British Columbia Minister David Eby declares his support for the South Granville station tower project

In a rare move, a senior provincial government cabinet official has explicitly declared support for the private proposal to build a mixed-use tower with affordable housing directly above the SkyTrain’s future South Granville station.

David Eby, BC Attorney General and BC Minister Responsible for Housing, has made it clear that Vancouver City Council should approve PCI Developments’ rezoning application to allow for a 410-foot-tall tower and 39 floors at 1477 West Broadway, northeast corner of Granville Street and West Broadway.

Construction is already well advanced on the proposed five-story retail and office concept, previously approved through a development permit application under existing zoning. The current construction is designed to allow significant vertical extension to allow for much greater density and mixed uses.

The 39-story tower concept includes 223 secure rental units, 80% of which are market rental units and 45 units are sub-market units under the city’s Moderate Income Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP).

On the lower floors below the residential uses, there would also be 100,000 square feet of office space, a 22,000 square foot grocery store, and over 7,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Form and uses of 1477 West Broadway at the future South Granville Station. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

The provincial government had previously entered into an agreement with PCI Developments to fully integrate the South Granville Station entrance into the building’s prominent corner with the intersection. This includes the developer’s provisions for interior construction area for station concourse space for what is expected to be a high-traffic station.

PCI Developments is requesting rezoning at this time so that construction of the tower can be synchronized and timed with the completion and opening in 2025 of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension, effectively minimizing impacts to transit riders .

If City Council were to reject the tower proposal and fall back on the previously approved five-story building, the station entrance would still be filled in 2025, but that would likely put the provincial government and TransLink in a difficult position at the time. future during the negotiations. with the developers on other possibilities for integrating stations under development.

City council is expected to make a decision on the rezoning application this evening in what will likely be the third and final public hearing date for the project.

“The development of mixed-use buildings such as this, which densify the approaches to rapid transit stations, is generally recognized as a best practice in urban design, as well as an optimal use of transport infrastructure. in common. Accordingly, the province actively supports proposals such as these, which align and support the government’s goals for affordable housing, climate change and transportation infrastructure,” Eby said in an open letter to City Council last week. last, while noting that he addresses them in his capacity. as British Columbia’s minister responsible for housing.

“I encourage the City to urgently move forward with the required zoning so that these proposed new rental homes can be built as soon as possible.”

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

Eby made the comments ahead of his planned legislative changes after the October 2022 municipal elections that will require BC municipal governments to approve and accelerate housing development. But it’s unclear whether the provincial government will also make the same changes to the Vancouver Charter, which governs the City of Vancouver, at the same time. Other municipalities in British Columbia are governed by the Local Government Act.

Earlier this month, BC Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming also introduced legislation to give the BC Transportation Financing Authority the legal ability to acquire land in next to transit hubs to build more housing and community benefits, not just land for direct infrastructure purposes.

Both legislative amendments show the provincial government’s clear direction with maximizing transit investments with high-density housing and nearby jobs.

Moreover, such types of development are necessary for the Millennium Line Broadway extension. In the Supporting Policy Agreement for the Millennium Line Broadway Extension Project, signed between the City of Vancouver and TransLink in 2018, the city government must advance “the principles of community-driven design guidelines on transit in the planning, design and implementation” by allowing “the concentration of homes, jobs and key activities within walking distance of project stops at an appropriate level to support the ‘investment in public transport’.

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

The proposal also has the support of MPP for the riding, George Heyman of Vancouver-Fairview.

“My support for this project is based on the strength of the provisions of the MIRHPP and the strong support of the protections they offer to tenants. I believe the urgency of the housing crisis necessitates this type of response, which will add much-needed purpose-built rental stock to the constituency – and more importantly, provide dozens of units at below-market rents “, reads an open letter to Heyman City Council last week.

“I hear from many voters who don’t own a car advocating for active transportation policies. I’m happy to support transit-oriented development with plenty of bike storage, as it helps reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions associated with long commutes. I also note that the creation of a grocery store would be welcomed by local residents because the southern district of Granville has fewer grocery stores than many other districts.

The proposal was controversial. Opponents, largely area residents, generally said the following about the project: too big and too dense; blocks views of the mountains; creates shadows; an affront to the character of the neighborhood; increases pressure on area parks, community amenities and schools; environmentally unsustainable; and increases traffic in the area.

Some have also suggested that the project should not be considered until the City Council finalizes the Broadway plan, which is expected shortly thereafter in May or June. However, the form and uses of the tower match the typology and uses proposed for the area around South Granville Station under the Broadway Plan.

The PCI Developments project and other area towers are also possible as the area is not within the wide view cone of Queen Elizabeth Park. If approved, this tower would be the tallest building in the central Broadway corridor.

Proponents generally claim that the project is in the right place by providing transit-oriented development, provides the right height and density, creates significant rental housing to help cope with the difficult rental market with a rate of he 1% vacancy generates more jobs where people live, and that there should be many more similar projects next to new metro stations.

At the time of writing this article, the city council received 470 responses in favor of the project and 367 against. So far, there have been around 60 public speakers at the public hearing, with dozens more likely tonight.

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station Tower

Artist’s rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Partnership Musson Cattell Mackey/PCI Developments)

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