Wall Financial 60-storey tower proposal at Nelson & Thurlow: Open house Oct 8 (Thursday)

Big tower developments are now coming fast and furious in the West End. The Wall Financial Corporation website now has a public invitation to an open house, shown below, for Thursday, October 8, 2015. West Enders may wish to go and learn how the West End Community Plan has enabled this type of development, and some of the implications. 1059+1075 Nelson Street tower open house invite 8-Oct-2015

(Note that the map appears to have North at the bottom.) Text of the invitation is copied below.

1059 + 1075 Nelson Street
Please Join Us At Our Open House
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 5–8 pm
Wall Centre Sheraton, Junior Ballroom
1001 Hornby St. North Tower, 3rd Floor

The Wall Group invites you to a public open house to share a proposal for the redevelopment of 1059 + 1075 Nelson Street.

We would like to introduce you to our preliminary redevelopment vision — which will create more affordable housing for the West End, together with home ownership opportunities. We invite you to be part of this dialogue about community building, and hear how our proposal meets the goals of the West End Community Plan and other relevant City policies.

For more information, please contact:
Bob Ransford
ransford@counterpoint.ca | 1-(866) 824-8337.


Additional info.

The contact person for the open house is regular Vancouver Sun columnist Bob Ransford, who often writes on housing and development topics.

This tower was first leaked in a VanCityBuzz article in July 2015.

60-storey pixelated skyscraper proposed for downtown Vancouver
By Kenneth Chan, 7-Jul-2015

This Wall Financial Tower is just up Nelson street from the proposed 56-storey tower by First Baptist Church, Westbank, and Bing Thom Architects.

Downtown Vancouver church plans to build 56 storey highrise
(By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 17-Sept-2015)

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23 storey tower proposal at 1668 Davie (1225 Cardero) – west of London Drugs (DE419443) to be reviewed by Urban Design Panel (Wed, Oct 7)

Location of existing buildings, parking lot, and Larco's proposed 23-storey tower

Location of existing buildings, parking lot, and Larco’s proposed 23-storey tower

(Updated) West Enders may wish to take note of this proposal for a 23-storey tower, 1668 Davie Street (1225 Cardero), beside a London Drugs store in Vancouver’s West End. The proponent is Larco Investments (no website – 331750 BC Ltd.) the developer behind the Arbutus Mall expansion in Vancouver and Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver. The tower is proposed at the west end of the site containing the existing “Regency Park” tower and the London Drugs store.

As we mention below, the proposal can be moved very quickly through the approval process with limited public influence on the outcome, as a result of the West End Community Plan adopted in 2013. Other neighbourhoods of Vancouver should take note of what the City’s community planning process has done to public involvement in decisions.

London Drugs, Davie Street. Photo courtesy CityHallWatch

Tower is to go beside London Drugs, Davie Street. Photo courtesy CityHallWatch

City Council’s advisory panel on urban design will be reviewing this proposal on Wednesday, October 7, where the public may attend but only as observers. Other events are listed below.

Urban Design Panel, October 7, 2015 (Wednesday), starting 4 pm
Place: Town Hall Meeting Room, Vancouver City Hall. Agenda is here.

An Open House is scheduled from 6:00 to 8:45 pm on October 20 (Tuesday), at the Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street — with applicant team and City staff present.

City’s Description: To construct a 23-storey residential tower containing a total of 158 1668 Davie, 1225 Cardero - location of proposed 23-storey towersecured market rental units . The proposal includes the demolition of the existing parking garage immediately below the surface lot while retaining the existing London Drugs and the parking immediately below it. Zoning: C-5A. Application Status: Complete Development Application. Review: First. Architect: DA Architects (Al Johnson). Staff: Colin King.

