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Few surprises in announcement of Broadway subway station locations

September 18, 2019

The old RBC Royal Bank building at 1489 West Broadway, which will be making way for (among other things) the South Granville subway station.

The B.C. government has confirmed that the Broadway subway’s South Granville station will be located at 1489 West Broadway, as first shown in blueprints I published at the end of June.

Wednesday (September 18), the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced the location of the entrances to the six underground stations along the 5.7-kilometre Broadway extension to the Millennium Line SkyTrain, scheduled to commence construction in 2020:

  • Great Northern Way—east side of Thornton Street, north of Great Northern Way.
  • Mount Pleasant—southwest corner of Broadway and Main Street.
  • Broadway–City Hall—entrance to the Canada Line at southeast corner of Broadway and Cambie.
  • Fairview–VGH—southwest corner of Broadway and Laurel Street.
  • South Granville—northeast corner of Broadway and Granville Street..
  • Arbutus—northeast corner of Broadway and Arbutus Street.

While most of the announced locations were to be expected, there are a few surprises—at least for me.

Location! location! location!

I expected the Mount Pleasant station to be on the southeast corner, where the city owns the property, not the southwest corner that was announced.—City of Vancouver Vanmap

The indicated location of the Mount Pleasant station—on the southwest corner of Broadway and Main (2501 Main Street)—is not listed as City of Vancouver property on the city’s online Vanmap, while the southeast corner (2500 Main Street) is listed as city property.

I would suspect a typo in the announcement if it wasn’t for the fact that the province has also produced fairly unambiguous maps of each station location.

The province’s map diagram for the Mount Pleasant station showing how much of the 100 block of East Broadway will be used.—Province of British Columbia

The Mount Pleasant station map appears to show that the actual above-ground station entrance will take up 2501 and 2509 Main street, while the construction staging and storage area will occupy most of the rest of the 100 block of East Broadway—certainly 112, 124 and 142 East Broadway.

One station location assumption you couldn’t bank one

The city-owned Tudor-style apartment building at 916 West Broadway, one building west of the intersection with Laurel St.

Most people expected that the next station west of Cambie would be located on the southwest corner of Oak Street, at the city-owned 1004 West Broadway, the former location of a Bank of Nova Scotia branch. Instead it has been announced for the southwest corner of Broadway and Laurel Street.

The province’s map diagram for the Fairview-VGH station.—Province of British Columbia

The province’s map diagram shows that the Fairview-VGH station-proper will occupy the corner property of 2539 Laurel Street, which is currently occupied by a low-rise building hosting both a rental car company and a psychic. Unlike myself, the latter of  these two tenants will not be the least bit surprised, having seen it all coming.

The map diagram appears to indicate that the staging area for the station will extend to occupy the Leyland Apartments at 916 West Broadway, a handsome, three-storey, Tudor-style apartment built in 1928 and currently owned by the City of Vancouver.

Confirming the fall of most of the 1400 block West Broadway

The South Granville station map diagram showing the station in the corner redevelopment and the staging area in city/transLink-owned property.

The least surprising announcement (at least for me) was the location of the South Granville station, as well as the fact that—thanks largely to the Broadway Subway—every existing buildings on the north side of the 1400 block will be knocked down, with the apparent exception of 1401 West Broadway—the tower on the eastern end of the block.

The province’s map diagram shows that the South Granville station will be located on the western end of the block—specifically on the northeast corner of South Granville Street and West Broadway, inside the footprint of 1489 West Broadway.

This was exactly where the station was shown to be in blueprints I found in a dumpster in late June, for a redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway by Vancouver developer PCI.

Property owned in April 2018 by the City of Vancouver and TransLink in the 1400 block of West Broadway.—Google Maps

The map further shows that the staging area for the South Granville station will be on four nearby lots in the 1400 block of West Broadway long-identified on this blog as being owned by the City of Vancouver (1441-1431) and TransLink (1421-1409).

And—after looking more closely at the province’s map—I see that the staging area  also includes 1451 West Broadway. This is a property that I understand was purchased in May 2018 by Shato Holdings, Ltd., the Vancouver real estate development company belonging to the Toigo family of White Spot restaurant fame.

Whether it is still owned by Shato Holdings, or has since been resold to TransLink I cannot say. I can say that it is not listed as a city-owned property on Vanmap.

Plans for the redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway will be a third again as big as the existing address.—Google Street View

The redevelopment of 1489 West Broadway that was shown in the blueprints I found actually extended east of the existing RBC Royal Bank building and also occupied all of the land now taken up by the next door property of 1465 West Broadway.

I believe I can safely now say that the sale of 1465 West Broadway is in progress, if not finalized.

The one-storey building at the address is currently occupied by three restaurant tenants: Breakfast Table, Fortune Garden and Memphis Blues Barbeque House.

The single-storey 1465 West Broadway, currently occupied by three popular restaurants.

I have been told by a trustworthy third party that the lease signed by at least one of these tenants (in January 2017) contained a demolition clause and that the sale of the building is already a done deal—to the point that all three restaurant tenants have been given notice to be out by December 31, 2019.

At present, however, none of the three tenants will confirm either the completion of the sale of the building, or any impending eviction notice.

A notice of closure on one of the entrances of the RBC Royal Bank building at 1489 West Broadway.

One tenant of 1465 West Broadway did, at least, acknowledge in August that their building was in the process of being sold.

Meanwhile, the Royal Bank has put up notices to tell customers that 1489 West Broadway will be closing for good on November 28 and that a new bank branch will be opening to take its place at 2735 Granville Street.

Not quite the end of the line for subway entrance speculation

The Arbutus station and construction staging areas.—Province of British Columbia

Not surprisingly, the Arbutus station for the terminus of Phase One of the Broadway subway is located on city-owned property on the northwest corner of the intersection with Arbutus Street, namely 2097 West Broadway. The footprint of the station extends north onto 2096-2090 West 8th, which is also owned by the city.

It is a surprise that 2096 West Broadway, which is located on the southeast corner of the intersection and owned by TransLink since May 2018, plays no part—not even as a construction staging area.

All of the construction staging for the Arbutus station is shown as also being on city-owned land, including parts of the Arbutus Greenway on either side of West Broadway.

The Greenway is a former rail line (now paved over) that was purchased by the city in 2016 from the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

A noteworthy aspect of the staging area on the south side of West Broadway is the way that it is shown to exceed the rectangular bounds of the city’s Greenway (addressed as 7500 Angus Drive) and cuts a triangle into the adjacent property to the east: 2002 West Broadway, a.k.a. the Pinnacle Living on Broadway condo.

As I wrote back in 2016:

‘This condo was finished in 2012 but already in early 2010 it was a discussion point among savvy followers of the Vancouver development scene, on the Skyscraper.com forum, that the plans included a possible SkyTrain station:

“Pinnacle’s “Broadway” development at Maple/Broadway has a provision for a skytrain/rapid transit station on the western part of the site (next to the CPR tracks). The remaining land between the tracks at Arbutus could become any number of things.”‘

That the staging area appears to butt right up against the small, one-storey “provision” on the west side of the condo, raises the possibility that there will be a secondary entrance to the subway on the south side of West Broadway and Arbutus. Click the images to enlarge them.

2 Comments
  1. brouillardesque permalink

    Nice prank by RBC to close on November 31! Great piece.

    Like

    • Oops! Certainly there should be a November 31st but, due to some sort of oversight on the part of our calendar makers, there is not. My mistake. The actual date of departure is November 28th.

      Like

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