Proposal to build tallest office tower in Vancouver at 524 feet: Oxford Properties

1133 Melville tower rezoningA rezoning proposal has been submitted to the City of Vancouver to construct a 524 foot (160m) tall office building at 1133 Melville Street. This building would have a Floor Space Ratio of 22.65 and a total floor area of 658,687 square feet (61,194 m2). A total of 287 underground parking spots would also be included on 5 levels below grade.

Current zoning for the site allows for a maximum 300 foot (91.4m) tall tower with a FSR of 9.0. The design includes a total of 33 storeys. Office buildings tend to have a much higher floor to floor height than residential towers; the proposed floor to floor height is 4.1 metres (or 13.45 feet vs. typical residential floor heights of 8.7′ – 9′). It’s unclear what the proposed Community Amenity Contributions would be. A Public Open House is planned for September of 2015. The rezoning is being put forward by Toronto-based Oxford Properties with a design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of New York and local firm Kassian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. Further details on the rezoning application can be found on the City’s website.

What are the impacts on views?

Apart from the views from Queen Elizabeth Park, the overall impact on the skyline would be somewhat localized. The City’s dome shaped skyline policy tries to put higher buildings in the centre of a height limiting ‘dome’ that peaks in the Central Business District. The Shangri-La (659′) and the Trump Tower (616′) are nearby and at the top of the current ‘dome’. The impact of the proposed tower at 1133 Melville on the overall city skyline won’t be as pronounced as the 550′ tall Burrard Gateway (Hornby & Drake) or the 509′ tall B.I.G. “Vancouver House” (Pacific & Howe). The Burrard Gateway and Vancouver House are both located close to False Creek and break the City’s dome shaped skyline policy.

Who is behind the scenes? Oxford Properties is a private company with Blake Hutcheson as CEO. (http://www.oxfordproperties.com/corp/Web/ownership-governance.aspx). Wikipedia has a concise summary:

Established in 1960 is a global real estate owner, investor, developer and property manager with a portfolio of office, retail, multi-residential and hotel assets. Wholly owned by OMERS, the company has offices across Canada, New York and London, UK. The organization has 1,400 employees and approximately $20 billion of real assets that it manages for itself and on behalf of its co-owners and investment partners. Oxford’s portfolio of properties represents more than 50 million square feet of office, retail, hotel, industrial, land and multi-residential assets in key markets across Canada. Some of its most recognized assets include Royal Bank Plaza, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Centennial Place and Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) bought Oxford Properties for CAN$1.5 billion. At that time, January 2003, Oxford stopped offering its securities to the public and surrendered its letters on the TSX, OXG.DB.   Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Properties

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