Regency Park tower now stands at Davie & Cardero. Proposal is to put a second tower on the site. Photo: CityHallWatch

Regency Park tower now stands at Davie & Cardero. Proposal is to put a second tower on the site. Photo: CityHallWatch

The proposal includes the following:

  • 158 secured market rental residential units (this probably means the Rental 100 incentive program)
  • Retail on ground floor
  • Building height  approx. 63 meters or 206 feet
  • Total floor area 11,510 square meters or 123,890 square feet
  • 95 underground parking spaces accessed from lane

The City’s Development Applications web page provides links to documents including design rationale, statistics, site information, side views, 3D model views, shadow/private view analysis, and more. (Save a copy if you are concerned about the project — these files will eventually be removed from the City website.) The link is here: http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/devapps/1668davie/index.htm (Note that floor plans of the building are not posted so it can be difficult to understand the internal layout of the proposal.)

ISSUES: A more complete analysis is needed, but some here are some things residents may find concern them. Tower separation (much less than intended by the previous West End development guidelines). High density on the developed portion of the site – a floor space ratio of approximately 10.4. Height of tower.Blocking of views. Shadowing. Lack of review by City CouncilQuestionable implementation of the density provisions in the West End Community plan– with two towers being proposed on this one site, and the density being “averaged” to permit the proposed tower to be larger than it otherwise could be.  Combined impacts of multiple developments — just to name two close by: towers proposed for Safeway site across street (Davie/Cardero), and the recently approved tower at the north-east corner of Davie and Bidwell Street (Mac’s/Bosleys).  Parking in the project is very difficult to comprehend.  Existing parking beneath London Drugs serves the existing “Regency Park” tower, as well as the London Drugs store.  With demolition of some of the existing parking, and construction of new parking, a total of 143 parking spaces are proposed for the approximately 180 existing units in the Regency Park tower and the proposed 158 units in the new building – a total of 338 dwelling units and a large drugstore sharing 143 parking spaces.  Given existing parking challenges in the West End, it will be important to confirm that the users of the site will have sufficient parking on this site.

PROVIDE INPUT: For this project if you have a comment you can use the City’s online feedback form, attend the open house, contact the project facilitator (wendy.lebreton@vancouver.ca , 604.871.6796), “observe” the UDP meeting, and write to or attend the DPB. Or you may wish to share comments or concerns with Council directly at this link:  contact Mayor and Council. Continue reading

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West End Food Festival 2015 – A celebration of food – September 17 – 22 (Thurs – Tues)

West End Food Fest 2015 title page The West End Food Festival 2015 has many must-see, must-do events! It runs September 17 to 22 (Thursday through Tuesday). It is presented by Gordon Neighbourhood House and Vancity, and supported by many partners.

The Festival website with calendar, event details, and registration information: https://westendfoodfestival.wordpress.com/.

Brochure in PDF: WE Food Fest brochure 19-22-Sep-2015

Below is a list of the events, at various venues throughout the West End. Click on the official website for detailed descriptions, venues, and registration information.


10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Gardening with Mushrooms workshop

12:00 – 1:00 pm
Community Lunch

5:00 – 6:00 pm OR 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Fermentation Workshop

5:30 – 7:00 pm
Rainbow Soup Social
Want to meet other awesome people while making soup for a great cause?

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Craft Brew & Comfort Food
Sit down, relax, and enjoy an evening of great food and craft beer at the Whole Foods Market Robson patio. Continue reading

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First Baptist Church development (Burrard & Nelson, downtown): Open House Sept. 15 (Tues) 5-8 pm, with Westbank, Bing Thom. Plus 60-storey tower proposed on same block.

First Baptist Westbank Bing Thom property Vanmap 14-Sep-2015aSome major changes are in the works for the city block from the corner of Burrard and Nelson up to Thurlow Street, downtown Vancouver.

First Baptist Church (north-west corner of Burrard and Nelson, downtown Vancouver) along with Westbank and Bing Thom Architects, are holding a meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, to present their redevelopment proposal for 969 Burrard Street, and 1019, 1021, 1025, and 1045 Nelson Street. What is coming? This appears to be closely related to another proposal, for a 60 storey luxury condo tower at 1075 Nelson. Below is text of the invitation posted online on the church’s website, with separate photos images of what appears to be in the works for the adjacent site at 1075 Nelson.

Please Join Us
[Invitation from First Baptist Church]
First Baptist Church, along with its project team, is pleased to invite you to a Public Information Session for the historic property.

