The Development Permit Board is accepting written comments from the public regarding a 26-storey tower proposal beside Waterfront Station until Thursday, January 22nd. The City’s website contains a number of drawings and perspectives from the applicant. The proposed tower would have a total height of 127.1m and a floor area of 37,953 m2. The notification letter from the City does not provide a FSR calculation for the property.
The proponent is Cadillac Fairview (“one of North America’s largest owners, operators and developers of commercial real estate,” and wholly-owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which invests to secure the retirement income of 307,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. John M. Sullivan is President & Chief Executive Officer).
The review of the proposal is scheduled to take place on Monday, March 9th at 3pm; interested speakers will have an opportunity to sign up and address the Development Permit Board. An open question is whether the DPB has the authority to approve this project. The existing Downtown District Official Development Plan (DD) allows for a maximum floor space ratio of 9 and a basic maximum height of 91.4m (and up to137.2m).
The zoning document also notes: “View Corridor height limits also apply.” The minutes for the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee meeting of November 19, 2014 states, “height of the building exceeded the Council-imposed view cone by 13 metres.” Should the consideration of any building that intruded into a view cone even get past “first base” in the approval process? [Update] It appears that the plans were subsequently revised on December 5, 2014, with a top elevation of 127.1m above sea level and hence may be just below the upper limit of the view cone (E1 – Cambie Bridge) by a few metres. However, the views of the harbour from the Vancouver Lookout would still be impacted by the proposed tower. It’s worth noting that the DP Board does have the ability to cut the tower height to 91.4m (to the basic maximum height).
One of the controversial aspects about this proposal is the context. How would the heritage value of the adjacent buildings be impacted by a glass tower? What are the impacts on the pedestrian realm?
A piece by former Director of Planning Ray Spaxman on the PriceTags blog is highly critical of the proposed development:
The Martian Landing – 2 (Jan 20, 2015)
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun notes, “Vancouver architect and real estate consultant Michael Geller said the proposal just doesn’t work for the space”:
Critics pan the ‘blob’ as Waterfront Tower proposal proves divisive (Bethany Lindsay, Vancouver Sun, Jan 20, 2015)
Harbour Centre view (tower base would be located in parking lot, lower part of the photo, in centre:
Protected View Cones: