Controversial Gastown proposal reduced, by three feet


On the heels of the controversy over 105 Keefer in Vancouver’s Chinatown, the city has another hot potato on its hands in a heritage neighbourhood.

Last year, a proposal to redevelop the historic Stanley and New Fountain Hotels was rejected by the Gastown community.

The plan called for the Stanley and New Fountain to be demolished, except for their facades, and three new structures built in their place, with a mixture of social and market rental housing. One of the buildings would have been 11 storeys and 110 feet (33.5 metres) high, which exceeded the Gastown height limit of 75 feet (22.8 metres).

A revised proposal for the site at 33 West Cordova has been submitted to the city that reduces the building height to 107 feet (32.6 metres), which is three feet (just under a metre) less than the plan that was rejected.

Gastown resident Glenda Bartosh says the revised plan did make some changes to fit into Gastown’s character, such as having more of a “sawtooth profile” to the new buildings and adding details like cornices.

But she said she’s “really disquieted” by the proposal.

“It is way, way outside the basic guidelines for Gastown as a national historic area,” said Bartosh, who sits on the Gastown historic area planning committee.

“It’s still too high and too massive in scale. What are supposed to be so-called rooftop setbacks are totally visible from the street. Worst of all, two really important heritage buildings that you can never replace are to be torn down.”

The revised proposal would have 80 social housing and 62 “secured market rental” units, with retail and restaurant use on the ground and basement floors. It’s smaller than the original design, which was for 134 market units. A controversial proposal for a 600-seat bar has also been nixed.

There would be two …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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