Rezoning Approved for New Development at Howe and Drake

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1265 Howe Street

Downtown Vancouver looks to receive another new development with the rezoning approval for a project by Merrick Architecture on Howe Street at Drake.

After going through an open house in November of last year, Merrick Architecture – Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Ltd. and Howe Street Developments LP are moving forward on a new development in downtown Vancouver. This past Monday, April 16th, Vancouver’s city council approved the rezoning of 1265-1281 Howe Street and 803-821 Drake Street to allow for an exciting new project to come to fruition. Originally considered Downtown (DD) District zoning, the land has now been re-designated as Comprehensive Development (CD-1) zoning to accommodate a 41 story residential tower, with a mixed-use podium for artist studios and retail space.

Measuring 375 feet tall, and consisting of over 250,000 square feet of space with a floor-space ratio of 9.58, the development is promising for potential homeowners. It is located in an area of downtown that has seen a lot of redevelopment in recent years. There will be 348 units in the tower, as well as 17 artist studios and three commercial retail units in the podium. The artist studios will be located along the Howe Street side of the development, totaling nearly 11,000 square feet. The 4,224 square feet of retail space in the podium will run along Drake Street, from the corner of Howe and Drake to the western laneway. There will be underground parking, accessible from the laneway, which will provide 316 residential parking spaces, 444 bicycle spaces and three commercial parking spaces, with some spots reserved for the tenants in the artist studios.

It is worth noting that the creation of this development will mean that 11 rooms designated as Single Room Accommodation (SRA) units will be lost, which are key components in the City’s affordable housing strategy for low-income individuals. This loss is being offset by the developers in two primary ways, with 20 dwellings being marked as secured market rental units and $750,000 being provided to the Affordable Housing Fund. Whether this is enough to cover the SRA losses is arguable, but what is clear is that this development would definitely make this key space more heavily utilized. The building will be targeting LEED Gold certification, as required by the Green Building Rezoning Policy, which is just another key step in the movement towards sustainable living in the downtown core.

Part of the development’s promise is the architecture firm behind it, Merrick Architecture, which played a key role in the Southeast False Creek Millenium Water development, as well as the Vita and Dolce at Symphony Place developments across from the Orpheum Theatre on Smithe Street between Seymour and Richards. With the high demand for housing in the city, this new development will make living downtown a reality for a few hundred more individuals. While this part of the block is poorly utilized currently, the development will still impact some people, with La Bodega, Money Mart and five stories of office space being just some of the features that will be lost when this property is built. Construction will likely start within the next year, barring unforeseen circumstances, so be on the lookout for more information and details on pricing and sales in the near future. In the mean time, check out some more details on the City of Vancouver’s rezoning page for the development and look below for a few of the floor plans for the project.

 

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Spencer Toth Third year HR and Marketing student at SFU's Beedie School of Business who loves social media, music, gaming, urban planning and the outdoors. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure.

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