Open House Details
Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Time: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm (drop-in)
Place: First Baptist Church – Pinder Hall, 969 Burrard Street, Vancouver

First Baptist Church, with their partner Westbank, and Bing Thom Architects, intends to apply to rezone their property located at 969 Burrard Street, and 1019, 1021, 1025, and 1045 Nelson Street.

We welcome you to join us in a conversation about city and community building as we share our vision for this historic Church and its property. Our open house material will outline how our proposal aligns with the City’s West End Community Plan.

For more information, please contact:
Sophie Perndl, Brook Pooni Associates
t. 604.731.9053 x 114

If you cannot make it to the session, we invite you to visit www.heartforthecity.ca [First Baptist Church website] where open house material will be posted. Please submit your feedback via email to info@heartforthecity.ca before September 30, 2015.

This is not a City of Vancouver event. If a rezoning application is subsequently submitted to the City, there will be on official City-led public consultation process including a City-hosted open house with a detailed description of the application complete with a scale model.

Logos of First Baptist, Bing Thom Architects, Westbank


WEN notes that there have been prior hints that some development is in the works.  Images and related article about a proposed adjacent development at 1075 Nelson follow …

Image: IBI Group / Nick Milkovich Architects / Chris Doray Studio Inc.

Image: IBI Group / Nick Milkovich Architects / Chris Doray Studio Inc.

Image: IBI Group / Nick Milkovich Architects / Chris Doray Studio Inc.

Image: IBI Group / Nick Milkovich Architects / Chris Doray Studio Inc.


Here is a link to an online story with VanCityBuzz, but note that it relates to 1075 Nelson, which is just slightly west of the subject site referred to above.

60-storey pixelated skyscraper proposed for downtown Vancouver
(July 7, 2015, by Kenneth Chan, VanCityBuzz)

Excerpts: A new proposed development for downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood could provide the skyline with a pixelated touch.

A 60-storey residential building, dubbed ‘Nelson on the Park’ by project proponents, is planned for 1075 Nelson Street – just metres away from Nelson Park and a half-block’s distance from First Baptist Church. The proposal lies within the municipal government’s West End Community Plan’s 550 foot height limit, allowing the project to eclipse the height of the nearby One Wall Centre. Continue reading

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July 22 at City Council: New Davie Village plaza to be named in memory of Vancouver LGBT leader Jim Deva

Davie Village Public Space Improvements, June 2015 report coverVancouver City Council will hear from the public on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 regarding “Davie Village Public Space Improvements and Jim Deva’s Commemoration.”

Here is a link to the meeting agenda:


According to the design concept document, the plaza will include expanded patios, weather-protected seating and tables, additional movable seating, overhead strand lighting, new trees and plants, and a “Jim Deva Soapbox,” which the plans describe as a speaker’s corner kiosk.

Davie Village Plaza, Public Space Improvements and Jim Deva’s Commemoration
Staff report: http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150722/documents/ptec3.pdf

Georgia Straight article on the City’s conclusions regarding the Bute Street Plaza:


And Planning Department summary:


Article by MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert:

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Urban Design Panel (Wed, July 15) to review 22-storey tower application at 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street)

1188 Bidwell East Elevation, June 2015Please spread the word to any residents who might be interested. The Urban Design Panel will review the application for a 22-storey tower at 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street) starting at 7:15 pm on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The UDP is an advisory body to City Council. Important information often comes up at these meetings. The public is welcome to attend, but not to address the meeting.

Urban Design Panel meeting (starting 4 pm, but this item starts at 7:15 pm) Wednesday, 15-July-2015

Agenda item #4.

7:15 pm Address: 1188 Bidwell Street (1675 Davie Street)
DA: DE419087
Description: To construct a 22-storey mixed-use building. This proposal is for a total of 108 secured market rental dwelling units with three commercial retail units at grade.
Zoning: C-5A
Application Status: Complete Development Application
Review: First
Architect: DIALOG (Adrian Politano)
Staff: Sailen Black

WEN has described this project previously. A public open house was held on June 29. This UDP meeting is the next step. The final act will be a Development Permit Board decision slated for September 8, 2015. As this area was “pre-zoned” with the West End Community Plan many months ago, the public unfortunately has no opportunity to speak directly to elected officials at Vancouver City Council. (But nothing stops you from writing or speaking to them anyway.)

