The City of Vancouver has received an application – Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit to rezone 1780 East Broadway from C-3A (Commercial) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal consists of a mixed-use development with residential (including strata, rental and social housing units), retail, office, a childcare facility, and a new public plaza.

The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit proposal includes:
· commercial retail space at grade including a large format grocery store
· three residential towers, ranging in height from 24 to 30 storeys above the retail plinth
· Strata units offer 520 homes that consist of:
· 94 Studio units, 166 One Bedroom units, 205 Two Bedroom units & 55 Three Bedroom units
· Rental units offer 160 homes that consist of:
· 16 Studio units, 88 One Bedroom units, 40 Two Bedroom units & 16 Three Bedroom units
· a childcare facility
· a public plaza running parallel to the SkyTrain station
· a total floor area of approximately 57,673 sq. m (620,784 sq. ft.)

The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit site is situated within the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood of East Vancouver, south of Broadway, and east of Commercial Drive. The site sits adjacent to the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station and the busy intersection at Commercial Drive and Broadway. To the east of the site, the Grandview Cut runs diagonally against the site. South of the site is a mix of single-family homes and multi-family low-rise buildings. To the west, Commercial Drive is a busy street lined with a variety of fine-grained retail and commercial establishments. Trout Lake is located several blocks southeast.

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The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit site is composed of 1 legal lot fronting Broadway and E 10th Avenue. It is currently the site of a Safeway grocery store and the total site area is 9819.1 m2 (105,695 sf). Access for vehicular traffic and service vehicles for the Safeway store will be in the form of bridge elements from East Broadway across a portion of the Grandview Cut. Access for residential parking will be from East 10th Avenue.

The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit site will have new mixed-use development at a variety of scales, including mid-rise and high-rise components. The development will include office space, a mix of retail (including small-scale retail and large format grocery) and ownership housing opportunities. The site will feature a public plaza, with pedestrian paths connecting the plaza to adjacent streets, retail, transit facilities and other public spaces.

The redevelopment presents the opportunity to create a sustainable, transit-oriented, mixed-use project in a compact and accessible urban form that respects and enhances the personality of the neighborhood that surrounds it.

Three residential buildings of varying height rise above a landscaped shared residential podium level. The three buildings are arranged around the periphery of the site framing a landscaped courtyard that is accessible to all residents and tenants. A range of residential options both rental and market will provide housing options for people across the spectrum with a focus on families. The provision of purpose-built rental housing will be a significant part of the overall residential component, addressing the need for more rental housing options close to transit.

A new 50,000 sf Safeway store, will occupy the ground level of the project with at-grade access from East Broadway, East 10th Avenue and the Skytrain station via the public plaza.

Adjacent to and combined with the Safeway store at grade level will be a new, vibrant 20,000 sf public plaza. The at-grade plaza will link Broadway and 10th Avenue, will be animated with small, unique retail and child friendly activities and be fully accessible to the public.

Additional amenities proposed for The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit include a daycare centre complete with secured dedicated outdoor play area, fitness centre, on site at grade bike share facility located and orientated to the 10th Avenue bike path.

The Granview-Woodland Community Plan allows for the condieration of modest increases in height and density to provide non-market housing per GWCP 7.1.3. This project proposes an additional 0.31 FSR toward this aim.

The provision of the 20,000 sf public plaza is the primary organizational driver of the design. The scheme proposes that this plaza run north south along the eastern edge of the Skytrain station extension at the westernmost boundary of the site. The public open space has an area of approximately 20,000 sf open to the air, is fully accessible and is considered a child safe zone.

The large format grocery store anchors the northwest corner of the site while providing the space required for the public plaza and accommodating service loading and vehicular access to the site. In response to the specific requirements of the tenant, the store is a single level, rectangular plan form approximately 50,000 sf in area.

The store is located at grade relative to the public plaza, with the main entrance to the store located at the north eastern corner of the public plaza, directly addressing the main Skytrain station entrance.

This location provides good visibility of the store entrance from the Broadway and Commercial pedestrian crossing point, and the adjacent bus interchange. The entrance addresses both Broadway and the public plaza and is visible and easily accessible from East 10th Avenue.

The northern edge of the store which runs along Broadway is considered to be largely glazed providing an animated edge with visual generosity to the street frontage – and a unique opportunity for programming within the store.

The small scale retail component of the scheme consists of a unique retail concept arranged throughout the public plaza. The location of the retail is suggested to mainly align along the western edge of the plaza, and form a series of foreground elements which will contrast visually with the large wall constructed along the Skytrain extension.

An anchor retail node which engages with the development to the south eastern corner will address both the plaza and East 10th Avenue with potential to service the bike community.

The plaza retail will provide a contrast with the orthogonal character of the development. These moments of delight within the public realm will reflect the ‘vibe’ of Commercial Drive and be designed to accommodate various scales of retail and community arts related functions. It is envisioned that there may be a degree of adaptability and change inherent in the base design of the plaza.

