No demolition for the Florida heritage building in Vancouver’s West End

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      The Florida is likely spared from the wrecking ball.

      City of Vancouver planners are supporting the heritage designation of the two-and-a-half storey apartment building in the West End.

      The conservation plan will allow the owner to preserve the early 20th century property, and construct an addition to the building.

      The Florida opened its doors to tenants in 1926.

      According to a report to city council by Anita Molaro, assistant planning director for urban design and heritage, the property is “one of the earliest apartment buildings in the West End to be designed in the emerging various modernist styles which grew in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s”.

      “A number of buildings of the same design as The Florida were constructed in the City during the same period,” Molaro wrote.

      Two of these buildings are at 1325 Pendrell Street, and 1546 West 12th Avenue.

      The Florida design can be seen in this building at 1546 West 12th Avenue.

      “Early modern features include the building’s original stucco cladding, projecting central bay, engraved arched front entryway with rounded brick steps, and a central roof parapet decorated with two recessed palm trees on either side of a circular “sun” cut-out (from which the original name ‘Florida’ was derived),” Molaro reported.

      Under the current zoning, the building could be demolished, and the land redeveloped with needing approval from council.

      The property owner can also have the option to consolidate the site with another property, and get to build bigger.

      Molaro recalled that the development application for The Florida was “put on hold by the owner when an adjoining site came up for redevelopment which provided an opportunity for a larger consolidated project”.

      However, “this option was not realized, and the owner now wishes to proceed with the original application which had been held at the owner’s request”, Molaro wrote.

      The development application seeks to “retain and restore the heritage building and to construct a new 2 storey addition at the rear of the building”.

      This will increase the rental units at The Florida from 16 to 28.

      A rendering of the development plan for The Florida.

      A fire struck the building in November 2017, and it has been vacant since that time.

      “The approval of the Heritage Revitalization Agreement and heritage designation of the exterior and structure of the Florida at 1170 Barclay Street will secure the building from demolition, and alterations which affect its heritage value,” Molaro wrote.

      The heritage designation for The Florida is subject to a public hearing, and is included in the agenda of council Tuesday (September 18).