1616-1698 W Georgia St – DP-2021-00409 – (COMPLETE APPLICATION) Applicant: Anthem Properties Group Ltd. Property Owner: 1698 Anthem West Georgia Developments Ltd. Request: To develop this site with a 33-storey multiple dwelling building with 126 dwelling units, all over 7 levels of underground parking, having vehicular access from Bidwell Street. It is seeking 9.45 FSR in density. Staff: Hamid Shayan. The public may speak to this item. Contact May Sem at email@example.com.
The meeting is being held online via WEBEX.
This is one of the dozens of towers enabled under the West End Community Plan (2013) and Rezoning Policy for the West End. In fact due to the WECP, nearly a dozen towers have sprouted up or are in the pipeline within just a few blocks of here. This is another opportunity for residents of the West End to look at developments enabled under the West End Community Plan and ask if what they see is what they were expecting when public consultations were under way to 2013. In return for the rezoning, Anthem is required to provide $31.4 million in public benefits, including $26.1 million in cash community amenity contributions (CACs), $3.2 million in citywide development cost levies (DCLs), $1.8 million in citywide utilities DCLs, and $352,000 in public art. Someone should check into this to see if and when the West End residents will be benefiting from all those CACs.
At the time of the rezoning, these were the parameters:
To change from RM-6 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District:
127 strata residential units A building height of 99.25 m (326 ft.) A floor space ratio (FSR) of 9.39 A floor area of 16,528 sq. m (177,903 sq. ft.) 213 vehicle parking spaces and 335 bicycle parking spaces
Excerpts: Earlier this week, Vancouver City Council approved Anthem Properties’ rezoning application to develop a condominium tower at the vacant site of 1616-1698 West Georgia Street, previously a Chevron gas station…. This gas station, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of West Georgia Street and Bidwell Street, closed in 2017, after it was sold for $72 million. Apart from NPA councillor Colleen Hardwick and COPE councillor Jean Swanson’s decision to abstain, city council’s vote was unanimous in support. … Green Party councillor Michael Wiebe praised the tower’s design inspired by Vancouver’s natural surroundings…. “I think that we need to figure out more ways to include this type of integration of our mountains and greenery into projects that create a West Coast design and look. I think it’s really well done,” said Wiebe. But some public speakers and Mayor Kennedy Stewart brought forward their concerns on the tower’s reduced height…. In his closing comments, the Mayor said he had prepared a motion to send the proposal back to city staff for reconsideration for additional height, but ultimately decided not to as it would add to delays on what has already been a lengthy review process for the proponents… The current project — as approved with a floor area of 178,000 sq ft for a floor space ratio density of 9.4 times larger than the size of the lot — will be required to provide $31.4 million in public benefits, including $26.1 million in cash community amenity contributions (CACs), $3.2 million in citywide development cost levies (DCLs), $1.8 million in citywide utilities DCLs, and $352,000 in public art. …
Posted inUncategorized|Comments Off on 1616-1698 West Georgia at Bidwell development (33-storeys with 127 strata condos) goes to Development Permit Board March 7 (Monday). Former Chevron gas station closed after site sold for $72 million in 2017
Here are a few notices about Park Board topics important for the West End. (This is an excerpt of a post by CityHallWatch.)
First, February 2, 2022 was the last day for the Park Board “Community Centres Survey 2022,” a strategic planning project to ensure that Community Centres are best positioned to “Meet the current and future needs by setting service level standards. Determine future renewal priorities. Ensure successful and efficient individual projects. Identify opportunities to better collect and make use of data.” The project was initiated in spring 2021 and is to complete in spring 2022. Check it out here: https://shapeyourcity.ca/ccstrategy/survey_tools/community-centre-strategy-survey2.
