Next up for demolition death row. Hundred year-old houses on 1200 block Hornby, for Burrard Place tower

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With this post we are marking the impending demolition of two historic houses and death a grand old maple tree in on the 1200 block of Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver. The buildings were built in 1904 and are two of the last remaining houses of their type in a dense part of downtown, filling up with high-rises. Reliance Properties is developing the property with Jim Pattison Developments as part of a million-square-foot project that will take up most of the block bordered by Burrard, Davie, Drake and Hornby streets. Three buildings will be constructed, with the largest at 550 feet becoming the third-tallest residential tower in Vancouver (after the Shangri-La and Trump Tower). We estimate the market value of this development at well over a billion dollars, including the ultra high-end condo tower. Reliance offered to give the houses away for free to anyone who would move them, but apparently there were no takers, and instead, the firm is to pay $6.8 million to the city’s heritage density bank. Meanwhile, a petition to save the tree fell on deaf ears, but “dozens of new trees will be planted in its place when the project is completed in 2019.”

Most development comes with trade-offs and this project presents a perfect example. Multiply that by thousands of decisions by businesses and elected officials every year, year after year, and there you have it, the city you see today. What will Vancouver look like in another ten years in terms of heritage buildings, diversity?

1200 block Hornby


“You can have two downtown Vancouver houses for free — if you can move them”
(National Post, Postmedia News, 24-Dec-2014)

Excerpts: VANCOUVER — Here’s something you don’t expect to see in the “Free” section of the classified ads: Two detached houses in downtown Vancouver. There’s a catch, though: The homes don’t come with real estate. But if you‘re willing and able to relocate one or both of the century-old wooden dwellings on Hornby Street near Davie, the property owner is happy to part with them for free. “It’s home free,” laughed developer Jon Stovell….Stovell’s company, Reliance Properties Ltd., is developing the property with Jim Pattison Developments Ltd., as part of a large project that will take up most of a downtown block bordered by Burrard, Davie, Drake and Hornby streets. When finished, the Burrard Place development will include a mix of residential, office and public space, and the third-tallest residential tower in Vancouver….But for now, a pair of side-by-side, two-and-a-half-storey wooden houses sit on the 1200-block of Hornby Street. Originally built as single family homes by the same owner in 1904, they are two of the last remaining houses of their type in a dense part of downtown increasingly filled with high-rises….. Barton [renter] has lived there for almost seven years now, and currently shares the place with five other tenants. …The next-door house is home to 10 tenants, mostly foreigners on working holiday visas, said resident Helga Husmann….

The two houses have been identified as having heritage value, but are not currently listed on the Vancouver Heritage RegisterStovell said he hopes someone will come up with a plan to remove the houses and find a new location for them. “We’re big supporters of heritage,” said Stovell. “We would be delighted if someone could figure out a way to use them.” But if not, Stovell said, the houses will likely be demolished, though that day could still be three or four years away. According to the houses’ entries in the B.C. Register of Historic Places, each home has “value for its longevity as a rare survivor of early 20th century residential development in Vancouver’s Downtown South neighbourhood.”

“New Vancouver condo tower knocking out beloved neighbourhood tree”: ‘This tree has history and it’s part of the neighbourhood,’ says Vancouverite Katherine Lauriente
(By Tina Lovgreen, Cathy Kearney, CBC News 14-Oct-2015)

Excerpts: A Vancouver resident is doing all she can to save an old maple tree that’s being uprooted to make room for Vancouver’s third tallest residential building. “I know this tree is slated to be destroyed and I feel sick to my stomach,” said Katherine Lauriente. Lauriente drives past the grand tree on the 1200 block of Hornby Street everyday on her way to work, and it holds a special place in her heart. “The tree has history and it’s part of the neighbourhood,” she said. “Concrete walls and 55-storey buildings, there’s no humanity in them.” … Lauriente worries that too many trees in the city are being taken down for towers. “Vancouver has become soulless. It’s condo after condo and there are no neighbourhoods,” she said… Lauriente has even started an online petition to change the destiny of this old tree, but the City of Vancouver has already given the green light to the developer. Done deal: The tower’s developer said the trees need to be removed during the first phase of the redevelopment so construction can begin on the residential tower that will take up a full city block.

… “Ultimately in the next phase, Tower C will go right where the tree is,” said John Stovell, president of Reliance Properties. Stovell said dozens of new trees will be planted in its place when the project is completed in 2019. The eighth floor of the building is also slated to have plenty of green space. But that isn’t good enough for Lauriente. “Rows of concrete without trees or with little tiny trees, is not the same thing,” she said.