22-storey rental tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell & Davie (Reliance Properties): DPB meeting Sept 8 (Tues)

Open House Monday, June 29 for 22-storey tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell

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Public Hearing July 13 (Monday): REZONING of 1754-1772 Pendrell Street for 21-storey rental tower

1754 Pendrell model shown to UDP, April 2015

1754 Pendrell model shown to UDP, April 2015

(Epilogue: After about 18 speakers, this item was completed. City Council will hear responses from City staff and vote on this application during the next regular Council meeting, starting 9:30 am, on July 21, 2015.)

The fourth item on the agenda of the next Public Hearing is a major rezoning for a 21-storey rental tower at 1754-1722 Pendrell (just off Denman Street). This particular story goes back many years.

The proposal is by Westbank Projects Corp, with Henriquez Partners Architects.

WEN encourages anyone concerned about this rezoning to write or speak to City Council to share your opinions. (The City website above provides instructions.) Below is our short summary of information.

(Update: Please note that a News1130 story posted on July 12 has now been corrected. The title was “West End Neighbours saying ‘no’ to tower,” but WEN as an organization has not taken a position for or against this project. Our goal here is to encourage the community to be involved, and for City Council to listen. We encourage anyone with concerns to direct them to City Council — tell them whether you support or oppose, and why.)1754-1772 Pendrell mapbig


This is a revised rezoning application, under the new owner Westbank, to rezone the site from RM-5A (Multiple Dwelling) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District:

  • 21 storey tower, with a maximum height of 58 meters (190 ft) — versus current RM-5A outright height of 18.3 meters (about 6 storeys), and conditional height of 58 meters.
  • 171 rental units, including 43 studios, 51 One-Bedroom, 72 Two-Bedroom, and 3 Three-Bedroom units
  • A proposed density of 6.55 FSR — versus current zoned density of 2.20 FSR.

You can review some of the correspondence already submitted to the Public Hearing on the agenda page.

People opposed appear concerned about height, density, loss of views, shadows, and character of neighbourhood, among other things. Updated: One resident wrote us  that the Alexandra (Millennium project, 21 storeys, architect Henriquez, at Bidwell and Davie) took away a picturesque water and Maritime Museum beach view. The Lauren “block of concrete” (Westbank project, 22 storeys, architect Henriquez, at Nelson and Comox) took away light and views of the distance. This project at 1754 Pendrell will take away the view of the centre of English Bay (fireworks). All of these things the person cherished and were part of the reason to live there, but are being steadily eroded. We also received a comment about design errors by Henriquez at the Lauren, hoping they will not be repeated here (see bottom).

People in favour appear to like new buildings, the mix of units, the 26 units at rent 20% below market price, “secure market rental,” new design, car share, landscaping, public art, and potential funding (Gordon Neighbourhood House hopes to get a share of the $250,000 Community Amenity Contribution).  (There appears to have been some organized effort to solicit “support” letters.)

WEN has provided additional information here (history, chronology) and here (open house) and here (Urban Design Panel).

Beyond the specifics of this application, it is interesting to notice some major milestones in its evolution.

1754-1772 Pendrell yellow sign, in 2010

1754-1772 Pendrell yellow sign, in 2010

2008: An application for a 19-storey condo tower to replace a three-story walkup and coach house jolted the community awake. Outrage brought about 500 people turning out at a town hall meeting at the Coast Plaza Hotel, organized by the West End Residents Association. With the 2008 civic election in mind,  Councillor Tim Stevenson (with Vision Vancouver, then in minority on Council), told the audience, “What it’s going to take is all of us together, all of us together, letting [then mayor] Sam Sullivan and the NPA know that we’re not going any further down the road that they’ve been going and that developers are not going to make the West End into another Yaletown.”

