‘Burrard Gateway’ project a $500-million makeover

VANCOUVER — Two local developers are proposing a landmark $500-million mixed-used project that would include a 48-storey residential tower just north of the Burrard Street Bridge.

The joint proposal by Jim Pattison Developments Ltd. and Reliance Properties Ltd., called the Burrard Gateway development, is one of the largest projects proposed for downtown Vancouver with the main tower 102 feet higher than is now allowed under existing city bylaws.

However, the site is one of six identified by the City of Vancouver where developments could potentially go higher than currently allowed if they add such amenities as significant architectural interest, a high degree of sustainability and not impact view corridors.

The six sites include three in the central business district, two near the north end of the Granville Street Bridge and one near the north end of the Burrard Street Bridge.

“We feel we’re delivering on the expectations set out by council,” Reliance Properties president Jon Stovell said Tuesday at a news conference held to release details of the 774,000 square-foot project, promoted as a significant gateway project on the Burrard Street corridor and a dramatic entrance to downtown Vancouver as people crest the Burrard Street bridge heading north. “The city has said that this and five other sites are suitable for this height.”

He said the project team will now submit a rezoning application to the City of Vancouver, with the public hearing process getting underway in the spring.

“This is the beginning of the process,” added Stovell, who believes the project could be finished by 2014 if it gets the go-ahead. “And we think there’s a lot of support. It’s of city-wide interest [and] we want to engage the public.”

Located on Burrard and Hornby streets, north of Drake Street, the rezoning would involve 23 separate city lots, 14 owned by Reliance Properties and nine owned by Jim Pattison Developments. The project would include a flagship “glass cube” Toyota dealership, replacing the one that’s now there.

As proposed, the development consists of three towers of 13, 36 and 48 storeys, another seven-storey residential/commercial building fronting on Hornby Street, a 50,000-square-foot three-storey Toyota dealership (including four levels of service facilities below ground) with a total space of more than 750,000 square feet. Uses would include market strata and rental housing, office and retail space, the Toyota dealership and several community amenities including a 5,200-square-foot daycare centre, a car-share program, parking for nearly 800 bikes, community gallery space, and money for rental housing in the Downtown Eastside.

There would be about 600 residential units in the project, designed to achieve LEED gold status with an emphasis on energy savings.

According to the proposal, the current height limit of 364 feet for the main tower would be increased to 466 feet — as tall as One Wall Centre — and the permitted floor space for the project increased from 379,500 square feet to 774,318 square feet.

Jim Pattison Auto Group president Bill Harbottle said the project would establish a new standard for auto dealerships. “This represents an opportunity to launch the next generation of urban automobile dealerships. It’s a vertical operation over seven floors, with a glass showroom.

“We believe it will be Toyota’s flagship location in North America.”

James Hancock, associate director of the project’s architect, IBI/HB Architects, said the project would be a “significant architectural development” that would become the “heart” of the local neighbourhood.

“The view corridor to the Lions has been respected.”

According to a City of Vancouver release, the proposal to allow higher buildings stems from a desire for more housing and job space in downtown Vancouver, along with public benefits.

The city said that while the buildings would be visible in the skyline, they would not impact protected public views of the mountains.

It said the proposal for higher buildings came forward in January 2010 after the Vancouver Views study concluded the public would accept a change as long as mountain views are maintained.

According to the developers, the rezoning process will involve public open house meetings, a public hearing with Vancouver City Council and review by Vancouver’s tall building design panel, including two internationally recognized architects from outside of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Sun was not able to reach an official at City Hall Tuesday for comment on the project.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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