Vancouver envisions new job space density along 2nd Avenue in Mount Pleasant

Nov 20 2020, 4:02 pm

Greater densities are being considered for the south side of 2nd Avenue within Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant district, over an area of five city blocks between Yukon Street to the west and Quebec Street to the east.

Under the recently approved emerging directions of the city’s Employment Lands and Economy Review, city staff are recommending the doubling of the existing permitted density, which would better align with the building heights and density of the recent redevelopments along the north side of 2nd Avenue.

This translates to an increase from the existing allowable floor space ratio (FSR) density of a total floor area that is three times the size of the lot to six times the size of the lot. Currently, the south side is primarily occupied by one- and two-storey commercial and light industrial buildings.

However, the extra density cannot be used for residential; only employment space is permitted, aligning with the Mount Pleasant Industrial Area (MPIA) policy, which is a designated industrial area by Metro Vancouver Regional District.

2nd avenue crowe street vancouver mount pleasant

Proposed employment densification changes along the south side of 2nd Avenue between Yukon Street and Quebec Street within Mount Pleasant. (City of Vancouver)

2nd avenue crowe street vancouver mount pleasant

Proposed employment densification changes along the south side of 2nd Avenue between Yukon Street and Quebec Street within Mount Pleasant. This illustration shows changes in total floor area density, not height. (City of Vancouver)

The proposed changes mandate at least 2.0 FSR — twice the current industrial density permitted — be dedicated to industrial uses such as production, distribution, and repair. These uses are typically located on the ground level, and minimal retail space is permitted.

The remaining density above this industrial space can be used as office space.

Building heights up to about 153 ft will be permitted to reflect the form and scale of Southeast False Creek across the street to the north and balance the 2nd Avenue streetscape. But buildings setbacks above four storeys will be required to ensure that new higher buildings are sculpted to lower buildings.

City staff estimate 32 individual lots along the south side could be consolidated into about nine to 10 rezoning projects.

The policy shift for this area could result in 1.07 million sq. ft. of new employment space compared to the existing buildings, representing 685,000 sq. ft. of additional job space above what is permitted under existing zoning.

The combined new light industrial and office space could create employment for over 3,500 additional people.

2nd avenue crowe street vancouver mount pleasant

View of 2nd Avenue looking west from Crowe Street. (Google Maps)

2nd avenue crowe street vancouver mount pleasant

Proposed employment densification changes along the south side of 2nd Avenue between Yukon Street and Quebec Street within Mount Pleasant. (City of Vancouver)

Currently, there are 24 development permit applications being reviewed for the MPIA — framed by 2nd Avenue to the north, Cambie Street to the west, Broadway to the south, and Main Street to the east. These proposals total 1.3 million sq. ft. of new light industrial, high-tech, office, and retail spaces.

Another proposed change is the permission of the addition of “health care office” uses within this Mount Pleasant area, which is becoming an attractive location for medical offices due to its relative mid-point between Vancouver General Hospital and the future new St. Paul’s Hospital campus south of Chinatown.

Potential further changes to the area will be outlined by the city’s upcoming draft Broadway Plan.

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