Council to vote on controversial tower with massive social housing component
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver city council will vote on a re-zoning application Wednesday and the result could alter the city’s skyline for years — and will decide the fate of 152 proposed units of social housing.
A proposed 55-storey tower, slated for 601 Beach Cr., would hug the edge of the Granville Bridge, becoming the city’s fourth tallest building, slightly taller than the Vancouver House development that looms over the bridge from the other side.
“These buildings are massive and they intrude — not just on views — but the feeling of being in the downtown, the feeling of openness, air, and livability,” said Susan Abs of the group Liveability First, which opposes the re-zoning application.
In addition to the impact on views from various places around the city, Abs, who lives in Fairview across False Creek from the proposed development, says she has concerns about increased density in the area immediately surrounding the site.
From a design perspective, the project is intended to compliment Vancouver House, creating a gateway to downtown for people as they cross the Granville Bridge.
“What we wanted to do in a broader scale was first to look at how we can be unique on our own because it is an individual project,” said Kandice Kwok, the project’s design architect. “But also how do we pair it with the Vancouver House because we need to work together to make this gateway.”
Kwok says her team went with a design featuring a more curvy silhouette to juxtapose Vancouver House’s angular, boxy shape.
The tower would feature 303 market condos — and based on comparables in the neighbourhood, some of those could sell for tens of millions of dollars.
The site, currently zoned for a maximum of 17 storeys, has long been slated for social housing and the proposal being voted on at city council includes 152 units paid for by the developer.
“The sites been sitting empty and there hasn’t really been any movement on it. It’s been sold several times,” said Peer-Daniel Krause, policy manager at the B/C/ Non-profit Housing Society. “We’re really looking forward for some movement on this file so that these 152 units of social housing that were promised to the city and its residents are going to get built.”
The public had a chance to weigh in two weeks ago and Wednesday night city council will debate the re-zoning application and then decide the future of that site.
The choice will be between altering the downtown skyline for years to come — or further delaying those 152 units of developer built social housing.