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Broadway station, Commercial Drive and Hastings Street all see significant bumps to density limits.


Several pockets of East Vancouver are now ripe for redevelopment, thanks to Vancouver city council’s July 28 approval of the Grandview- Woodland Community Plan (GWCP), which provides direction for future rezonings in the area bounded by East Broadway, Clark Drive, Nanaimo Street and Burrard Inlet.

 

The plan significantly increases development potential for several areas, including:

•near the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street;

•around the Broadway and Commercial Drive SkyTrain station; and

•the strip of East Hastings Street east of Clark Drive.

The plan has drawn strong opposition from many residents, who created the No Tower Coalition and protested against the 12-storey tower that the Kettle Society and Boffo Properties are proposing to build at the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street.

The coalition posted an open letter, castigating council for using what it called a “bait and switch” tactic.

That is because, in addition to approving the GWCP, council separately voted to leave open the possibility that, at a future rezoning, it could vote to allow the Kettle Boffo building to rise 12 storeys, instead of the nine-storey limit that the coalition had wanted and had believed council had agreed to. Current zoning on the site is for up to four storeys.

 

The tallest tower in the neighbourhood, however, is likely to be twice the height of the 12-storey Kettle Boffo tower.

The GWCP raised the maximum height limit to 24 storeys for sites around the East Broadway and Commercial Drive SkyTrain station.

That includes Crombie REIT’s 2.4-acre property, which has a single-level Safeway grocery store and a large single-level parking lot.

“There were higher buildings proposed a few years ago for that [Safeway] site – up to 36 storeys,” Kent Munro, who is the city planning department’s assistant director for midtown, told Business in Vancouver. “That caused a big backlash in the neighbourhood and was part of the reason that we spent another two years on the community plan.”

Munro believes the widespread consensus in the neighbourhood was that the land around the transit hub should be significantly denser than the four-to-five storey limit for redevelopment in the area.

“We had surprisingly little pushback or negative response to it,” he said.

 

When Crombie REIT representatives spoke to council, they hinted at a possible desire for redevelopment and to assure everyone that the intent would be to keep a grocery store on the site, Munro said.

No one from the company has yet filed an application to rezone the site to be what the GWCP now allows.

A final area that has significantly increased redevelopment potential is the stretch of East Hastings Street that moves up a hill east of Clark Drive.

 

The GWCP sets out that the tallest towers in that stretch will be 18 storeys. That matches height limits on East Hastings Street west of Clark Drive that were set out in the Downtown Eastside Community Plan that council approved in 2014.

“As you go eastward and up the hill, the towers will step down until, eventually, when you get up near Victoria Drive, it’s back down to six storeys and it will merge back into the Hastings Sunrise shopping area,” Munro said.

Heightened density potential for that strip could spark property sales in a way similar to what happened after council approved the West End Community Plan (WECP) in 2013.

 

SOURCE > BusinessInVancouver

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