357 – 475 West 41st Avenue and 325 – 343 West 41st Avenue
It is no secret Vancouver is in the midst of a housing shortage. While most of the Cambie Corridor has had an increase in strata homes, a lack of new rental housing means low and middle income renters have been largely forgotten. Yet that is not the only thing in Vancouver lagging behind, as a lack of hotel rooms has hampered a vital pillar in our city’s economy; the tourism industry.
Currently most hotels are focused around our hospitals, central business district, and links with the outside world, like the Trans-Canada Highway and YVR. As a result, some landlords have chosen to convert their rental properties into shorter term uses, like Airbnb, to service visitors who want to stay near where the want to go. Certainly, this Municipal Town Centre will become one of those destinations.
After all, the Canada Line Station at the intersection of Cambie and 41st Avenue essentially represents a halfway point between Downtown and Airport. As the Bloedel Conservatory, Nat Bailey Stadium, and Van Dusen Botanical Garden are nearby, there are already plenty of things to do here. That will only increase once the
one nine acre park and cultural pavilion at the Oakridge Centre are completed.
To our disappointment, this development does not achieve a similar level of architectural prominence to that community cornerstone, as both look fairly plain. In contrast, their benefit to Vancouver’s renters is anything but ordinary, as the western portion will offer 344 homes, and the building east of Alberta Street will provide another 83. Unfortunately, neither Darren nor I remembered to ask what the applicant had planned for their site at the corner of Cambie and West 41st Ave.
However, more than rental housing will be offered here, as the developer is considering partnering with a hotel operator to provide 78 units of short term accommodation in the podium of the western building. It may surprise some, but this actually aligns with a motion championed by Councillor Fry. Rather than using tax waivers to incentivise rental construction, his plan calls for developers to be allowed to build a percentage of short term rental housing in every project.
Obviously, new retail space will be provided along the arterial road as well, and will continue up the west side of both properties to the rear laneway. A few people raised concerns about traffic levels in that area, as they feel these tight spaces already host a lot of foot and car traffic. Despite those concerns, these individuals wanted to see the amount parking increased, and the lane widened to comfortably allow for two-way traffic.
That said, this opinion only represented a couple of the roughly 35 people who attended the event. I do not think any noticed the few last minutes changes the applicant had made, but had failed to update every board with. Most were simply excited about the revitalization of the area, well, that, and the amount of food available for consumption.
Nonetheless, this relatively small crowd could have a big impact, as the applicant is seeking advice on a few issues. So, whether you support adding hotel space here, would rather see it converted into more rental housing, or just want to be able to relax in an escape room after a day of shopping at the Oakridge Centre, make sure your thoughts are heard by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before July 14th, 2019.
Applicant Team Information:
Developer – Coromandel Properties
Architects – IBI Group
Landscape Architects – West Building – PWL Partnership
Landscape Architects – East Building – PMG Landscape Architects