The site of British Columbia's oldest social housing complex could soon be home to thousands of families living in a variety of buildings, including residential towers.

Plans for Little Mountain, a 15-acre site located on South Main Street next to Queen Elizabeth Park, were presented to the public at an open house Saturday.

Architect James Cheng has spent 18 months trying to merge the community's demand for low-rise buildings with the developer's need for enough density to offset the cost of the project's social housing component.

"We don't think the low density is going to work because it doesn't pay for enough of the amenities," Cheng told CTV News. "Something I think in between, we hope, is where we're going to end up."

Most of the 224 units of the original complex were demolished years ago in the face of public outcry -- and it appears the replacement project may soon be subject to similar controversy.

Holborn Properties currently plans to include 234 units of social housing, but its goal of about 2,000 total units would also require towers that would dramatically transform the neighbourhood.

Many neighbourhood residents were cool to the idea on Saturday, including one man who told CTV News the area "is not Yaletown or Coal Harbour."

But Ingrid Steenhuisen, who is among a handful of families who remain at the original Little Mountain site, is more concerned that the social housing promise is kept, so that her old neighbours may be reunited.

"We were like a family," Steenhuisen said. "I'm always remaining hopeful and cautiously optimistic. I feel that's the only way to be able to proceed with this."

The current proposal includes a village square with shops, art and a childcare centre.

The next public open house is being held Tuesday, July 12 at the Riley Park Community Centre from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Penny Daflos