The City Council agenda for the morning of January 15, 2013, includes a staff recommendation (80 pages, total) that the proposal by IBI/HB Architects, on behalf of Beach Towers Investments Inc. (associated with Devonshire Properties) for a major infill development at Beach Towers (1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street) in the West End proceed to a public hearing. The proposal features a several new buildings to fill up the site, including a 4-storey residential building, 2-storey townhouses, a new 9-storey tower, and more (details below). The public hearing could be on a Monday or Tuesday evening in a matter of weeks. Download the staff report in PDF format by clicking here, including a summary of input received from the public so far.
- For the City’s official information about the proposal click here.
- For official information about rezoning and how to express your opinion to Council, click here.
- For more information about the proposal compiled by West End Neighbours, click here.
- The Beach Towers Tenants’ Association has a secure online system for tenants to communicate with each other: http://www.webjam.com/beach_towers_tenants_association
- See also this website about the Beach Towers heritage value and more: www.beachtowers.ca.
- This application is made possible only because of the Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR) program adopted in 2009 with no public input and which WEN believes is legally flawed, and about which WEN has written to Mayor and Council.
Excerpted from the City’s rezoning page, the proposal is to
… add a total of 133 dwelling units to these sites. The existing property has 607 rental apartments in four towers (19 to 21 storeys) on two sites — 1600 Beach Avenue and 1651 Harwood Street. The application proposes the following:
- Along Beach Avenue: add a 4-storey residential building with 2-storey townhouses at grade and two levels of housing above.
- At the corner of Harwood and Cardero Streets: add a 9-storey residential building.
- On the Harwood Street site: along Harwood, add two 3-storey structures on either side of the existing Columbus House building, and along the lane, add 2-storey townhouses.
- Infill the base of the existing towers to expand the lobbies, add a new rental office, and create additional amenity space.
- At Beach Avenue and Cardero Street: add a partially submerged one-storey amenity building.
The proposal would add approximately 99,993 sq. ft. of density, resulting in an increase in floor space ratio (FSR) from 3.42 to 4.32 (noting that the maximum permitted under the current zoning is 2.2 FSR)
WEN believes that a basic question the public should ask related to developments like Beach Towers (being considered under the Short Term Incentives for Rental – STIR – program) is about the tradeoffs. Should the City of Vancouver forego the regular charges developers would pay on a development, in order to create market-priced rental units, particularly by adding more density to a block that is already one of the most densely developed blocks in the West End.