A look at 564 Beatty Street: Sound heritage preservation? Or too much compromise?

564 Beatty Street

It’s sometimes worth looking back and reviewing developments once they are completed.

A project that involved the addition of 5 floors on top of a heritage building was approved by City Council at a Public Hearing on November 1, 2011. The R.A. Welsh building at 564 Beatty Street received a protected heritage designation in return for a density increase (9.23 FSR from 5 FSR) and a height increase (125 feet from 70 feet). Council also provided $150,000 in façade grants from the 2009 Capital Budget, waived DCLs (Development Cost Levies), and provided up to $3 million worth of tax exemptions over a 10-year period.

Is the addition 564 Beatty Street a good fit? Does it respect the architecture of the heritage building? Or is it a foreign element that is out of context? Did the City make too many compromises in approving this project? Or is it a fair trade-off? We’ve included a number of photos of the building and context in the slideshow below:

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The Heritage Commission did not support the application while the Urban Design Panel was unanimously in favour of the project.

Reliance Properties is currently leasing the building; the applicant behind the project was listed as Jon Stovell, Rossmore Enterprises Ltd.

Additional details on the project can be found under the following links:

Public Hearing (Nov 1, 2011)

November 1, 2011 agenda
Recommendations
Staff report

Urban Design Panel

June 29, 2011 minutes
June 29, 2011 agenda

Heritage Commission

July 11, 2011 minutes (and notations)
July 11, 2011 agenda

Staff recommendations included the following:

C … (a) secure the rehabilitation and long-term preservation of the heritage building at 564 Beatty Street;
(b) vary provisions of the Downtown District Official Development plan to permit an on-site total floor space ratio (FSR) increase from 5.00 FSR to 9.23 FSR, and a maximum building height increase from 70.00 feet to 125.06 feet; and
(c) vary the Vancouver Development Cost Levy By-law No. 9755 to waive requirement of payment of the development cost levy otherwise payable in connection with the project proposed under development permit application no. DE414716;

F. THAT, subject to the approval of Recommendations A and B and to terms, conditions and agreements satisfactory to the Director of Legal Services and to the Director of Planning, Council authorize three façade grants of up to $50,000 each ($150,000 in total) for the 564 Beatty Street heritage building, with funding to be provided from the 2009 Capital Budget;

G …. a Tax Exemption By-law for 564 Beatty Street to exempt it from real property taxation under Part XX (Real- Property Taxation) of the Vancouver Charter in an amount up to a maximum total cumulative exemption of $3,019,986 or for a period of 10 years, whichever is reached first;

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