New Vancouver condo tower on Robson Street will have separate lobby for social housing

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      Separate entrances for condo and social housing residents are not uncommon in Vancouver.

      Last July, city council approved a rezoning for a development that has this segregated arrangement.

      It was a 30-storey high rise in the West End. Condo residents have their lobby on Burnaby Street, and people in social housing have to access their homes on Thurlow Street.

      Another similar development is coming up, this time on the northeast corner of Robson and Cardero streets.

      It’s 28-storey tower that will have 153 condo and 24 social housing units.

      The project at 1555 Robson Street by VKJ (Cardero) Investment LP will replace a two-storey commercial building.

      The new development will include commercial and offices uses on the ground floor, whose entrances will be on Robson Street.

      According to the design rationale submitted by the project’s consultant IBI Group as part of the development application, the “residential lobbies” will be located on Cardero Street.

      Moreover, “entrances for each component of this development will be designed to be unique and easy to identify”.

      The proposed development at 1555 Robson Street is included in the agenda Wednesday (October 31) of the City of Vancouver’s Urban Design Panel.

      Separate entrances for social housing are often referred to as “poor doors”.

      While it’s commonplace, the practice of having split entrances has been criticized.

      Going back to the 30-storey tower at 1068-1080 Burnaby Street and 1318 Thurlow Street that was approved by city council last July, Karen Hoese, acting assistant director for downtown of the city’s planning, urban design and sustainability department, wrote a report about the development.

      Hoese noted that the separate entrances for market and social housing units caused uneasiness among some members of the public.

      “There was concern that this would result in social isolation and stigmatization of the residents in the social housing units,” Hoese noted.

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