1550 Alberni, 43-storey Westbank tower in West End: City awaits public questions, comments.

1550-Alberni-Street-2 image Kengo Kuma, Westbank, small

Image: Kengo Kuma / Westbank Projects Corporation

(Updated, more questions. Open house is over, but public comments are still open, and rezoning public hearing is not yet announced.) A 43-storey tower with a floor space ratio (FSR) of 14 is being proposed at 1550 Alberni, just a block south of West Georgia. The developer is Westbank Projects Corp, with financier Peterson Investment Group, and architect Kengo Kuma.

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OPEN HOUSE 
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 5 – 8 pm
2nd Floor, 1550 Alberni Street

Official rezoning information (City website): Click here.

Public comment form (City): Click here.

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Below we provide official information from the City website, plus links to some media coverage. For people attending the open house, we are sure people living and working in the area will have their own issues and questions, but here are some questions that might be worth asking the proponents and City of Vancouver staff to answer.

HEIGHT AND DENSITY

The proposed rezoning is for 14 FSR – a massive increase in building bulk and a density that appears to exceed anything approved or built to date in the West End. 

Questions for City staff include:

  • Please explain the exact details of the density permitted under the existing zoning, the density that is being requested, and the rationale for this increase in density.
  • Is heritage density being transferred to this site?   If so, from what and where?
  • What height and density would have been permitted here (1) BEFORE the West End Community Plan was adopted in 2013, and (2) NOW under the West End Community Plan?
  • How was it decided that this is an appropriate density to be considered for this site?
  • Given the significant increase in the bulk of the building arising from the large balconies proposed, please explain the 19% “FSR exclusion” proposed for balconies in the calculation of the floor space ratio for the project.  Other recent projects in the West End have had a rather generous 12% exclusion for balcony space. What City policy permits a 19% exclusion and could it be excessively generous for the developer?
  • How does view cone 3.2.1. affect this site, and are there other nearby view cones that affect the site? What is the impact of this tower proposal on views from south of False Creek? (especially from Fairview, Kitsilano and Shaughnessy)?

BUILDING SITING:

The bulk of this building will have significant shadow impacts on public streets and sidewalks, as well as nearby existing residential buildings.  Privacy will be impacted in surrounding buildings.

  • How are the objectives of this developer being balanced with the desire for access to light by the public and nearby residents?
  • What setback is proposed from the rear lane? An objective of the West End plan is to improve the rear lanes and make them more comfortable. How is a building wall 400 feet tall extending from the edge of the rear lane making the lane more comfortable?

COMMUNITY AMENITY CONTRIBUTION:

  • Most of the development sites in the West End were “pre-zoned” to allow for development along corridors such as Robson Street and Davie Street.  For sites such as this one, a community amenity contribution is anticipated to help fund needed amenities in the neighbourhood.  What is the amenity contribution arising from this site, and to what objectives will it be directed?
  • Housing affordability and improvements to local services, such as the Joe Fortes Library, were key concerns expressed through the West End Plan process.  How is this project assisting with these objectives?

SEISMIC DESIGN

  • What features make this building seismically sound?

NOTICE OF REZONING APPLICATION AND OPEN HOUSE1550 Alberni open house card for 3-Nov-2015

This proposal is for a 43-storey residential building with commercial uses at street level, including:

  • a maximum building height of 133 m (436 ft.);
  • a total of 188 residential units;
  • a floor space ratio (FSR) of 14; and
  • 271 underground parking spaces.

This rezoning application is being considered under the Rezoning Policy for the West End and the West End Community Plan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO SUBMIT COMMENTS:
Webpage: vancouver.ca/1550alberni
or Contact: Linda Gillan, Rezoning Planner at
Linda.Gillan@vancouver.ca or 604-673-8281

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BASIC INFORMATION FROM CITY WEBSITE

Rezoning Application – 1550 Alberni Street

1550 ALBERNI notification-area

The City of Vancouver has received an application to rezone 1550 Alberni Street from DD (Downtown) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal is for a 43-storey residential building with commercial uses at street level, including:

    • a maximum building height of 133 m (436 ft.);
    • a total of 188 residential units;
    • a floor space ratio (FSR) of 14; and
    • 271 underground parking spaces.

This rezoning application is being considered under the Rezoning Policy for the West End and the
West End Community Plan.

A community open house is scheduled from 5:00-8:00pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 1550 Alberni Street (2nd Floor) with the applicant team and City staff available to answer questions.

You can provide comments by filling out our online feedback form.

Application (September 11, 2015)

Notification

Links

VanMap View View the location using VanMap ( What is VanMap? )

To view additional plans please make an appointment with the rezoning planner.

City Contact: Linda Gillan, Rezoning Planner, linda.gillan@vancouver.ca, 604.673.8281

Applicant Contact: Gregory Borowski, Merrick Architecture, 604.683.4131 ex. 125

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SELECTED READING

“Pre-application” open house for 1550 Alberni Street, could be 50 storeys: Monday, June 29, 5 pm (CityHallWatch). This event in June 2015 was a promo event, not a public open house. Here we mention the huge land value escalation at this site.
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/westbank-peterson-open-house-1550-alberni-june-29/

Vancouver House developer Westbank secures new West End outpost: Company buys office building slated for redevelopment for $47 million (by Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun, 8-April-2015)
http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Vancouver+House+developer+Westbank+secures+West+outpost/10955914/story.html

One thought on “1550 Alberni, 43-storey Westbank tower in West End: City awaits public questions, comments.

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