • Floors: 76
  • Location: 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Lougheed Town Centre
  • Status: Formal proposal
  • Uses: Condominiums, hotel, retail
  • Developer/owner: Pinnacle International Development
  • Architect: JYOM Architecture
9850 Austin Road 9858-9898 Gatineau Place Burnaby Pinnacle Lougheed 2022

2022 concept artistic rendering of Pinnacle Lougheed at 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby, with the first phase highlighted. (JYOM Architecture/Pinnacle International Development)

1. Pinnacle Lougheed: Phase 1b tower

  • Height: 850 ft (259 metres); Western Canada’s future tallest tower
  • Floors: 80
  • Location: 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby
  • SkyTrain station: Lougheed Town Centre
  • Status: Formal proposal
  • Uses: Condominiums, office, retail
  • Developer/owner: Pinnacle International Development
  • Architect: JYOM Architecture
9850 Austin Road 9858-9898 Gatineau Place Burnaby Pinnacle Lougheed 2022

2022 concept artistic rendering of Pinnacle Lougheed at 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby, with the first phase highlighted. (JYOM Architecture/Pinnacle International Development)

9850 Austin Road 9858-9898 Gatineau Place Burnaby Pinnacle Lougheed 2022

2022 concept uses of Pinnacle Lougheed at 9850 Austin Road and 9858-9898 Gatineau Place, Burnaby, with the first phase highlighted. (JYOM Architecture/Pinnacle International Development)

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