The property at 1290 Hornby Street is situated on the northeast corner of Hornby and Drake Street and currently accommodates offices for several businesses including Vancouver Coastal Health services within a 3 storey building constructed in 1980. The rezoning application for 1290 Hornby by 1290 Hornby Street Ltd. is to allow for a 35-storey mixed residential tower with a unit mix of 100 One Bedroom/Studio units, 43 Two Bedroom units and 16 Three Bedroom units.

The proposal for 1290 Hornby by 1290 Hornby Street Ltd. includes:
· a building height of 106.16 m (348.3 ft.)
· a gross floor area of 16,165 sq. m (174,000 sf)
· a floor space ratio (FSR) of 10.28
· 159 market residential units
· 978 sq. m (10,531 sf) of cultural amenity space on the ground, mezzanine and second levels to be owned by the City of Vancouver
· 6 levels of underground parking with a total of 105 parking spaces and 345 bike stalls

The subject property is located adjacent to the existing AAA Bike Network, which is the primary bike lane allowing cyclists to traverse across the downtown peninsula. The site benefits in it’s proximity to a variety of parks, such as Nelson Park, Sunset Beach Park, May & Lorne Brown Park and Emery Barnes Park.

The proposed project seeks to maximize density and height on the site, to the extent that an appropriate response to the surrounding context and the City will accept. The corner site on the northeast corner of Hornby and Drake Streets is small at 14,955 sf, and surrounded by taller and larger projects. To the east is 41 storey ‘Tate’, nearing completion, and across Drake Street to the south is 31 storey ‘Salt’. Burrard Place to the west across Hornby is under construction and when complete will be a dominant neighbourhood landmark at 53 storeys. The north property line is shared with ‘Pure’, a 15 storey mixed use project that sits only 25 feet from the common property line.


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Given the close proximity to other buildings, it was understood at the outset of the project that any redevelopment in tower form would have to be tall, elegant and slender, and demonstrate a character that would make it ‘stand out in a crowd’. The project was seen as an opportunity to demonstrate that redevelopment of small sites is not only feasible, but can enhance the built environment through unique and original architecture.

The challenge to achieve feasibility has been much more difficult than anticipated, primarily due to two significant encumbrances on the property that were not fully anticipated at the outset. To achieve the City mandated 80 foot separation between towers, a setback on the north side of the property had to be increased from the typical 40 feet to 55 feet, due to the atypical proximity of ‘Pure’ to the common property line. This condition meant that the tower floor plate of the proposal could not be much greater than 5,000 sf, which limits efficiency and the number of suites per level. It also forced a 2 versus 3 elevator solution, to keep the core as small as possible.

Even so, a practical floorplate size proved impossible when responding to adjacencies, and without intrusion into the lane setback. City staff acknowledged this, and suggested that a lane setback relaxation could be considered, conditional on maintaining an 80 foot tower separation to the ‘Tate’ tower across the lane, which is nearing completion. Responding to the geometry of the ‘Tate’ façade, the current parallelogram floorplate configuration was developed, which intrudes into the lane setback while pulling back from the street corner, thereby increasing penetration of daylight to the lower facades of all buildings fronting the intersection, and enhancing their outlook.

The second parameter came later in the process. The applicant was always committed to providing some form of community benefit, and in response to early recommendations of the City, proposed in the original scheme the provision of a daycare facility. Ultimately, this was seen by all participants as impractical on such a small site, and City direction shifted to request provision of a minimum 10,000 sf cultural amenity space in the podium. This condition introduced an exciting aspect not typical of many downtown projects, wherein the street facades could express the unique design character possible in a public culture-focused use. Provision of the gallery space has become a signature cornerstone of the project, a use that will animate the intersection and the Hornby street façade. Further, with the gallery space providing a defining component of the project, an artistic composition of the podium was pursued to further reinforce creative expression.

The thesis which has resulted is a careful balance of practicality and original expression. A tall and slender tower rises out of an artfully composed podium, crowned by an articulated top intended to be an interesting addition to the skyline while capping the form of the floorplate. The goal to achieve originality has been tempered by a quest for efficiency in construction and spatial layout, in order to address financial and functional constraints. The two distinct uses housed in the lower levels of the podium – the main residential lobby and the public gallery space – have been considered with equal importance, and exist in close juxtaposition while maintaining clarity of separation and access.

Building Name: 1290 Hornby
Address: 1290 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC
Developer: 1290 Hornby Street Ltd.
Architect: Merrick Architecture
Interior Design: N/A
Year Built: N/A
Prices: N/A
Unit Sizes: N/A
Levels: 35 storey residential building with onsite cultural amenity space
Suites: 159
Property Type: Residential
Area: Vancouver
Deposit Structure: N/A
Cost/Square Foot: N/A
Monthly Maintenance: N/A
Cost To Purchase Parking: N/A
Cost To Purchase Storage: N/A

Contact Agnieszka Stryjecka for more information on 1290 Hornby, floor plans & pricing.      MLA Realty      778.991.5881

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