City of Vancouver to Abandon CAC Negotiations on Commercial and Low-Density Rental Rezonings

Somewhat hidden behind the news of the Housing Vancouver Strategy announcement, is a new policy proposal for CACs for commercial and rental-only residential developments. The overall plan proposed in the policy report entitled “CAC Policy Update: Simplifying CACs on New Rental Housing and Commercial Development” is to cease negotiating CACs on commercial rezonings and some rental rezonings.

The City’s proposal is intended to “simplify the City’s development contribution system which includes DCLs, CACs, density bonusing and other mechanisms. The proposed changes will provide greater clarity and certainty on development contributions for rezoning applicants. The recommended changes will streamline the CAC process for both secured market rental and commercial-only rezoning applications to enable a majority of these project types to be brought to market sooner.”

The recommendations in the proposed policy include the following:

Recommendation A – Exempt routine, lower density secured market rental rezoning applications from CACs

The City would exempt rental applications from CAC negotiations where the density proposed is low, or consistent with area zoning. The table below shows where CACs would be exempt for rental based on height guidelines:

Recommendation B – Remove CAC negotiation on commercial-only rezoning 

The City intends on removing the CAC negotiation process (which can prolong the application timeline significantly) for commercial applications in the Downtown, Metro Core, Grandview Employment Area and South Vancouver Industrial Lands. This would not apply for proposed stratified commercial space.

The City will also introduce commercial linkage targets, which are intended to show the correlation between additional commercial space and workforce related childcare spaces and affordable housing. The commecial linkage targets will be fixed $/SF amounts calculated on the net additional density for commercial rezonings in the Downtown and Metro Core areas. 

The interim Commercial Linkage Targets will be as follows:As industry consultation has already occurred for these items, they could take effect almost immediately after Council adoption.

A full copy of the policy report can be viewed here:

New Look for 1133 Melville Street Proposal

Oxford Properties has changed the design plan for their 1133 Melville Street office building project, originally proposed for rezoning back in July 2015. The previous design was not supported at the Urban Design Panel in 2015, and has since been reworked with a smaller, but taller building.

The new design by James Cheng, features a much more interesting building massing. The revision includes stacked box design with the third box twisted from the street grid. There is a slight increase in height from 33 to 34-storeys. Details include:

  • a building height of 550 ft.
  • a total floor area of 555,047 SF
  • a total density of 18.20 FSR (down from 22.46 FSR)
  • four floorplate sizes, multiple decks including a rooftop deck
  • floor to ceiling windows
  • six levels of underground parking (231 vehicle spaces and 221 bicycle spaces)

1133 Melville_71133 Melville_8 1133 Melville_9The previous rezoning application can be viewed here:

Rezoning Plans Unveiled for Catholic Charities Site

Amacon‘s formal rezoning application has been submitted to the City of Vancouver for a 24,289  SF land assembly at Robson between Cambie and Beatty that includes the Catholic Charities Men’s Hostel and the commercial building at 118 Robson Street (home to the bar/restaurant now known as ‘Back Forty’).

The plan calls for rezoning from DD to CD-1 to redevelop the site with a 29-storey mixed-use development and 6-storey podium, including:

  • Retention and restoration of the existing Northern Electric Building facade;
  • Hotel, commercial and residential uses, including 131 residential units;
  • 42 one-bedroom units, 71 two-bedrooms and 18 three-bedrooms;
  • Five levels of underground parking
  • A total density of 10.08 FSR; and
  • A building height of 290 ft.

150 Robson150 Robson_1 150 Robson_2The application describes the design rationale:

“The existing peripheral structure and complete envelope of the building will be preserved
and restored to strict heritage conservation guidelines outlined in the conservation plan. The interior of the building, which has little heritage value left, will be replaced with new construction: hotel rooms on the second and third floors; and hotel restaurant and hotel coffee shop on the ground floor, along Robson Street.”

New shelter space will be provided for the existing Catholic Charities shelter, as part of the agreement between the developer and Catholic Charities. This rezoning application is being considered under the Rezoning Policy for the Central Business District (CBD) and CBD Shoulder.

The architect for the project is GBL Architecture.

