Vancouver city council moved to adopt LEED Gold as the new standard for rezonings as of July 2010 with LEED Gold certification in early 2011.  Director of Planning Brent Toderian’s blog post is here and the staff report is here.

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5590 Balaclava



Shades of Arthur Erickson’s Evergreen Building perhaps, but this approved project by Emaar Canada at 41st and Balaclava in Kerrisdale hasn’t garnered much press to date. Curious, considering the design was created by Adrian Gill + Gordon Smith Architecture, the architects for the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building.  Additional detailed information is available on the architect’s site here.  Hope it gets built!

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Follow up article on yesterday’s Council decisions regarding the Planning Department’s recommendation that four sites it identified on the downtown peninsula be allowed to penetrate existing view corridors and increased building heights in Chinatown/Gastown.

via CBC News – British Columbia – Vancouver rejects downtown high-rise proposals.

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Nothing gets people’s knickers in a knot faster than creating affordability by reducing unit size.  Back in the early 90s, VLC (now Concert Properties) caused serious commotion when it sought approval for the inclusion of  300+ square foot studio “micro-suites” in a proposed rental project on Seymour now called 600 Drake. Rather than welcoming the introduction of a new choice for combatting the declining affordability of rental accommodation, VLC and the micro-suite concept were vilified in the press. Battery hen coop comparisons were common, as were armchair psychologists’ predictions of increasing suicidal tendencies amongst micro-suite residents.  Council of the day bravely forged ahead and the project was built.

The controversy has been rekindled by Reliance Holding’s announcement that it was proceeding with the renovation of the Burns Block east of the Woodward’s project in the DTES into thirty 275 square foot “micro-loft” rental suites.  Frances Bula’s article in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail is here.

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Rising to New Heights – Part 3

Brent Toderian, Director of Planning, sells his staff report recommendations in this follow up article by Doug Ward of the Vancouver Sun.

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Rising to New Heights – Part 2

Back in December, I posted a link to Frances Bula’s article about the current consideration being given at Vancouver’s City Hall for a limited number of “intrusions” into the sacred view corridors.  In this follow up article in yesterday’s Vancouver Sun, Tiffany Crawford discusses the recommendations that were tabled in a staff report to Council on January 5th.  The article is here.  At the time I posted this today, there were already more than a hundred comments posted on the Sun website (why is it that the uninformed always seem to have the most to say…?) which is indicative of how passionately we Vancouverites are about our views and building heights.

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Vancouver engineers its own urban dream – latimes.com

An outsider’s perspective on the current state of the city, Vancouverism and growth in Surrey.

In this guest editorial to today’s Vancouver Sun, Jean Swanson, coordinator of the Carnegie Community Action Project, adds another voice to the discussion around the opening of the Woodward’s project.

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Despite howls of protest from residents at the Shangri-La, council granted Holborn Developments an additional 16′ of height in exchange for additional DCL’s, community amenities and reportedly $14.0 M in transferable heritage density.  That will put the Ritz-Carlton tower at 616′ versus 646′ for the Shangri-La. Frances Bula’s reporting on the Council meeting is here.

Original Approved Design for Ritz-Carlton Vancouver

Original Approved Design for Ritz-Carlton Vancouver

Holborn applied to amend the existing CD-1 zoning for this site to allow an additional 80,000 SF of residential FSR, increasing the total FSR from 17.74 to 20.8.  It also sought to increase the number of residential units (located on floors 25 – 67) from 124 to 193 and hotel rooms from 127 to 176.

This project is shaping up to be something quite different from what was originally envisioned. Construction has yet to start, so stay tuned for more changes ahead (brand, developer…?).

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