City of Vancouver considering taller buildings for area around Marine Drive Station

Nov 9 2020, 6:31 pm

Added density and height are potential new considerations for the properties in the immediate area of SkyTrain’s Marine Drive Station in South Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver has indicated it is in the process of drafting new guidelines for the area that is called Marine Landing, which falls under the Marpole Community Plan and Cambie Corridor Plan.

The changes in building form are intended to allow additional social housing and employment spaces.

The properties that could be affected are along Southwest Marine Drive between Heather Street to the west and Manitoba Street to the east for social housing, and along Cambie Street from Southwest Marine Drive to the north and the Fraser River to the south for employment intensification.

vancouver marine landing marpole community plan cambie corridor

The affected sites in Marine Landing being considered for added density and height for extra social housing and employment space. These sites also fall under the Marpole Community Plan and Cambie Corridor Plan. (City of Vancouver)

An analysis that will lead to the drafting of new guidelines will focus on public realm improvements, built form and urban design guidelines, public amenity needs such as childcare, and upgrades to utilities and transportation systems.

“The area analysis will reinforce the vision and aspirations for this growing community and help inform rezoning enquiries and applications as development sites come forward in the future,” reads a city backgrounder on the analysis.

“Specific heights, densities, housing types and tenures, and utilities/infrastructure upgrades will be determined through enhanced rezoning processes for each individual site, including public consultation.”

City staff are aiming to complete the area analysis and technical reviews this fall. This will lead to public consultation of the draft Marine Landing guidelines in early 2021, with city council considering the policy changes in Spring 2021.

This review of the area was triggered by Vancouver City Council’s decision in February 2020 that provided city staff with special permission to accept a rezoning application for the Ashley Mar Housing Cooperative at 8495 Cambie Street — immediately southwest of the transit hub.

8460 Ash Street 8495 Cambie Street Vancouver

Location of the Ashley-Mar Housing Co-op and rental housing development at 8495 Cambie Street, Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

Ashley-Mar Housing Co-op 8495 Cambie Street rental homes

Artistic rendering of the Ashley-Mar Housing Co-op and rental housing development at 8495 Cambie Street, Vancouver. (Perkins+Will Architects/Intracorp Homes)

This extra step by city council was required as Intracorp Homes’ application for tower heights reaching 14, 24, and 27 storeys exceeds the guidelines of the Marpole Community Plan, which generally allows the site to have up to 12 storeys on top of a four-storey podium. The community plan permits a “modest” height increase when social housing is included, but city staff state the proposed heights are “beyond what would be considered a ‘modest’ increase.”

The redevelopment calls for 582 new homes, including 54 non-market co-op units that replace the existing co-up units, 71 additional non-market housing units as an expansion of the co-op, and 457 secured market rental units.

At the time, city council also approved city staff’s recommendation to perform the broader analysis for the area, given that property owners on other sites in the immediate area are also likely to express future interest with seeking greater transit-oriented development height than what is currently permitted by the community plans.

gec marine gateway mc2 canada line skytrain tunnel portal cambie street

GEC Marine Gateway at the MC2 complex, and SkyTrain’s Canada Line tunnel portal on Cambie Street south of West 64th Avenue. (Google Maps)

Additionally, in October 2020, city council also supported the intensification of job space in key areas across Vancouver such as at Marine Landing.

Just beyond the area defined as Marine Landing, TransLink is planning to build a new bus operations and maintenance depot that will be dedicated to serve a future fleet of up to 300 electric-battery buses. This Marpole Transit Centre, located on a vacant industrial lot immediately west of the Canada Line bridge, is slated to be ready towards the middle of this decade.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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