Second, this month of February, the City is conducting an important new phase of consultation via “W.E. Connect” on the West End Community Hub (WECH) Renewal Plan – which includes the community centre, library, and school. Many events planned. Watch for various opportunities to obtain information and provide input. More info here: https://shapeyourcity.ca/weconnect
Third, the meeting of the Park Board on Monday, February 7th, 2022 will discuss an Alcohol in Parks motion on notice from Commissioner Demers that will ask staff to prepare plans to again allow drinking in select public parks in 2022. The feedback and lessons from the pilot project in 2021 would be incorporated and brought back to Park Board at a later date. As the alcohol in parks motion is on the agenda of the Regular Park Board meeting; no public speakers will be heard unless the item is referred to a subsequent committee meeting.
Fourth, the February 7th Park Board meeting, will discuss proposals for a BC Hydro right of way for a substation in Nelson Park in the West End.The plans to allow a right of way in Nelson Park for a Hydro Substation are on the Committee Meeting agenda, and hence Public Speakers will be heard. Interested speakers have until noon of Monday, February 7th to sign up (feedback on the motion can also be provided via the links on the agenda page).
Things have been very quiet on this front. What’s the latest on BC Hydro’s plans to build an electrical power substation underground in Nelson Park, beside the Lord Roberts Elementary School Annex? Just a heads up that Vancouver Park Board staff have sent an e-mail to subscribers saying that some time in early 2022, they will be presenting a report to Park Board commissioners.
Gist: BC Hydro engaged the public on a “seed” proposal in 2017, which was withdrawn and later revived, leading to the current West End Substation proposal in 2018 (which was accepted by Vancouver School Board and is the focus of the Nelson Park Impact Assessment and Public Engagement). In June 2018, the Vancouver School Board accepted a proposal from BC Hydro to construct an underground electrical substation at the Lord Roberts Annex School site adjacent to Nelson Park. BC Hydro is currently seeking permission from the Vancouver Park Board to bury underground power cables through Nelson Park to connect the planned West End Substation to the existing electrical system.
The above map shows the limits of Nelson Park and conceptual routing (hashed lines) for underground power cables through the park. Should the Park Board accept BC Hydro’s request, the locations would be determined through this process “with the objective of minimizing impacts to Nelson Park.”
Summary: To rezone from RM-5C (Residential) to CD-1 for a 43-storey residential building with 198 strata titled and 66 secured market rental units (that is, at the top rate that can be gained on the market), of which 20% (that is, about 13 units) are to be below market, with height 117.3 metres or 385 feet and FSR 14.97.
Comment: This application is the second rezoning application for this site since implementation of the West End Community Plan adopted in 2013. In 2016, previous owners (Hollyburn) submitted a proposal to demolish the current rental tower and commercial low-rise. Their plan was to construct a new purpose-built rental building of 385 feet height and 276 secured market rental units of which 40% would have been family units. The application was subsequently withdrawn by the owner in 2018. Based on media reports at the time (see references below), the reason seemed that such a proposal for this site was not deemed economically viable within the requirements of the West End Community Plan.
The property was then sold to Landa Global (www.landaglobal.com) in 2018 and the current application was submitted in early summer 2020. (Landa Global also has properties at 1400 Alberni and 1818 Alberni)
The current application documentation is not complete: (1) There are no site plans included in the application that is posted online. Why is this information not provided to the public? (2) Several conditions concerning the design of the building, public realm, and the landscaping have not been satisfied and have been deferred to the Development permit phase. These should be considered at the Public Hearing. (3) The transportation study relies on 2016 data and does not consider the current or future impact of current construction and proposed new developments in the vicinity. (4) Are proposed public realm and public amenities adequate?
(Updated) At the end of November, after many requests, this document was posted on the West End page of the City of Vancouver website (Vancouver.ca/westend), in the form of a memo dated August 19, 2021, from the City’s Director of Planning, Theresa O’Donnell, to the Mayor and Council.
The memo is in the form of a report to City Council, not as a report to the public.
The memo provides an overall update on the progress of the West End Public Benefits Strategy (PBS), with the general message that the PBS “is on track and has delivered significant amenities” (early successes in housing delivery and transportation/public realm improvements), with more substantial projects now in planning (such as the West End Community Centre). However, the long-term delivery of the PBS is challenged by both the volume of renewal obligations in the West End, and availability of renewal funding city-wide. The prioritization of renewal of community centres will be addressed through the 10-year Capital Strategic Outlook. (We’ve highlighted “renewal.” See below for why.)
