89-unit development in West Vancouver goes to open court

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Development in a high traffic area presented as “an iconic building along Marine Drive”

A proposal for an eight-storey modern design residential building on the West Coast that will “frame the gateway to West Vancouver” and provide rental accommodation is under public hearing.

Executive Park Limited Partnership (Executive Group) has asked the District of West Vancouver to rezone and develop 657 and 675 Marine Drive and 660 Clyde Avenue to accommodate the construction of an 89-unit residential building.

As part of the proposal, the existing office building at 660 Clyde Avenue, known as the “Woyat-Bowie” building, will be protected as a heritage resource.

The development site is on the northeast corner of Marine Drive and Taylor Way and is accessible from Clyde Avenue to the north and Sixth Street to the east.

Of the 89 housing units offered, 68 would be market condominiums and 21 would be rental housing, guaranteed by a housing agreement. The proposal also includes improvements to the public realm, including pedestrian links and plazas, a separate bike path and parkette, and new landscaping at the corner of Marine Drive and Taylor Way.

The building’s residents’ enjoyment areas will offer children’s play equipment, a water feature and gardening areas. The site will also include 112 underground parking spaces, 93 bicycle lockers and level 2 charging for electric vehicles.

With a modern west coast design, the development is described as fitting into its urban setting as an ‘iconic building along Marine Drive’.

The “Woyat-Bowie” building at 660 Clyde Avenue, designed by West Coast architects Fred Hollingsworth and Barry Downs and constructed in 1966, was part of the inspiration behind the design of the new building. The building was added to the West Vancouver Community Heritage Register in 2019.

“[It] is important because it is an ancient and intact example of a commercial building, for its expression of West Coast aesthetics in a non-residential form, ”said Lisa Berg, senior community planner for the district, in a report to the board.

She said materials such as brick masonry and heavy lumber in the design of the new building were compatible with the heritage building at the north end of the site.

Berg added that the unique “J” shape of the development site allows for a terraced building that expands and divides into different elements.

“The eastern part of the building is eight storeys with a separating west wing and six to four storey terraces and a north wing extending to two story townhouses,” she said. stated in the council report.

The proposal aligns with the council’s sustainable building policy, which guides rezoning requests to accelerate the BC Step Code and the low-carbon energy system path and includes other green building features to reduce demands. of energy.

Located near the Park Royal shopping center and the Capilano River, Berg said the site is part of an evolving community focused on public transport, close to jobs, commercial services, public amenities, utilities. rapid transit, recreational opportunities and comprising a variety of housing types. .

“The building will frame the gateway to West Vancouver across from the West Royal Towers and Gateway Residences as part of a vibrant mixed-use, transit-oriented urban center,” said Berg.

In summary, staff recommended that council support the proposal, stating that the request is in line with the Marine Drive regional plan and “will positively contribute to the Clyde Avenue area”.

Council decided to go ahead with the proposal, voting in favor of first reading of three rule recommendations, with Councilor Nora Gambioli noting that she saw no reason why he should not go. in open court.

“It supports our local plan and our official community plan,” she said. “Not to mention the needs of the region.

“It offers 21 purpose-built rental units that we know we need, protects an important heritage building and provides a sizable amount of cash and in-kind contributions to community amenities. And I really like the fact that parking is decoupled for rental units and strata units, and that there are carpooling units offered.

One question that Councilor Marcus Wong raised during the meeting was whether a deadline shorter than 24 months to submit a building permit could be set for the applicant, staff responding that the council could ask them to shorten, maybe 12 months.

“I think some of the concerns I’ve heard around the table are that a project gets approved and then it stays there,” he said.

Com. Craig Cameron agreed with Wong, saying he wished there was “some kind of incentive for the developer to apply for the building permit and move on”, mentioning how long it took to start the Evelyn housing project on Sentinel Hill. .

“It has now been about 13 to 14 years since [the previous council] approved Evelyn Drive, and although there has been quite a bit of construction there, we are still waiting, ”he said. “At Evelyn Drive, it will be 20 years before we see any sign of these rental units.

“We simply cannot afford, in the midst of a rental or affordability crisis, to leave land planted with weeds, doing nothing, economically, environmentally, socially, for the district. “

He added that he would also like to see proposals to reduce parking ratios.

“It’s already a congested intersection with traffic,” Cameron said. “Anything that we do out there to reduce the incentive to have additional cars, we should be doing, for a number of reasons. It is a district very rich in public transport. Services are nearby, recreations are nearby, so we should. “

The development proposal is expected to go to a public hearing on October 19.

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