Permit Board review of 12-storey highrise in Downtown Eastside (Monday, January 25, 3pm)

Elevations 288 East Hastings

288 East Hastings elevations (east and north)

A proposed 12-storey highrise at East Hastings and Gore Street will be reviewed at the Development Permit Board meeting on Monday, January 25, 2016. The review will begin at 3pm and speakers can sign up anytime prior to the start of the meeting by following the instructions on the Development Permit Board’s website.

The City’s webpage for 288 East Hastings notes the following:

Under the site’s existing DEOD zoning, the application is “conditional” so it may be permitted; however, it requires the decision of the Development Permit Board.

As part of Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, the zoning was changed in 2014 and the site was upzoned; this proposal under the updated zoning no longer has to go to City Council. The building proposed for 288 East Hastings would be 116 feet (35.5m) in height, with a floor space ratio of 7.0, and have the following breakdown between commercial, social housing and market housing units:

288 East Hastings Stats

The commercial floor space would be limited to the ground floor and part of the mezzanine. The social housing units are planned for mezzanine (partial) to level 5. Market housing units are located on levels 6 and up. A number of the social housing units are quite small, the units are mostly around 255 square feet in size (or 23.7 square metres); the largest social housing unit is 334 sq ft (31 m2). The 68 market housing units include not only studio units, but also one and two bedroom suites (units sizes range from ~357 to 810 sq ft or 31.2 to 76 m2). The City counts a total of 104 ‘social housing units’ (mix of 35 shelter rate, 35 HILs rate, 34 affordable market). A total of 155 parking stalls are proposed.

Shared access for all residents is planned for the building. The three elevators would be available for use by all residents; the same applies for the stairwells. This appears to be a step in the right direction. Perhaps the City of Vancouver has learned from the backlash against the misstep of allowing “poor doors” at another mixed housing project at Davie and Jervis (CBC: Social housing to have separate entrance to Vancouver high-rise, May 5, 2015).

The Carnegie Community Action Plan (CCAP) is organizing a rally and news conference at City Hall at 2:30pm (453 West 12th Avenue) prior to the DPB meeting on Monday, January 25th. CCAP has a post about their analysis of the new tower proposal; the post has additional background on the partnership between BC Housing and the Wall Corporation. Concerns have been raised about retail gentrification and the displacement of low-income residents. The following excerpt from CCAP summarizes the opposition to the proposed highrise:

This is a proposed development by Wall Corporation and BC Housing that has already displaced six Chinese businesses that serve the low income community. The current plan is for BC Housing to put $15-16 million into an 11 story project with only 34 units of welfare rate housing, 70 units with rents up to $912 and 68 units at market rents. The project would have a garden for the richer tenants on the top floor and a garden for the poor lower down. Our demand is for 100% welfare/pension rate housing and stores that serve the low income Chinese speaking community. Come and join us this Monday

Additional information about the proposal can be found on the City set to approve first Downtown Eastside tower with 60-percent social-housing requirement (Travis Lupick, Jan 22, 2016).

The City’s website has an information page on 288 East Hasting Street (DE419659): Further details on the design can also be found in the document Appendix C & D288 East Hastings Street and in the main staff report (288 East Hastings Street). The firm Endall Elliot Associates submitted the design on behalf of Wall Financial.

The market housing levels are slightly higher than the social housing levels (9’6′ vs. 9′ floor to floor height, a 6″ or 15 cm difference). For a comparison of the floor layout, here’s one level of the market:

292 East Hastings rental level

The market housing levels (6-9) contain fewer and larger units. As well, the market units have balconies (a feature missing from the social housing units). There will likely be higher occupancy measured in terms of residents per dwelling for the market housing (the original drawings are here, the reproductions are cropped and optimized for space):

292 East Hastings market levels

Who makes the decision on whether or not to approve the project? Senior members of City Staff hold positions on the board and will take a vote at the end of the meeting:


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