A Bad Knight – Advocates Sour On Diesel Fumes As Rental Homes Face Convoluted Setbacks

4426 – 4464 Knight Street & 1406 E 28th Avenue
When we arrived at this event, neither Darren nor I really knew what to expect as it has been six years since a new rental building was proposed on Knight Street. In fact, aside from a few three-storey townhome complexes, most of this road remains lined with single-family housing. That stands in stark contrast to the nearby intersection at Kingsway, where several new buildings are set to join the growing hub around King Edward Village.

As there are plenty of nearby parks, schools, and good bus service, this area could be a wonderful place if not for traffic pollution levels similar to Toronto’s section of North America’s busiest highway. Which explains why those most upset at this event were actually from the advocacy group, Abundant Housing Vancouver. Though they supported the addition of new rental homes in the neighbourhood, these individuals could not understand why renters are continuously forced to live along major arterials.

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Then again, thanks to Councillor Swanson’s recently approved motion (pg 24) to clean up one of our port’s key truck routes, it might become a great place to raise a family. I think the applicant’s realize that, which is why 40% of the homes here have two or more bedrooms, and all are located on the quieter side of the building. That said, they had planned to include townhomes along Knight Street, but this was overruled by city staff.

Which explains the inclusion of these retail spaces, even though this proposal comes under the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy. Some in attendance worried these stores would not have the activity needed to survive, and preferred to see live-work units provided instead. That probably would have changed the look and feel of the building, but I doubt it could have made it any worse than what the city’s guidelines have done.

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Like a similar project on Fraser Street, the taller ceiling heights required by the retail stores, along with the townhomes on the lane, make the structure seem higher when viewed from the east, than it does from the west. Yet, as part of a mess of setbacks, this top floor along Kingsway has been recessed, even though its shadows barely reach the centre line of this wide road.

The treatment of the laneway is even worse, as it appears very complicated with a three storey podium that abruptly drops down to two floors before it is broken up by a loading bay. While the policy failings here are obvious, the design itself still needs a lot work, as the flat appearance and bland colours do not flatter the building. Of course, these are early days, and there will likely be plenty of refinement to come.

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That may even included a large expansion in the near future, as one of the two homes to the south was sold in 2017, and a knock out panel has been included in the parkade. That is unlikely to meet with much opposition, as several of the twenty people who came out to this event were renters. These individuals were eager to move out of the spaces they shared in the neighbourhood, and into homes that offered more privacy.

However, before that happens, this development’s gathering spaces could use some drastic improvement. The indoor amenity seems decent, but the outdoor space feels very cramped. A rooftop amenity would solve this, and provide amazing views, but height restrictions might not allow it. As these information boards reveal, there is a lot to address here. Whether you agree or feel differently, you can make your thoughts now by filling in this survey or sending your comments to Allison Millar at amillar@brookpooni.com before November 5th, 2019.

Applicant Team Information:

Developer Alliance Partners
ArchitectsGBL Architects

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