A proposal to build another relatively significant rental housing project in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood has been filed to the City of Vancouver.
According to the filings, Larco Investments intends to construct a 23-storey, 210-foot-tall (63-metre) building at 1668 Davie Street – a mid-block, 40,000 square-foot-site ground-level parking site right next to London Drugs.
The project consists of 158 market rental residential units, including 105 studio and one-bedroom units and 53 two and three bedroom units suitable for larger families, with retail on the ground floor and 95 underground parking spaces. The adjacent London Drugs building and tower, also owned by Larco, will be retained.
A floor space ratio of 6.1 FSR can be achieved for the development under the West End Community Plan, which permits up to 7.0 FSR for the site.
With regards to the proposal’s architectural features, project proponents do not plan on breaking any ice: painted concrete, coloured spandrel glass and wall tiles are among the proposed exterior materials.
“The architectural form and character draws inspiration from the surrounding West End character made up of a mix of low-rise wood frame residential walk-ups and simple concrete point towers characterized by large expanses of concrete wall, ribbon windows and applied decorative elements such as textured concrete and mosaic tile,” reads DA Architects + Partners’ description for the project.
The recently approved West End Community Plan is guiding the addition of new rental housing stock in the neighbourhood. Up to 1,900 units of market rental housing can be developed through additional density and infill development, and this is on top of a set quota for 1,600 new units of social housing.
One major proposal made possible by the Community Plan was approved by Vancouver City Council last month: a 21-storey, 190-foot-tall building on Pendrell Street near Denman Street with 178 residential rental units, including 152 market units and 26 ‘below market rate’ units.
According to the municipal government, the city of Vancouver has one of the lowest rental housing vacancy rates in the country: in October 2014, the rental housing vacancy rate was 0.5 per cent, which is equivalent to five in every 1,000 rental units. The vacancy rate for the West End at the time was even lower at 0.3 per cent.
The City has a goal of stimulating the construction of 5,000 new rental units by 2021 as part of its 2011 Housing and Homelessness Strategy. As of this month, 830 units have been built, 1,346 units are under construction and 2,026 units are approved.
The largest of the slated rental housing projects is Aquilini Place, a complex of three residential towers built on the Rogers Arena city block. When fully complete, the project will add 614 units to the city’s rental housing supply.