(Based on promises like these, Vision Vancouver gained its first majority on Vancouver City Council in 2011. Co-host WERA director Jasper later later left WERA when elected with Vision Vancouver for Park Board Commissioner in 2011. WERA president ran with Vision in the 2014 election, but did not get elected. WERA closed its doors in 2015.) Continue reading

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Explained (Public Hearing July 13): Text Amendments to Zoning and Development By-law, RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, RM-5C and RM-5D Districts Schedules, etc.

West End Residential Neighbourhoods, Fig 1The Public Hearing at Vancouver City Hall starting 6 pm on Monday, July 13, 2015, includes three items affecting the West End. The title of the first would make anyone’s head spin:

TEXT AMENDMENT: Miscellaneous Text Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law, RM-5, RM-5A, RM-5B, RM-5C and RM-5D Districts Schedules, Downtown Official Development Plan, and various CD-1 By-laws

We asked an expert on zoning for an explanation, and she was unable to do so — links to some of the relevant documents did not even connect on the City website. So a citizen asked the City’s West End planning team for a brief explanation, in layperson’s terms, of the gist of these bylaw changes. “What are the most important points required for a person to understand what is being done here? What are the implications for the West End neighbourhood and residents? Further below is the reply, from Hale Jones-Cox, Planner, Downtown Division.

That answer seems to answer the questions without fully answering them. Sure, the City wants to include an updated map, but the underlying story might interest residents. The new RM-5D zoning on both sides of Davie Street goes from Jervis to Cardero, and includes the 19-storey Intracorp tower at 1177 Jervis (1171 Jervis) (which attracted attention for having separate doors for renters and owners, Public Hearing March 24). So we looked deeper. On the City’s Zoning & Development Bylaw 3575 page we can see RM-5D. which is one of the districts that permits greater densities than RM-5, and RM-5D in particular supports the development of social housing. Anyone interested, you are welcome to dig deeper.


The amendments were administrative corrections to the guidelines that were missed at the time that the zoning changes associated with the West End Plan were enacted. These housekeeping fixes have no impact on policy for the West End.

Continue reading

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Westbank/Peterson “pre-application” open house for 1550 Alberni Street: Monday, June 29, 5 pm

1500 Alberni Vanmap locationThe City of Vancouver has e-mailed out notices about the following:

Westbank/Peterson “pre-application” open house for 1550 Alberni Street
Monday, June 29, 2015
5 to 8 pm (drop-in format)
Shangri-La Hotel  (Conway Room, 6th floor, 1128 West Georgia Street)

This is a developer-hosted pre-application open house to review preliminary plans and share your feedback. More information: Sophie Perndl, Brook Pooni Associates, at sperndl@brookpooni.com.

To our knowledge, no other information is officially available about the specific plans for this site, but it appears the new West End Community Plan adopted in 2013 permits 500 foot heights here now, which could mean something like fifty storeys. The proponents are familiar names in the City’s planning department — Westbank Projects Corp and Peterson Investment Group.

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Open House Monday, June 29 for 22-storey tower proposed at 1188 Bidwell

1188 Bidwell West Elevation, June 2015As we have reported, a 22-storey rental tower is proposed at 1188 Bidwell & Davie (Reliance Properties). The City describes it as a mixed-use multi-family secured market rental residential building. As the next step, the City staff and applicant team are holding an open house, with display panels as follows:

Open House for 22-storey tower at 1188 Bidwell (DE419087)
Monday, June 29, 2015
5 to 8 pm (drop-in format)
Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson Street

As we have mentioned, it is WEN’s understanding that there will be no public hearing for this application and no review by City Council.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Your chances to speak directly to City Council regarding the future of this site was with West End Community Plan was adopted in November 2013, and then zoning was changed in January 2014. All that remains for public input is likely to be a questionnaire at the open house (June 29) and an opportunity to write and/or speak to the DPB on September 8, 2015. There will likely be no Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) paid to the City to contribute to improvements in the West End. As well, it is likely that there will be no Development Cost Levies (DCLs) charged to help offset the increased burden on City infrastructure.

Due to the West End Community Plan, that’s it for the official process on this particular site. (However, there is nothing stopping anyone from communicating to Mayor and Council on any matter at any time.)

For more information, please see http://former.vancouver.ca/devapps/1188bidwell/index.htm

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