524-528 Powell St development application

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The Development Permit Board approved the application on July 20, 2020, subject to conditions.  A Development Permit will be issued once all conditions have been satisfied. For more information please contact the Project Facilitator directly at darren.lee@vancouver.ca 

NSDA Architects has applied to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop on this site a new seven-storey, mixed-use building, consisting of:

  • 114 social housing units (3rd to 7th floors)
  • Retail/office and a community amenity space (ground and 2nd floors)
  • One level of underground parking, providing a total of 20 parking spaces having vehicular access from the lane
  • A total floor space ratio of 4.38 (approximately 7,445 m²)
  • A maximum geodetic building height of 25.76 m

Under the site’s existing DEOD zoning, the application is conditional so it may be permitted. However, it requires the decision of the Development Permit Board.

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period was held in place of an in-person open house for this project.


NSDA Architects has applied to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop on this site a new seven-storey, mixed-use building, consisting of:

  • 114 social housing units (3rd to 7th floors)
  • Retail/office and a community amenity space (ground and 2nd floors)
  • One level of underground parking, providing a total of 20 parking spaces having vehicular access from the lane
  • A total floor space ratio of 4.38 (approximately 7,445 m²)
  • A maximum geodetic building height of 25.76 m

Under the site’s existing DEOD zoning, the application is conditional so it may be permitted. However, it requires the decision of the Development Permit Board.

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period was held in place of an in-person open house for this project.


CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Q&A is available from June 15 to 21, 2020.

Q & A replaces in-person open houses, which are on hold due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

We post all questions as-is and reply here within two business days. To find out when we reply to your questions, sign in or register.

To make a comment instead, use the comment form.

 

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    This is great news! We need more social housing and supportive housing. I hope that as many barriers are removed as possible, such as allowing pets and smoking.

    Elaine Beaudry asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your comments Elaine.

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    Why is there so little weather protection along the front of the building?

    Tavia asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question Tavia.

    Staff will take this question into consideration as part of our review for this application.

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    Why is the allowable building height only 22.86m if even a building at 25.76m in height can’t achieve the allowable density of 4.5 fsr? Shouldn’t the DEOD allow for more height here then?

    Silent_Echo asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your question Silent_Echo.

    Regulations in zoning are not always universally applicable so all sites will have their own set of constraints to work within. 

    There are a number of factors to consider on this particular site; the topography of the site which slopes in excess of 4 ft. from Powell Street to the lane, the provision of higher floor-to-floor heights within units for improved livability, and the requirement to provide a full-height loading space off the lane. These are collectively contributing to the additional height and this is information staff will be proceeding to the Development Permit Board with in response to this concern.

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    What is the rational for the requested front yard setback relaxation?

    Silent_Echo asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your question Silent_Echo.

    Staff are seeking the Development Permit Board’s relaxation of the front setback requirement, as it is generally in line with existing buildings on this block which are setback between zero and 2.4 m. The proposed zero front setback aligns with the existing Buddhist Temple building; however, as this site is within the same Sub-Area, a 10 ft. front setback would be anticipated for any future development of that site under existing zoning. Eastern portions of this block fall under a different Sub-Area of the ODP, which does not have a front setback requirement. As such, it would not be possible to achieve a consistent 10 ft. setback along this entire block face. Staff have weighed the benefits and impacts of the setback and determined, on balance, requiring the full setback would limit the usability of the small CRU's and reduce the viability of the project to deliver core-need social housing. Staff determined the modest recess currently proposed is sufficient to provide a transition from the public realm to the publicly-oriented ground level uses.

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    According to the Design Rationale, Lookout will be providing approx. $8.2mm towards the funding of this project. How much total funding is estimated to be needed and, if approved, how much would be provided by the municipal, provincial, and federal governments?

    Live&WorkInDEOD asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question Live&WorkInDEOD.

    This is a question best directed through Sarah Robin in our Housing Regulation Group who can be contacted at sarah.robin@vancouver.ca.

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    What considerations have been given to the effect that this project will have on parking availability for local neighbouring residents

    NicholasT asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question NicholasT.

    Staff recognize the application is deficient in parking spaces being provided and are seeking a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan which will outline measures the applicant is prepared to deliver in an attempt to offset the shortfall. The TDM Plan will also be secured ultimately through a legal agreement which ensures the delivery and management of said measures.

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    3. What safety considerations have been given to the residents in the immediate surrounding area, especially those of 557 E Cordova Street who have rooftop decks below the window heights of the proposed project?

    NicholasT asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question NicholasT.

    If you can be more specific in terms of what concerns you have with respect to safety, I will be better equipped to provide you with a response.

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    The proposed height of the project breaches bylaws for building height. How and for what reason would this be allowed?

    NicholasT asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question NicholasT.

    The DEOD ODP allows a height of up to 25.8m under Section 5.6.1 found here for your reference: https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/odp/odp-downtown-eastside-oppenheimer.pdf and staff recognize the proposed height of 25.65m exceeds this. Staff are however seeking approval by the Development Permit Board to invoke Section 1.3 where "...literal enforcement would result in unnecessary hardship...". There are a number of factors to consider on this; the topography of the site which slopes in excess of 4 ft. from Powell Street to the lane, the provision of higher floor-to-floor heights within units for improved livability, and the requirement to provide a full-height loading space off the lane. These are collectively contributing to the additional height and this is information staff will be proceeding to the Development Permit Board with in response to this concern. 

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    DEOD zoning document dated September 2017, under section 1.1(9), is to "Enhance the public enjoyment of the waterfront and views to the North Shore and mountains"

    NicholasT asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for this comment NicholasT.

    Are you able to clarify exactly which document you're referring to? It's unclear what your question is here.

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    When will the Development Permit Board be meeting to decide on this proposal? The schedule on the vancouver.ca website indicates that all meetings have been cancelled as of March 30. As these meetings are open to the public, how is the City accommodating public observation and participation in light of Covid-19?

    DesignerInVancouver asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question DesignerInVancouver.

    The Development Permit Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20, 2020 and is expected to be hosted virtually. I would suggest continuing to check back here for updates as staff continue to work through virtual engagement solutions in light of COVID-19 and will provide any additional information as soon as it's available.