The 22-page report contains many useful numbers and is matched with a 15 MB infographic (download from CoV link) highlighting selected numbers (see our short commentary here as of Oct 2021). So in that sense, it is a useful report.
But a distinction needs to be made between a progress update on the Public Benefits Strategy and a more comprehensive review of the implementation of the West End Community Plan (adopted in 2013) as West End Neighbours has been requesting since four years ago (see questions here). We’d like to write more on all of this at a later date.
So this PBS report provides selected bits and pieces of the big picture. The WECP projected an increased population of 7,000 to 10,000 new residents over 30 years to 2043. The PBS report roughly estimates that the population increased by 4,100 (albeit from the 2011 census based on floor area completed to year-end 2020). For comparison, based on more comprehensive numbers from the Vancouver Park Board, CityHallWatch estimated that projects already approved, under construction or in the pipeline by Sept 2020 could accommodate 25,627 residents. Many of the projects under the WECP have involved the demolition of existing rental housing and displacement of renters, with expensive new rental units produced, and a large amount of strata condos. Where are the numbers on that? How many dwelling units have been lost? How many people have been renovicted?
Another important topic is money. The PBS update states: “Since 2013, approximately $182M in CACs and density bonusing contributions have been received through rezoning and development permits in the West End. This represents both cash and in-kind contributions that are completed ($15M), as well as cash and in-kind contributions currently under construction ($82M). The remaining $85M in cash contributions represent received cash that has been earmarked for spending on future affordable housing, childcare, parks and transportation and community facilities, as well as other public benefits in the West End. … Currently, there are approximately $163M in cash CACs “secured” (rezonings approved in principle by Council).”
This project will produce a renewal plan – a document that will guide and direct the future of the site’s buildings, programming, and outdoor spaces.
The West End Community Centre will be replaced to meet the needs of the growing West End neighbourhood, including renewal of an ice rink.
King George Secondary School will be redeveloped to provide more spaces for students and meet seismic upgrade requirements.
Joe Fortes Public Library will be expanded to provide a larger library space.
The renewed community hub will likely have combined and shared programming spaces. Other potential uses that could serve the West End will be considered for addition or expansion in the renewal plan, including a relocation of Firehall No. 6, childcare, seniors’ spaces, and arts and culture facilities.
Public Information Session on Visioning Results on December 8, which marks the final steps of the visioning work created with the community during the W.E. Connect engagement process. The framework will reflect our commitment to reconciliation and declare the purpose and aspirations of the future West End Community Hub and will help define space use needs for the site.
In early 2022, participate in in-person events and complete an online survey to further explore the community’s space needs.
Nearly three years ago, West End Neighbours starting asking the City to provide a public update on implementation of the West End Community Plan (WECP), which was adopted in 2013 (click link for the information we sought). The West End has seen a vast amount of demolition, demoviction, tenant relocation, construction, disruption, and change. The City is starting now to talk about upgrading amenities as part of the benefits of the WECP and is beginning to seek public input (see our previous posts). But as of today, no report has been provided to the public, though we understand from the planning department that something has been nearly read since May 2021.
These resonings are massive towers and give City Council and the public an opportunity to focus on implementation of the WECP. Not only the staff but also Council and the residents of the West End should have the opportunity to consider these two major rezoning requests in that context. We lament the fact that the City has not yet provided such a report to Council or the public as the date of this public hearing on October 12.
Many questions arise, but for now, we share this here.
Some initial comments and questions. What is the basis for the population growth numbers? These numbers show the net gain. How many dwelling units have been lost? How many people have been renovicted?
The number of housing units completed or under construction requires a context in order to be interpretable. This should be compared to at least two figures: Number of existing housing units demolished, number of market strata constructed. What fraction of collected CACs and other relevant fees have been used for community benefits thus far. What is the total amount?
