A new 57-storey tower in West End Vancouver has been approved by city council. The project, a partnership between the First Baptist Church and developer Westbank, consists of a residential tower and redevelopment of the 107-year-old church.
Comprised of the church and its four lots on Nelson Street, the large scale redevelopment of the site at Burrard and Nelson, is designed by local architecture firm Bing Thom Architects (BTA).
Designed to reflect the special relationship the church has with the city, the unique cylindrical shaped tower takes inspiration from church pipe organs, and there will be open common gardens on each level to provide opportunities for residents to interact with their neighbours.
The development will include below-market rental housing, new childcare facilities, and expansion of existing programs for seniors, youth, new immigrants, and the homeless shelter that the church has run for almost two decades.
The project redevelopment includes significant seismic and code upgrades to the A-listed heritage building, restoration of the adjacent two-storey Pinder Hall and an additional 45,000 square feet of new institutional space. This space includes a new galleria, gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms, counseling centre and a 37-child daycare space with outdoor area, effectively doubling the church’s current infrastructure.
Housed within a new seven-storey social housing building, owned and operated by the church, will be 61 rental units – 20 market and 41 below-market rental – replacing the current 32 on-site market rental units contained in older houses and an apartment building.
Construction will take place in two phases, slated to begin in May 2018. Completion is anticipated for late 2022. During construction, a temporary space will be found for regular worship and ensure that the services of First Baptist Church continue through the redevelopment.
The development is the first project between Westbank and Bing Thom Architects. It is the first major downtown Vancouver condominium project for BTA, well-known in Vancouver for the Chan Centre at the University of British Columbia, the Central City Tower and City Centre Library in Surrey, Sunset Community Centre in South Vancouver, and the Aberdeen Centre in Richmond.