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Pop-up bank vault takes shape in new South Granville RBC

August 12, 2019

View through the open doors of 2735 South Granville St. on August 12th, showing the vault, on the left. And beside it, possibly the safe deposit box room.

The can be little question now that 2735 Granville Street is being fitted out to be a new RBC Royal Bank branch.

Closeup of a notice on one of the glass doors associating RBC with the renovation.

Fine print on a notice affixed to one of the one-storey property’s glass doors explicitly identifies an RBC representative associated with the renovation project and an honest-to-goodness bank vault appears to rapidly be taking shape toward the back of the formerly wide open and undivided floor space.

Can’t have a bank branch without one—a vault that is

Here’s a closer look at the apparent vault taking shape.

The appearance of what can only be a bank vault supports previous reports on this blog that, by October, the South Granville RBC bank branch will be moving out of the four-storey RBC Royal Bank building at 1489 West Broadway, where it has been located in since 1957 and moving into 2735 Granville Street. a property located three blocks away that has been two years under renovation.

The fact that the bank vault at 2735 Granville was not built as a permanent part of the structural renovations and is instead now being added in after the fact is also significant, in light of the partial blueprints I found June 28th for the redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway as a mixed-use tower.

Blueprint detail of upper ground floor of 1489 West Broadway redevelopment showing a space designated for RBC Bank.—Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership

Those redevelopment blueprints are dated May 24th, 2019 and were drawn up by architects Musson Cattell Mackey for developer PCI—owner of 1489 West Broadway since 2007. They show, not only the entrance to the Granville Street station for the future Broadway subway (expected to begin construction in 2020) but also an RBC bank branch on the ground floor of the new building.

Based on the blueprints, it can be supposed that the move by the bank branch out of 1489 West Broadway will only be temporary—for the length of time that it takes to redevelop the site. The RBC bank branch will then move into the new building at 1489 West Broadway.

The fact that the bank vault at 2735 South Granville is to be a temporary addition tends to buttress the supposition that the bank branch itself will be temporary. Click the images to enlarge them.

Another, slightly closer, shot of the under-construction bank vault.

7 Comments
  1. Sharon permalink

    Makes total sense to me. Not sure I would plan a bank right beside an instant ‘getaway car’ but hey… what do I know.

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  2. Stanley maybe its a gender neutral bathroom

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    • The room on the viewer’s righ perhaps. The room with the fierce-looking set of locks on the door will be where the toilet paper is kept.

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  3. good sleuthing — fascinating to see a ‘naked’ bank vault

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  4. Margaret permalink

    The RBC has signs up inside the bank that they are moving at the end of November.

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    • Thanks. I will be sad to see the building go — as I really believe its fate has been sealed. However, I appear to be one of the only people who will feel bad. The building has made almost no impression in its 62 years. There isn’t one good photo in the Vancouver Archives and Vancouver heritage experts I have contacted have either not bothered to respond to my requests for information about the building’s architects, or have responded by saying they are entirely unaware of the building. Unfortunate.

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      • Margaret permalink

        I will be sad to see the building go too. The design has withstood time and it is unique to have a bank with such high ceilings. It is dark inside but it has character. Its replacement will likely be a nondescript tower. I found a decent City of Vancouver archive photo that shows most of the building but it only dates back to as early as 1980: https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/granville-street-and-broadway-looking-east. On the PCI Developments website, they refer to the RBC Royal Bank building as a landmark. So much for a landmark, it is a “landmark” they are going to tear down.

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