Urban Design Panel Support Raises Broadway’s South Granville SkyTrain Station Up To Purr-fection

1477 W Broadway
From the moment its development plans were found in a dumpster, the future South Granville SkyTrain station has polarized opinions. In fact, Councillors Bligh, Hardwick and Kirby-Yung, even voted against (pg 8) the Issues Report that let the average person speak their mind on this mix of market and moderate income rental homes, office space, and a grocery store. So it’s no wonder why city staff scheduled its Urban Design Panel review after a two hour presentation on the Broadway Plan.

To save you that marathon read, Hannah insisted that I shouldn’t subject you to that non-voting session, and this proposal is similarly short on time. The problem is this building needs to be finished before the Broadway Subway opens in 2025, however city council won’t evaluate that aforementioned community vision until at least May. So guided by a narrow majority of our elected officials, these volunteers were forced to look into a crystal ball, and they liked what they saw.

Though one member felt the neighbourhood plan’s approval should have come first, they agreed with their colleagues that this height and density were completely acceptable. The real divide was over the building’s shape, as some desired a more iconic, perhaps curvy shape, while others commended this rational, and intelligent response. Our feline overlords would probably prefer the latter, as it was noted the four storey gap between the tower and podium along Granville felt like a strange dead cat space.

Obviously, the panel didn’t just have instructions for us, and they know humans waiting for a bus hate being wet almost as much as our Drift and Mystic. Which is one of the reasons they recommended the applicant work with staff to open up and significantly increase the public realm and increase the weather protection. A few hoped for a bolder move, suggesting the grocery story floor should be lifted up to emulate Rotterdam’s Markthal.

That would require implementing another of their recommendations, which was to reconsider the grocery store access. Currently it’s situated basically where the laneway used to exist, which several felt was too close to the entrance to the office portion of the building, and lacked a sense of presence. Ironically, I learned that Translink had originally planned the station entrance to be on their properties to the east, yet this proved too good of a location to pass up.

Certainly, this group believed the corner of Granville and Broadway was the perfect spot for not only the grocery store’s entrance, but a much more spacious transit station. There were a variety of ideas on how to achieve this, which ranged from making the entry column more prominent, including it in a larger public art piece or removing it entirely to expand this porch-like area. More than anything, they just wanted to guarantee it would be accessible for all people.

To ensure they wouldn’t just get painted yellow, they issued a simple recommendation to address the tapered stairs, which lead up to it. Frankly, a lone member was just happy to see the previous iteration’s chamfered corner hadn’t been included in this concept, still the truth is they might reappear. It was revealed the design team has been simultaneously refining that previously approved five floor office building, assumedly as a fallback plan in case this application is ultimately rejected.

As they actually hoped to see larger family homes included here instead, they voted unanimously to support it moving forward. Apparently Councillors Bligh, Hardwick, and Kirby-Yung weren’t listening to this advice either, as they once again unsuccessfully voted against hearing your thoughts on these rental homes (pg 22). Already, over 400 people have taken that opportunity, with roughly half in support, and half opposed (pg 55), so your comments will surely help break this tie if you express them here before April 12th, 2022.

You can view more of our photos of this project’s tiny model here, and its renderings here on our Instagram.

Applicant Team Information:
Developer – PCI Developments
Architects – 
Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership
Landscap Architects – 
Durante Kreuk Ltd.

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