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Hazy, lazy do-nothing Sunday

When the kids are away the dogs will play. Jumping for treats in the empty playground on the Spruce St. side of the L’Ecole Bilingue Elementary School.

To the best of my knowledge nothing at all happened in Vancouver on Sunday (July 7th), or rather, nothing happened in my Vancouver neighbourhood of Fairview.

As a blogger, however,, I still feel pressure to post something so here goes nothing.

After finally getting up and leaving my parkade sleeping spot this morning at the luxurious hour of 11 a.m. I lazily made my way to the the McDonald’s restaurant in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue.

Once there, I ate an indifferent hamburger, drank two cups of coffee and consumed a fairly large quantity of social media.

At the same time my laptop, camera and wireless earbuds were sucking up as much electricity as physics would allow.

At some point one of my homeless peers joined me (having—he told me—also just woken up). He ordered a coffee and we chatted about this and that, including the films we had each recently seen.

Having both had a chance to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story, we agreed that it was quite awful (I couldn’t get past the first 15 minutes). I told him that I thought Rogue One was, by far, the best of new Disney Star Wars films I had seen.

For his part, he couldn’t say enough about the virtues of the John Wick sequel he was currently watching over-and-over on his phone.

While I weighed this recommendation against the knowledge that one of his favourite film franchises was the Transformers, ala, Michael Bay, he made a phone call to someone and then left the restaurant—apparently to take delivery of “two blues”.

I shortly left as well—to answer my own call of duty, as it were. Read more…

Slightly historic DTES Tweedale Block marked down to sell

The Tweedale Block at 341 East Hastings, visualized by architects Thornton and Jones, circa 1910 and photographed 102 year later in 2012.—B.C. Archives, Item D-09150 / Xiao23, CCASA license

The “Summer Hotel“, a.k.a., the “Tweedale Block”, at 341 East Hastings Street, is for sale.

The current asking price is $3.3 million. This is down from an earlier price of $3.5 million, according to a PDF sales brochure with an internal creation date of May 2018.

What this reduced price buys is a 109-year-old, dilapidated, brick-faced, wood-framed, four-storey, 30-room, single room occupancy (SRO) hotel—complete with some history, heritage value and a remarkably open-ended zoning.

The building sits within the Downtown-Eastside/Oppenheimer District (DEOD).

Everything within the DEOD is zoned for Comprehensive Development, according to the City of Vancouver. This means that 341 East Hastings can be redeveloped for any of the following uses:

Residential, commercial, light industrial, park space, public usage, urban farming and
other uses that the City defines as “comparable or accessory”.

There is nothing I can see that says the 30 units of vital, low-income housing that the Tweedale Block represents can only be redeveloped as new rental housing—low income, or otherwise.

Read more…

Enlarged 1489 West Broadway redevelopment will eat up neighbouring alley and restaurants

Plans for the redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway will be 85 percent larger than the existing address.—Google Street View

Blueprints I found in a dumpster on Friday (June 28) for the redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway Avenue not only include a Broadway subway station but also the adjacent alley and 1465 West Broadway.

PCI Developments’ blueprints show a 1489 West Broadway with a footprint that is a whopping 85 percent larger than the four-storey RBC Royal Bank building currently sitting at that address. Read more…

Dumpster-dived blueprints show Granville subway station in new West Broadway tower

West elevation, or Granville St. side, of PCI’s planned redevelopment for 1489 West Broadway, showing a Skytrain station entrance.—Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership

My pastimes of binning and blogging unexpectedly came together on Friday (June 28th) when I pulled actual blueprints for a Granville Street Skytrain station out of a cardboard dumpster in the 1400 block of West Broadway.

I have been speculating in my blog about the possible location of the Broadway subway’s station in the 1400 block for years!

The blueprints and accompanying documentation that I found may finally end that speculation.

They show that the Broadway subway’s Granville Street station will be located on the northeast corner of West Broadway and South Granville.

Backside of the RBC Royal Bank building at 1498 West broadway, seen from the position of the dumpster where the blueprints were found.

The station will be part of a mixed-use retail, office and residential tower, intended to replace the existing 4-storey RBC Bank building at 1489 West Broadway, which—as I have recently written—is expected to fully empty out by October.

The inclusion of the Granville Street subway station in a private development follows the pattern of three other known location of Broadway tunnel stations.

As I detailed in 2016, TransLink—the regional transit authority overseeing the creation of the Broadway tunnel Skytrain extension—approached the developers of new buildings in 2008, 2012 and 2016 to integrate spaces for potential transit stations to serve Cambie Street, Arbutus Street and Oak Street respectively.

The blueprints for the Granville Street station are dated May 24th, 2019 and bear the names of two Vancouver-based companies: architectural firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership (MCM) and building contractor PCI Developments.

Note: PCI has apparently owned the RBC Royal Bank building at 1489 West Broadway since 2007—a fact that I learned only after searching the address with “PCI”.

In total, the documentation consists of 16 tabloid-size, 11″ x 17′ blueprints by MCM and 13 letter-size pages of explanatory text by PCI.

The MCM blueprints only include those parts of the PCI development that are necessary to show the integration of the Skytrain station. This consists of detailed floor plans and cross-sections of five above-ground storeys and six underground parking levels.

The fact that there is much more to the PCI development than the five storeys of retail and office space shown is indicated by a vertical element in one cross-section labelled as “future residential elevator”.

And there are the six levels of underground parking, which provide a whopping 332 stalls—far too much parking for a 5-storey building.

Informed sources have told me that the new tower planned for the northeast corner of Broadway and Granville may reach a height of 40 stories in total.

By comparison, the new 40-storey condo tower at 1335 Howe includes 430 vehicle stalls, while the proposed 28-storey rental tower at for 2538 Birch Street, includes five underground levels accommodating 187 vehicle stalls. Read more…

Chance to tell the City what you think of proposed 28-storey Fairview skyscraper

An open house flyer on a utility pole across from the Birch Street side of the empty lot, now designated as 2538 Birch Street.

The proposed rezoning of 2538 Birch Street from a 16-storey tower to a 28-storey skyscraper was the subject of a community open house Thursday (June 27th), from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Holiday Inn—711 West Broadway Avenue.

City staff were expected to be attending the open house, which was sponsored by a group calling itself the Fairview/South Granville Action Committee.

The corner property in question was previously addressed as 1296 West Broadway and was the location, for over 40 years, of Vancouver’s first Denny’s restaurant. Read more…

Rumour of a new South Granville RBC branch you can probably to bank on

Newly renovated 2735 Granville Street, photographed Thursday (July 20th) at 6 p.m.

If the South Granville branch of the RBC Royal Bank, located at 1489 West Broadway, closes for good in October (as bank staff say it will) where will its customers go?

According to an increasingly credible rumour, a new RBC branch will be opening just three block away, at 2735 Granville Street.

Until 2017 this was the location of an HSBC branch. Since then it has been the subject of a meticulous, two-year renovation—now nearly finished. Read more…