Here is another proposed tower development enabled by the West End Community Plan (2013) and Rezoning Policy for the West End.
Prima Properties (privately held developer, no website) has submitted a rezoning application for a 47-storey tower 1157 Burrard Street, the site that was formerly a gas station at the northwest corner of Burrard and Davie Streets.
West End Neighbours has carried stories about this site a number of times since 2010, including the discussion on “Implementation of ‘Vancouver Views’ and Opportunities for Higher Buildings in the Downtown” under Vision Vancouver to permit tall towers at this important entrance to the West End. (See links below.)
The 21,605 square foot site was designated for rezoning in January 2014 under the West End Community Plan, approved in November 2013 by the Vision Vancouver dominated City Council. It is currently zoned DD (Downtown District) and C-5 (Commercial).
The full application can be viewed here: https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1157burrard/index.htm
A community open house will be held as follows:
Thursday, April 25, 2019 (4:30 – 7:30 pm)
Holiday Inn, Columbia Ballroom (1110 Howe St).
The applicant team and City staff will be there to answer questions.
The project also goes to the Urban Design Panel (advisory to City Council):
Urban Design Panel
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Among other things, WEN will be interested in learning what benefits are being proposed for the West End community as a result of this proposal. How much will be paid in CACs and DCLs to benefit the West End? After the original gas station closed, this site has been used as a community garden for years, saving Prima hundreds of thousands of dollars in property taxes under the BC Assessment taxation rules. (The taxes saved by Prima are shifted to the tax burden of other businesses and taxpayers.) Many developers use this loophole to save on taxes while they wait years to develop their property.
The proposal for a 47-storey mixed-use tower includes:
• a building height of 146.3 m (480 ft.)
• a total floor area of 28,077 sq. m (302,222 sq. ft.)
• a floor space ratio (FSR) (density) of 13.99
• 236 market residential (condo) units plus 50 hotel units or 50 more residential units (total consisting of 65 studios, 111 one bedrooms & 110 two-bedroom)
• ground-level commercial space (25,000 sq. ft.)
• a 37-space public childcare facility
• 1,570 sq. m (16,894 sq. ft.) of office space
• 265 vehicle parking stalls and 400 bicycle spaces
• a 37-space public childcare facility
The architect for the project is Merrick Architecture.
Further below is some coverage related to this site by West End Neighbours going back to 2010 (oldest to newest), showing how the City modified height restrictions on this and other sites downtown.
In the public consultation other areas to look at include the relaxations being requested by Prima Properties.
For example, here is an excerpt from the “1157 Burrard Rezoning Rationale Statement”:
“Height supported under ‘DD’ Zoning is 91.4m/299.9’, conditional up to 137.2m/450’. The 480’ height (plus amenity/architectural screening) proposed exceeds the conditional height by 30’. While the West End Community Plan anticipated building heights of up to 375’, the General Policy for Higher Buildings does not specifically mandate a maximum height for the site. The Higher Buildings Policy anticipates that a project on the site will extend into View Cone 3.2.1 from Queen Elizabeth Park, enhancing the overall City skyline and providing significant Public Benefits in return.”
The public and City Council needs to have a close look at what the developer is asking for in relation to what the City and community get in return. When the “outright” height was rezoned to 91.4 meters did the City get anything in return for the windfall profit from land lift? What must the proponent do to “earn” the conditional maximum height of 137.2 meters? The West End Community Plan “anticipated building heights up to 375 feet.” What does the developer profit and what does the community get in return for the height going more than a hundred feet above that?
“Floor Area supported under ‘DD’ Zoning is 6.0 FSR (x the site area) with a capacity to increase this by 10% (6.6) with an offsite Heritage Density purchase.” Where is that offsite density coming from?
‘Community gardens’ give big developers big tax breaks while small businesses suffer and close under tax burden (CityHallWatch quoting Vancouver Sun, posted February 5, 2018). Excerpt: “… in a 2010 Vancouver Sun story the city said it gave more than $212,000 tax abatements in 2009 to the Prima Properties community garden at Burrard and Davie Streets.”
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