Bosa Hires KPF to Redesign 320 Granville Office Project

A new design has been presented for a previously approved office tower on the site of the current multi-level parkade at Granville and Cordova.

The site was previously approved in 2014 for a 32-storey, 380,000 SF office tower, but was subsequently sold by Greg Kerfoot to Bosa Development in July 2016.

The new design, by Kohn Pedersen Fox and Chris Dikeakos is a more interesting curved building form. The project now requires permission of the development permit board in order to proceed.

320 Granville_3 320 Granville_4 320 Granville_2 320 Granville_1Since the project was originally proposed, this block has seen lots of activity, with Morguard proposing a 25-storey office tower at the corner of Hastings and Seymour, and more recently, a 28-storey tower proposed for the mid-block site on Hastings just East of Granville.

If all three projects proceed, this represents a total of 760,000 SF of new office space in this block.

Rezoning Plans Unveiled for Downtown Canada Post

Bentall Kennedy has submitted their formal application for rezoning of the Downtown Canada Post site. The 2.98 acre site comprises a full city block at 349 West Georgia Street formerly occupied by Canada Post and bought by bcIMC in 2013 for $159 Million.

The proposed redevelopment is interesting in that it contemplates retaining the existing Post Office building and adding two residential towers and one office tower above with parking uses above grade in the podium.

Details include:

  • Retention of heritage building and its conversion into a seven-storey podium containing retail along all street frontages, rental housing, office, and parking
  • Adding three towers above podium, including 17 storeys of office, and 18 and 20 storeys of residential
  • 427 rental apartments, 372 condo units
  • 512,000 SF of office space
  • 274,000 SF of retail space
  • An overall density of 12.9 FSR
  • Tower heights of 150 – 222 feet
  • Six levels of parking with 1,474 parking spaces & 1,168 bicycle spaces
  • A 49-space childcare facility

The site’s primary constraint is the view cones which limit the building heights.

349-w-georgia 349-w-georgia_1 349-w-georgia_2 349-w-georgia_3 349-w-georgia_4


Detailed Plans for Port Living’s Coal Harbour Site Revealed

Port Living has applied to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop a Coal Harbour site at 1255 West Pender Street that they acquired in 2014.

The 8,250 SF site has had various development plans for close to 10 years. The most recent iteration included a 14-storey building consisting of 25 condo units and 3,500 SF of office space with a total density of 5.7 FSR. That project, called “The Views” was launched in 2013 for pre-sales but never proceeded and the site was subsequently sold.

The site is unique not only due to its small size, but its adjacency to the nearby Coal Harbour Park, Evergreen Building and neighbouring Palladio condo building. Preserving existing views and privacy from adjacent buildings results in a unique building massing.

The revised plan, by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, calls for a 19-storey mixed use building that pays homage to the Evergreen Building on the lower portion and incorporates a unique mass timber structure above. Plans include the following:

  • 20 residential units (incl. 8 two-bedrooms, ten 3-bedrooms and 8 four-bedrooms)
  • Unit sizes of 1,258 SF to 3,657 SF
  • One unit per floor on tower floors
  • Wood composite construction above concrete podium
  • Retail on the ground floor;
  • Building height of approximately 224 feet
  • Total floor area of 54,503 SF;
  • Total Density of 6.6 FSR
  • 3 levels of underground parking accessed from West Hastings St.

1255 West Pender_101255 West Pender_4

1255 West Pender_5

1255 West Pender_8

North Elevation

1255 West Pender_9

East Elevation

1255 West Pender_6Under the site’s existing DD zoning, the application is “conditional” so it may be permitted; however, it requires the decision of the Development Permit Board. The local architect for the project is Francl Architecture.

Details on the development application can be found here:

SOLD: 1166 West Pender Street, Vancouver

I am pleased to announce the sale of 1166 West Pender Street, a 140,000 SF office building located in Downtown Vancouver.  This off-market transaction closed earlier this month.

1166 W Pender_Sold

The 15-storey building was built in the early 1970’s and is located on an 18,700 SF site that may permit a higher density and height in the future.

Transaction details:

Buyer: Reliance Properties

Seller: Triovest Realty Advisors, on behalf of Greystone

Please contact me for further information regarding this sale.