Call for development proposals for old Salvation Army building at Hastings and Gore

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      The owner of 301 East Hastings is accepting development proposals for the prominent but dilapidated building that stands on that corner in the Downtown Eastside.

      For many years, the location was used by the Salvation Army to provide services to low-income people. Today, it’s owned by Vancouver Coastal Health but sits vacant.

       The building at the corner of Hastings and Gore is prominent for its concrete façade and is listed in the city’s heritage register with a “C” designation, meaning it is recognized as contributing to the “historic character of an area or streetscape”. With heritage C status, it can still be redeveloped and even demolished, though either option would require the city’s official approval.

      According to a request for proposals posted online, any potential developer interested in the site will have to be willing to work with B.C. Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health.

      “The Proponent’s primary role will be to create various conceptual plans and a future development plan that is both compelling and practical,” it reads. “The resulting plan should embrace strong theories of environmental and social sustainability, quality of place and urban form and innovative uses of the site.”

      In addition to having to work with the building’s non-profit owners and operators, the developer will also have to redesign the site under strict requirements outlined in the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan (LAP). For the Oppenheimer District, which covers 301 East Hastings, the LAP states a building's height cannot exceed 98 feet (or 120 for a corner site), and that it must consist entirely of rental units.

      Any new development within Oppenheimer must also include a substantial social housing component of no less than 60 percent of the building’s units and covering a minimum of 40 percent of the buildings total square feet. Furthermore, of that 60 percent social housing units, one third should rent at the welfare rate of $375 a month, one third at a rate not exceeding the area’s housing-income limit ($912 for a bachelor suite in Oppenheimer), and one third in line with “affordable market rents” ($846 for East Hastings ).

      B.C. Housing is accepting architectural proposal for the site until January 29, 2016.

      The intersection adjacent to 301 East Hastings is undergoing several years of significant changes.

      Services offered by First United Church at 320 East Hastings Street will have to relocate while the site undergoes a major redevelopment beginning in 2019.
      Google Street View

      Yesterday (January 25), the Straight reported that the address on the southeast corner, First United Church at 320 East Hastings, has planned a lengthy closure to allow for a “major” redevelopment.

      The intersection’s northwest corner, a B.C. Housing office with residential units upstairs, is also presently covered by scaffolding.

      Finally, a number of commercial buildings on the southwest corner are slated for demolition to make way for a 12-story tower of rental units to be developed by Wall Financial Corp.

      The corner of East Hastings Street and Gore Avenue is presently occupied by a string of single-story retail outlets that will likely soon be replaced by a 12-story mixed-use tower.
      Travis Lupick