(Revised) Ian Gillespie, Henriquez Partners Architects, and some others in the development industry have experienced a great deal of success in winning approvals in the Vision Vancouver-dominated Council Chamber at Vancouver City Hall. What does this mean for the West End, and other Vancouver neighbourhoods?
According to Jeff Lee from the Vancouver Sun “Robertson unveiled his plan at a noon fundraiser organized by developer Ian Gillespie at his Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. The event was attended by many of the city’s influential developers, builders and architects, including Concord Pacific’s Terry Hui and architect Gregory Henriquez. After the announcement, the media were removed from the room so Robertson could meet with his donors.”
Ian Gillespie of Westbank Corp. and Gregory Henriquez of Henriquez Partners Architects are at the heart of the controversial Short Term Incentives Program (STIR) designed to give large incentives to developers to build market rental housing that ignore local guidelines and the exiting quality of life in the West End. Over 12,000 residents have signed a petition calling for a halt to spot rezoning on sites such as 1215 Bidwell Street and 1401 Comox Street (Maxine’s currently being demolished and St. John’s Church that Gillespie demolished in the summer) until there is a community plan in place.
While the development of a massive 22 story building on the St. John’s church site has been on hold for several months, it appears that success of Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver in the election could guarantee a free ride for Gillespie, Henriquez and others and further pressure on the West End and neighbourhoods across the city.
Westbank and Henriquez Partners Projects approved by Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver Council, or reviewed by the City of Vancouver include:
1401 Comox Street – Westbank Projects Corp. and Peterson Investment Group, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – project to include a 22 storey residential rental building with an increase in density from existing permitted FSR of 1.5 to proposed FSR of 7.4 (project currently “on hold”.)
1215 Bidwell Street – Millennium Development Corp. represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – project to include a 20-storey condominium and rental residential tower with an increase in density from a permitted FSR of 2.2 to approved FSR of 6.27.
1561 West 6th Avenue – Westbank Projects Corp. and Peterson Investment Group, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – project to include a 15-storey condominium tower with an increase in density from permitted FSR of 3.0 to approved FSR of 4.96.
“Telus Garden” (555 Robson Street, 775 Richards Street, and 520 West Georgia Street) – Westbank Projects Corp. and Peterson Investment Group, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – project to include a 21-storey office tower on West Georgia Street and a 45-storey residential tower and retail podium on Robson Street with a total of 985,600 sq. ft. of floor area and a increase in density on the site from existing permitted FSR of 7.0 (office) and 5.0 (residential) to 12.24 FSR (office) and 17.59 (residential). This could amount to $260 million dollars worth of additional residential floor space in just this one project.
8495 Granville Street (Marpole Safeway) – Westbank Projects, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – to construct four major buildings on the site: a 24-storey rental tower, a 14 storey market condominium tower, and a 9-storey slab building consisting of townhouses at street level and condominium units above, with a total floor area of 405,250 sq. ft. and an increase in density 2.5 FSR (floor space ratio) to 2.81 FSR.
60 West Cordova – Westbank Projects, represented by Henriquez Partners Architects – to construct a 10-storey building with ground floor retail and 108 condominium apartment units. Maximum height increased from permitted 75 foot height to requested conditional 100 foot height.
Get informed in this election and make sure you vote. Residents of the West End have a responsibility to educate themselves and to act now.