Vision Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson held an October 25 party fundraiser, which was attended by numerous developers and architects. According to a Vancouver Sun report, the event at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel was organized by developer Ian Gillespie, president of Westbank Projects Corp., to coincide with the release of Vision’s economic plan.
The Vancouver Sun article neglected to mention an intriguing coincidence: a week earlier at a public hearing at Vancouver City Hall, the Vision-controlled council unanimously granted approval in principle to Westbank’s huge downtown mixed-use development, Telus Garden. The project will be built on the block bounded by Robson, Richards, West Georgia, and Seymour streets. It includes a 459-unit residential building, 56,617 square feet of retail space, and a 37,940-square-foot-expansion of the Telus office building on the site.
The rezoning application was filed by Henriquez Partners, which will design the project. In return for being allowed to develop the project—including a 45-storey residential tower—Westbank has offered a $10-million community-amenity contribution to the city. Most of that—$8 million—would fund a future city park at the corner of Richards and Smithe streets. Another $1 million would provide tenant upgrades to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation building at 700 Hamilton Street, and the remaining $1 million would fund open space, greenways, or bikeways in the general area of the development. None of the community-amenity contribution was allocated to childcare, heritage, or housing.
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