“Pattison to put Meinhardt grocery store at Burrard Gateway”
(by Glen Korstrom, Business in Vancouver, 16-Oct-2015)

Excerpt: The Jim Pattison Group wants to put a Meinhardt Fine Foods grocery store in the one-million-square-foot Burrard Gateway project that it is developing in partnership with Reliance Properties in the southern half of the block bounded by Burrard, Drake, Hornby and Davie streets. “Meinhardt’s has an offer to lease with the partner developers of One Burrard Place,” Buy-Low Foods LLP president Dan Bregg confirmed to Business in Vancouver October 16. The 4,300-square-foot Meinhardt store would go in the 500,000-square-foot, 444-unit One Burrard Place residential tower for which a presentation centre opened earlier this month. The tower is slated to start construction in January. Buy-Low Foods is the division of the Jim Pattison Group (JPG) that includes grocery store banners such as its namesake chain, Nesters Market, Van-Whole Produce and Associated Grocers. It differs from Pattison’s Overwaitea division of grocery stores by tending to have non-union workers and smaller stores.

The developers are marketing the One Burrard Place tower, which will be at the northwest corner of Hornby and Drake streets, as having 60 floors. The structure will only have 53, however, because it will not have a 13th floor or any floors that end in a four, Reliance Properties president Jon Stovell told BIV October 16. Other buildings that are part of the project include a 135,000-square-foot office building at the corner of Burrard and Drake streets and what the developers now call Tower C, which is mid-block on Hornby Street. The 13-storey office tower is expected to start construction in late 2016 so both it and One Burrard Place can be complete by spring 2019, Stovell said. The 35-storey Tower C will likely start construction in 2017 and is expected to have a full-sized grocery store…




Burrard Place development to replace former car dealership

22-Dec-2014 Burrard Place development to replace former car dealership (by Peter Meiszner (Global TV) with 2:04 video)

Excerpt: Almost an entire city block in downtown Vancouver is being prepped for a massive new development. The location is likely familiar: the site of the old downtown Toyota dealership on Burrard Street. The dealership will be torn down and the site redeveloped into “Burrard Place,” featuring the third tallest residential tower in downtown Vancouver, 800 homes, and a new Toyota dealership. The development is meant to be a gateway to the growing neighbourhood of Downtown South; 34 blocks that will soon be the densest residential neighbourhood in Vancouver. While many of the 89 people who attended two public hearings on the project support the plans, others raised concerns about construction noise, traffic, and the loss of the two historic single family homes on the propertyBoth homes will be offered free to anyone wants to relocate them. If that doesn’t happen, the developers are contributing $6.8 million to the city’s heritage density bank to allow for demolition.




Heritage Conservation: “City Council recognizes the tremendous value in Vancouver’s historically and culturally significant buildings, monuments, and other sites. Because of this, Council oversees a comprehensive heritage management program to protect, restore, and rehabilitate as many sites as possible. The City’s heritage management program has three main components: Heritage management plan, heritage register, and public education.”


Vancouver’s Urban Forest Strategy: “Thank you to the thousands of planting partners who are growing our urban forest as we strive to plant 150,000 trees by 2020.”  “The City is developing an urban forest strategy for Vancouver, which will provide tools for growing and maintaining a healthy, resilient urban forest for future generations. Vancouver’s urban forest includes every tree in our city – on streets, in parks, public spaces, and back yards. Our urban forest plays important environmental and social roles: it cleans the air, absorbs rainwater, provides bird habitat, and improves our health and well-being. We recognize there are competing values and objectives in dealing with trees. The new strategy will provide a clear and balanced approach to protecting and expanding the urban forest in our city.”

See also: “In the Garden: Managing Vancouver’s urban forest” (by Steve Whysall, Vancouver Sun, 11-Nov-2015). Excerpt:  The city’s overall tree canopy has shrunk by five per cent from 23 to 18 per cent over the last two decades. In a bid to reverse that trend and start to increase the urban forest and its overall tree canopy, the city aims to plant 150,000 new trees by 2020. … Tree removal has been a big reason for the loss of trees. Many have been removed to make way for new construction. The city’s tree bylaw does require that if a mature tree is removed, a new tree should be planted in its place, but this rule doesn’t always work as effectively as it should. “When a big tree is taken down, we lose a lot of tree canopy. But we are also seeing smaller trees mature and develop and that growth accounts for about a three per cent (per year) increase in tree canopy,” says Stephen.



One oddity during the City’s approval process was that a City staff report inadvertently let it be known (Nov 29, 2010 staff report) that a 54-storey tower was being negotiated behind the scenes even before the Vancouver Views policy was adopted (Jan 20, 2011) and higher buildings policy was amended  to allow for the eventual 53 or 55 storeys (Feb 1, 2011).

Separate but equally interesting is that the developer is advertising the tallest tower as 60 storeys, when it will only physically have 53 storeys. But one wonders if truth in advertising laws apply here, which are intended to protect the public from false adversiting, and also might wonder about the integrity of the marketers.



Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s