(Update May 14, 11 am: A realtor informed us late last night that “The building at Main and Keefer is not for sale.” CityHallWatch had earlier learned about a live link to a detailed prospectus by commercial realtor Cushman & Wakefield. But apparently it was from 2013, and the current owner reportedly has no intention of selling at the moment. We do not have any further information on the history of this listing. However, the high level of concern and interest we observed over the past two days reconfirmed the public’s passion for protecting the heritage and culture and character of the Chinatown neighbourhood. And those concerns are justified in view of the City of Vancouver’s approvals of dramatic changes to the neighbourhood and approvals for blockbusting tower developments by prominent developers.)
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Vancouver’s Chinatown is about to lose a little more of its character.
Four lots at the northeast corner of Main Street and Keefer are for sale. Cushman & Wakefield is advertising the properties at 532 – 536 Main as a 12,840 square foot (107′ x 120′) lot assembly. The site can be rezoned to a maximum building height of 120′ under the HA-1A zoning changes made during the Historic Area Height Review in 2011. The sales package also indicate that a floor space ratio of 6.9 could be achieved on this site. There is no maximum FSR on the site under current zoning, but rather density is limited by height and setbacks. The site currently houses 6 retail tenants.
The redevelopment of this site may lead to further gentrification in Chinatown. Just across the street is a new residential tower that made headlines when a Starbucks opened on the ground floor. 17-storey and 16-storey towers are now going up on the block kitty corner to this site.
There’s no heritage designation for the façade of 536 Main Street, and hence no heritage protection; it’s fair game for redevelopment under the current rules. Will the sale of the property lead to the demolition of another signature building in historic Chinatown?