City council approves plan for 52-story tower at north end of Granville Street Bridge

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      Yesterday (October 24) Vancouver city council gave the go-ahead for a 52-story tower to be constructed at the north end of the Granville Street Bridge.

      The building will stand at the intersection of Howe Street and Beach Avenue. Upon completion it will be the fifth-tallest structure in the city.

      “The tower and base are a new interpretation of the local typology deemed ‘Vancouverism’,” reads a description of the project posted on the website of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the firm that’s designed the building.

      Bjarke Ingels Group

      According to the report that went before city council, the tower is part of a multi-building development by Westbank Projects that will occupy addresses on Howe, Granville, and Pacific streets.

      The plans provide for the construction of three mixed-use buildings consisting of 505 condominium units plus commercial, retail, and office space.

      The proposal also includes stipulations requiring public art and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that will connect Granville Street to the sections of Pacific Street and Beach Avenue that run at a lower elevation.

      Bjarke Ingels Group

      The architectural firm’s website provides further details about what’s envisioned for the skyscraper and adjacent developments.

      “At its base, a 30m setback from the highway dictates a triangular footprint on the ground. But as it ascends in elevation, the tower clears the zone of noise and visual pollution,” reads a description of the tower. “It then exploits the opportunity to overcome the setback and reclaims the valuable area. In doing so, it provides an icon for the city’s skyline and a generous public space at its base.”

      On the shorter buildings, BIG’s website states:

      “Beach and Howe podium is a mixed-use urban village. These three triangular complexes are composed of intimately-scaled spaces for working, shopping and leisure which face onto public plazas and pathways. The additional public spaces adds to the existing streets, giving the neighborhood a variety of open and covered outdoor spaces in various scales, ample for a variety of use and events.”

      Bjarke Ingels Group
      Bjarke Ingels Group

      On October 2, the Straight reported on Concord Pacific’s plans to build eight high-rise towers in the area between B.C. Place and the north end of the Cambie Street Bridge. That development—dubbed False Creek Central—will add 1,300 condominiums to Vancouver’s downtown core.

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      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:13pm

      Thank God. Some architecture for this city. Lucky concord pacific doesn't own it or we'd get yet another boring glass box.

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      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:04pm

      What about all the extra vehicles? Can the roads handle it? I forgot, we have SkyTrain!

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      Oct 26, 2013 at 10:45pm

      This "approval" was done beforehand by the people who run Vision, the majority on Council simply vote how their masters tell them to vote. No doubt the developer can cut back on parking spaces with the appropriate payments to the city & ruling party, which will be touted as "green." The saddest thing is that Vision has done a fantastic job of co-opting COPE into becoming the social justice conscience of a pro-developer party.

      Unfortunately Vision will likely retain control of the Council and Parks Board after the next election and after that few parts of the city will remain unblemished by development. Four years from now we will have lost Langara Golf Course, arterial roads will be lined with 4 story buildings but local shopping areas, like Fraser from 40th south to 51st, will be lined with buildings of 6 floors...or more depending upon the developer's status as a Vision donor.

      Under Vision we have the most developer friendly government since Tom Campbell & the NPA were turfed in the early 70's. They have an extensive list of donors who happen to be developers, or their associates, who appreciate what Vision has done for them and is promising to do in the future. Vision has even managed to make outright gifts to developers appear to be motivated by other "concerns," like the case with the redevelopment of the Waldorf block.

      The developers, regular donors to Vision, had no intention of tearing down the old hotel. Instead they had planned on getting heritage bonuses for saving the property, but they had to get it on the list. They couldn't propose the idea themselves as it would be obviously self-serving, but Vision knew they could generate an outcry by implying the hotel was threatened.

      Magically opposition to the supposed plan to level the Waldorf appeared and on cue the Mayor himself strode forward to promise he would "save the Waldorf" and "stand up" to developers. When I saw "his honour" on the news making his announcement I laughed out loud: I had already seen a site plan that included keeping the old hotel weeks before. The entire process was a wonderful production from Vision and their bloated PR department while the media outlets lined up for their respective cups of flavour-aid.

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      Oct 27, 2013 at 6:19am

      Affordable housing ? Of course not...

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      Oct 27, 2013 at 8:37am

      Finally this building will make up for the orca mural that I miss so dearly after they tore down the Cecil... that and the strippers.

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      "Mixed-use urban village…"

      Oct 27, 2013 at 9:22am

      The rhetoric suggests diversity, intimacy, a happy density, the reality is that we'll have a further intensification of the alienating vertical suburban sprawl that "Vancouverism" is codeword for. This is corporatism pure and simple, characterless (and I'm not commenting on whatever 'aesthetic value' may be incorporated in the building's design). We know what will be at the street level, Choices, some bland 'alternative bars' to accommodate all the 'diversity' of the population: 28 to 44 year old singles -- worker bees of various ethnic groups, working 48+ hours a week to pay for their sleep cubicle up on the 41st floor.

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      True Canadian

      Oct 27, 2013 at 10:52am

      How will this building help the poor? Will this building include a homeless shelter? Will CBC be pre-wired to every apartment unit? So many questions.

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      Oct 27, 2013 at 7:01pm

      I have no love of developers and their money, but in response to G--if all the major avenues have 6 story buildings on them, what's wrong with that? We don't need back woods cardboard bungalows, what we do need is the architecture of 19th century Paris with prices of Vancouver from 40 years ago. Not very realistic I know, but we can keep hoping!

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