Pearson Dogwood Vancouver project increases tower heights for more rental homes

Jan 8 2022, 5:01 am

Nearly two years after local developer Onni Group performed a pre-application public consultation on its plans to upsize its Pearson Dogwood redevelopment project, a formal rezoning application has been filed with the City of Vancouver.

The overall layout of the redevelopment of Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) former 25-acre healthcare facility at 500-650 West 57th Avenue, immediately west of Langara Golf Course on the Cambie Street Corridor, remains essentially the same. But the building heights and massing have changed considerably to accommodate an increase of 265,334 sq ft in rental housing floor area.

The first two condominium towers, named Cambie Gardens, reaching 24 storeys and 28 storeys at the southeast corner of the site, are expected to reach completion in Spring 2022. Both towers were pursued under the framework of city council’s 2017-approved master plan for Pearson Dogwood.

The revisions through the new rezoning application propose converting two planned condominium buildings — a 26-storey tower in the northeast quadrant, and a six-storey building in the southeast quadrant — into rental housing uses. By converting both buildings, it will also mean a significant portion of the rental housing will be generated earlier, within the first of five redevelopment phases.

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood: blue (condo to rental conversion), yellow (added height for condo space), and purple (towers under construction; 2022 completion). (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

2022 revisions for Pearson Dogwood: condominiums (yellow), rental housing (blue), social housing (orange), and pink (supportive housing). (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

2022 revisions to the building heights of Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

2022 revisions showing the ground-level uses for Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

The condominium floor area from the two converted buildings would then be redistributed to existing buildings by increasing the height.

Six buildings will see greater heights to handle the transfer of condominium density, including 91 ft added to a 12-storey tower to increase it to 21 storeys, and 81 ft added to a 27-storey tower to increase it to 35 storeys — making it the highest building in Pearson Dogwood with a total height of 369 ft. The tallest buildings are generally located within the northeast quadrant of the site.

As a result of the revisions, the number of homes upon full buildout at Pearson Dogwood would grow to 3,005 units, including 2,035 condominium homes, 216 market rental homes, 99 moderate income rental homes, 541 social housing units, and 114 supportive housing units. At least 35% of the homes will be sized for families, with a minimum of 25% of the units containing two bedrooms, and a minimum of 10% with three bedrooms.

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood, with the design of the first two towers reaching completion in Spring 2022 shown in detail. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood: blue (condos converted to rentals), and turquoise (added height for condos). Langara Gardens is also shown in grey. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood: blue (condos converted to rentals), and turquoise (added height for condos). Langara Gardens is also shown in grey. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood: blue (condos converted to rentals), and turquoise (added height for condos). Langara Gardens is also shown in grey. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

The total floor area would reach 3.44 million sq ft, including 3.02 million sq ft of residential space distributed across the site, 132,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space within the lower levels at the northeast quadrant, and a 205,000 sq ft VCH community health care centre also in the northeast quadrant.

The construction phasing of the project is partially dependent on when the new healthcare facilities will be built, which will allow for the phased demolition of the remaining ageing healthcare facilities to make way for more redevelopment. This includes the relocation of existing complex care residents.

Most of the affordable homes will be built within the first and second phases, and the remainder in the last phase.

The public amenities package for the site remains the same, including the 15,000 sq ft childcare facility for up to 69 kids, and a one-acre urban farm and 2.5-acre public park centrally located in the core of the redevelopment.

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

2022 revisions showing the public space plan for Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

The original 2017 agreement with the city also included a commitment by Onni Group to provide $20 million towards the construction of a possible additional Canada Line subway station at the major gateway public plaza in the northeast quadrant. In addition to the financial contribution, the developer will also provide space at the plaza for the station entrance building, strategically located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Cambie Street and West 57th Avenue.

“The most significant commercial entry into the site is from the northeast corner, at the junction of 57th Avenue and the Cambie Corridor. From the proposed transit station, through to retail shops and patios, users will have a direct physical and visual linkage to Pearson Plaza and the City Park at the centre of the site,” reads the application.

“The arrival plaza will be a dynamic open space with a unique palette of materials and furnishing, along with a potential public art piece, to create a unique and unforgettable introduction into the site. Retail and commercial activity, along with the constant buzz of commuters, will create a highly activated and bustling space. Opportunities for busking and public performances will be considered.”

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood, with the gateway public plaza depicted, showing the station entrance building for SkyTrain Canada Line’s future 57th Avenue Station. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

While the Canada Line’s underground tunnel at West 57th Avenue is designed to accommodate a future station, there are immense cost and engineering challenges that cast doubt on the feasibility of realizing this station.

A 2016 letter from TransLink staff to City of Vancouver staff reads: “Constructing a new below grade station on operable tracks is unprecedented and presents significant engineering challenges that increase the complexity of station construction.”

In the letter, the public transit authority stated early estimates of the construction cost for 57th Avenue Station hover at $90 million, based on 2014 conditions, and the engineering complexities of building on an active busy subway line may require a construction timeline of at least 10 years.

Overall, the new neighbourhood is generally car light on the surface, with few roads for vehicles, and a network of pedestrian pathways linking all areas of the neighbourhood. Underground levels in the buildings will contain 4,487 vehicle parking stalls, and 6,154 secured bike parking spaces.

Onni Group retained IBI Group as the architectural design firm for the revised master plan.

Pearson Dogwood is one of five neighbourhood-sized redevelopments on the Cambie Street Corridor, including Langara Gardens immediately to the north, as well as Oakridge Centre, TransLink’s former Oak Street bus depot, and the Heather Lands (former RCMP BC headquarters).

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Site of Pearson Dogwood on the Cambie Street Corridor in Vancouver. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Perspective of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood from West 59th Avenue (south). (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Perspective of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood from West 57th Avenue (north). (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Phasing for Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

pearson dogwood vancouver onni group 2022

Artistic rendering of the 2022 revisions to Pearson Dogwood. (IBI Group/Onni Group)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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