(Update #2) On October the 1450 West Georgia tower was approved by Council, with Clr Swanson and Hardwick opposed. The 1157 Burrard rezoning final vote will occur in the Council meeting on October 19.
(Update #1) A Public Hearing on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 will look at TWO major towers in the West End, made possible by the West End Community Plan (adopted in 2013). How to West Enders feel about them? Are then in line with the West End Community Plan? Are residents getting enough back in return for the huge in height and density enabled by the WECP. WEN has been calling for an implementation report for a few years now. Nothing has come yet, but the planning department says it’s coming soon. West Enders are encouraged to review the proposals (particularly the two “referral reports” and then share their views with City Council in writing or by speaking. All details are on the meeting agenda.
One is a 49-storey (497 feet) mixed condo/market-priced rental tower at 1450 West Georgia (location W Georgia and Nicola), and the other is a 47-storey (469 feet) condo tower at 1157 Burrard Street (current site of the community garden at Burrard & Davie).
Below are the two items. Anyone interested is encouraged to review the PDFs of the referral reports. Further details of the rezonings can be found in the referral reports and at ShapeYourCity.ca. You are encouraged to write or speak to Council if you have any comments or concerns. Are the heights and designs appropriate? Has adequate consideration been given to impacts on the neighbourhood (views, shadowing, traffic, benefits, etc.)?
CD-1 Rezoning: 1157 Burrard Street – (West End) Current site of Burrard & Davie Community Garden site in the West End, 47-storey condo, 469 ft height, 13.37 FSR (exceeding the Higher Buildings Policy of 375 ft). By having a “community garden” on the site, this developer has saved millions of dollars in property taxes (putting the burden on other taxpayers) while the land value skyrocketed (there are rumours also that garden users had to sign an agreement that they would never oppose future development plans on the site). The height is far above what was originally envisioned by the already-high “Higher Buildings Policy” adopted under Vision Vancouver. Enabled by the West End Community Plan, adopted in 2013 under Vision Vancouver.
– 289 units, 271 parking spaces
– $10.6 million cash proposed as Community Amenity Contribution (CAC), cultural amenity space – 1,466 sq. m, 37 childcare spaces
CD-1 Rezoning: 1450 West Georgia Street (West End) at West Georgia and Nicola, a 49-storey, 497 ft mixed condo/market rental tower (162 rental / 193 condo), FSR 14.14. Another one being enabled by the West End Community Plan. $8.9 million cash is proposed as the Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) – supposedly all for amenities in the West End. This needs follow-up. Below is a review of the referral report by a core member of WEN.
The Imagine West End Waterfront team has shared information with WEN regarding consultation on the “Imagine West End Waterfront” project.
The team is working with the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver on a project looking at the future of “the West End’s iconic Salish Sea oceanfront parks, beaches, and streets.” The project is just getting underway and will be ongoing for the next two years.
Opportunities to get involved include participating on a project Community Advisory Group, taking part in an on-line discussion (Community Conversation), direct interviews, and activities the team will be organizing in the community and project area.
As a project, Imagine West End Waterfront will engage residents, businesses, organizations from the West End and across Vancouver to create a high level plan for the area that:
• Supports Vancouver’s commitment to reconciliation and decolonization • Improves neighbourhood connectivity and access • Upgrades services, facilities, and infrastructure • Accommodates anticipated population growth and increased demand on the area • Restores shoreline habitats and supports the ecological revitalization of the area • Addresses climate change, sea level rise and improves the resilience of the area
The West End Community Plan (approved in 2013) identified potential needs for long-term improvements to the transportation system, parks, and public spaces in the area to support the growth in the West End. The project study area overlaps a network of parks and streets that make up a total of approximately 95 acres (38 hectares).
The project will also be working closely with Indigenous rights holders (Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations).
For e-mail contact, please write WestEndWaterfront@vancouver.ca. Project managers are Jordan McAuley, Park Board Planner and Sam Khany, City of Vancouver Senior Transportation Planner.
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