The project to build the new St. Paul’s Hospital and a supporting medical and research campus reached a new major milestone today, as Vancouver city council approved the project’s rezoning application.
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Providence Health Care can now move forward with its plans for the new 18.4-acre health campus at 1002 Station Street in the False Creek Flats, on a parcel just south of Vancouver’s Chinatown and next to Pacific Central Station and SkyTrain’s Main Street-Science World Station.
This follows city council’s 2017 approval of the campus master plan policy statement, which guided the rezoning application, and a tumultuous review of the campus design by the city’s Urban Design Panel over the past year. This will be the largest hospital redevelopment project in BC history.
“We are so grateful to have such wonderful community support. In the years leading up to this decision, hundreds of people shared their ideas for the future of St. Paul’s,” said Fiona Dalton, president and CEO of Providence Health Care, in a statement.
“We listened to the diverse voices of people, stakeholders and communities, including residents of the area, seniors, Indigenous peoples, community groups, business owners, doctors, staff, patients, and more. The result is going to be a world-class health care, research and teaching centre that will help transform patient care for British Columbians.”
Early this fall, Providence Health Care shortlisted two firms to submit detailed bids to build and partially finance the hospital.
With city council’s latest approval, the new hospital — the first phase of the campus — is positioned to see a groundbreaking in late 2020 for an opening in 2026.
This first phase alone will cost $1.9 billion, with $1 billion already committed by the provincial government, $225 million to be raised by St. Paul’s Foundation, and the remainder from the proceeds of selling the existing 6.5-acre hospital at 1081 Burrard Street.
The redevelopment potential to a developer for the hospital site in downtown could peg the value of the property at close to $1 billion.
With 548 patient beds, the new hospital represents a net gain of 115 beds from the existing hospital at Burrard Street.
There will be major provincial-level programs and referral centres, including for heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders, and specialty surgeries and transplants. General and specialized care services provided by the new hospital entail emergency, HIV/AIDS, critical care, mental health, addictions, Indigenous health, maternity, and community care and outreach programs.
A second phase will result in the construction of a number of additional supporting buildings to create medical offices and research space, retail and restaurant space, a hotel with family-sized guest rooms, and rental housing for healthcare workers — about 75 rental homes, depending on the range of unit sizes.
Two daycare facilities are planned; a 69-space childcare centre will be part of the first phase, while a 49-space childcare centre will be built into the second phase.
A third phase expansion would allow for the full buildout of the hospital, as well as additional medical offices and research space.
Altogether, at full buildout, the hospital will span 1.68 million sq. ft. of floor area, plus a campus with 600,000 sq. ft. of medical offices and research space, 45,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, 140,000 sq. ft. of hotel space, and 71,000 sq. ft. of rental housing for healthcare workers. At least 1,728 vehicle parking stalls will be constructed to support all functions of the medical campus.
While community amenity contributions are not required, the new hospital is subject to the municipal government’s citywide development cost levies totalling $90 million, plus a public art budget of $6.6 million.
Significant public spaces are planned, including a civic plaza, wellness walk, a “healing corridor,” and a hotel forecourt.
During the application’s review process, seismic concerns over the hospital’s location were brought up, given that the land was created through reclamation and is prone to flooding over the long term. But the proponents maintain the hospital will meet the latest current seismic codes and earthquake-readiness standards.