Urban Design Panel Supports A Luxurious Tribute To A Pillar Of Kerrisdale’s Community Character

6103 – 6191 West Boulevard – DP-2019-00404
As our recent absence demonstrates, sometimes Hannah and I just aren’t able to attend every civic meeting. So, in a way, it’s fortunate that this project along the Arbutus Greenway has faced an open house, as well as a review by the Urban Design Panel and Vancouver Heritage Commission. While I’ll trust the official minutes accurately capture the later advisory panel’s support (pg 4), I find it strange that city staff reiterated the same concerns at the UDP.

In fact, the only reason this was brought before the panel is because the project has been granted an extra .25 FSR, in exchange for preserving the 90-year-old Stanley Edward Peters Block. I imagine most know that building better as the neighbour of the Kerrisdale Lumber Co, which won’t be preserved in this redevelopment. Still, the former’s historic importance is clear, as it’s named after an Australian immigrant who became known as “Kerrisdale’s Home and Homesite Specialist.” (pg 3)

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Even back in 1920, Stanley Peters would write in the Vancouver Daily World that housing demand was outpacing supply, despite the fact one could buy a Westside single family home for just 5,000 dollars (pg 8), roughly $60,000 in today’s money. That said, it’s clear this project isn’t going to be marketed as affordable housing. The applicant explained their hope is to use this jewel to bring back a richer experience, complete with an indoor pool, gym, and an English feel to relate to the neighbourhood’s hedges and wooden fences.

However, several panellists felt one important amenity was missing. Even with the applicant’s insistence that there was plenty of room for children to play on the patios, insisting that a children’s play area and communal space was needed. Many were also shocked the lush rooftop garden was actually inaccessible, with only two private patios backing onto it. Given this, it was hardly shocking to see a recommendation made for further design development to enlarge the indoor and outdoor amenity spaces.

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This slightly contradicted one person’s opinion to eliminate the gym space, and include another townhome along the lane instead. The treatment of that space won strong praise as a great transition to the neighbouring single family homes, and it was generally believed this five-storey building matched well with the existing four-storey context on West Boulevard. That said, a few wanted to see the facade along that street broken up, as it seemed long and relentless,

It was hoped the applicant could bring out a better rhythm, rather than repeating the same design piece over and over again. Unlike the Heritage Commission, several individuals were also concerned the overhang above the historic block felt too heavy, and took away from this restoration. Though this was not a unanimous opinion, as others appreciated the recessed appearance, and believed it lent to the building excellence vocabulary.

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Attempting to capture these diverse opinions, the chair ultimately put forward a recommendation which simply called for design development of the facade along West Boulevard. One member worried these two recommendations wouldn’t provide enough instruction for a motion of resubmission, but this concern proved unwarranted, as a motion of support was passed by a 6 -1 margin. Of course, all opinions are respected, so make sure to send yours to project facilitator, Jennifer Catarino, at jennifer.catarino@vancouver.ca or by phone at (604)-871-6023 before December 9th, 2019.

Applicant Team Information:

Developer Gryphon Corporate Group Ltd.
Architects – Yamamoto Architecture Inc.
Landscape Architects –Enns Gauthier Landscape Architects

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