50,000 sf of commercial office space arranged over two floors, is located above the level of the courtyard garden to the west of the scheme running along the length of the public plaza parallel to the Skytrain station box. The Office extends to both East 10th Avenue and to Broadway, where the structural arrangement proposes that the office jetties out over the Grocery store entrance providing a dynamic focus to this critical edge of the development.

Access to the office is provided within the public plaza close to both the grocery store entrance and the Skytrain northern concourse. The office is configured to provide large floor plates which provides flexibility in terms of sub-division and safeguards potential for high- tech use over the full floor plate(s).

The daycare facility is located at the top of the office block, with a visual connection to the interior courtyard, as well as views to the public plaza and East Broadway. At present the daycare is planned over two levels which relates to the age group split and specific needs of the children. The secure front door of the daycare is accessed either directly from the public plaza, or from the parkade where there is dedicated car parking and drop off for the daycare.

The secure outdoor play area surrounds the daycare on three sides, providing a visual connection to the interior residential courtyard, East 10th Avenue, and East Broadway. The play area is accessed only from the daycare facility to provide optimum security and is generously landscaped. There are visual connections to the streets bounding the site and a focus towards the landscaped private interior courtyard.

The daycare space is visually stimulating with exposed structural elements. A gradual ramp punctuated with quiet reading landings connects the lower level daycare to the mezzanine level.

The roof of the grocery store creates the garden courtyard within which the front door lobbies of the residential towers are accessed.

The garden courtyard is dynamically connected to the public plaza with dedicated elevators, and a generous public stair feature, which provide access to the public edge of the courtyard. This public edge forms the address for both the daycare facility and also a fitness suite which forms the corner of the enclosure to the public plaza.

The fitness suite is located above the grocery store entrance, and extends along the Broadway face of the development, animating this elevation, highly visible from the Broadway / Commercial Drive intersection.

A concierge office, which will accommodate the post depository for the residential units defines the threshold between the public and private zones at the garden courtyard level, secure access beyond this point into the garden courtyard will be controlled for residents and invited visitors only.

Residential amenities are planned flanking the garden courtyard to the north and east, providing a range of functions such as a communal kitchen and dining space (both indoor and outdoor), social and study spaces, a small workshop for arts, crafts and carpentry and a centralized recycling / upcycling facility (connected by dedicated freight elevator to ground level collection point).

Residential amenity spaces are also planned at the landscaped deck above the lower bar of residential units, and the common areas within the elevated sky gardens. There is also potential for the roof levels of the towers to provide amenity spaces particularly for urban agriculture, although this may require special measures due to the elevation and exposure of the towers.

The residential component of The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit is composed of three rectilinear tower forms; Tower A to the west, Tower B to the north and tower C to the east of the garden courtyard. Tower A sits above the office bar, whilst towers B and C sit above a bar of additional residential floor space which is elevated above the garden courtyard level.

The location of the towers and the lower bar are arranged so that they form an enclosure to the south facing courtyard garden. Building mass is avoided on the south side of the development to ensure maximum solar exposure into the heart of the project.

The residential blocks are organized to introduce a number of landscaped decks at the courtyard, at the roof of the residential / office bar and at ‘sky gardens’ within the tower forms.

As stated previously the residential clusters are planned with their main lobbies located within the garden courtyard rather than at street level. This inward facing arrangement ensures that the scheme encourages social mixing and promotes the ideals of the vibrant cohesive vertical village.

Ground level parking has been eliminated, with the grocery store located at grade. Three full and one partial level of parking are proposed to meet the requirements of the project and provide appropriate separation between the different users.

Parkade Level P1 is to be dedicated to customers of the grocery store, and users of the daycare facility. This level of parking is accessed from Broadway at the proposed mid-block signalized intersection.

Access to the grocery store is provided at Level P1 via a lobby with an opening to the public plaza which accommodates dedicated commercial elevators and a generous communication stair. Levels P1 and P2 are linked by an internal ramp for commercial parking.

Residential parking and loading is provided at Levels P3 and P4, and is accessed from East 10th Avenue via a separate ramp system than that of the commercial parking.

In the event of an emergency, vehicles that have entered the parkade via Broadway can exit via East 10th Avenue through a normally secured zone giving access to the residential ramp system. The parkade accommodates the majority of the mechanical systems for the development.

Secure, dedicated, bicycle parking for residents and users is provided at Levels P1 and P2 and is accessed via dedicated elevator(s) located close to the bike share stations along the East 10th Avenue edge of the scheme.

The scheme of The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit is composed of mid-rise and high-rise components as envisioned in the Grandview Woodland Community Plan. Developing the Safeway site to a density of 5.84 FSR will result in a vertical extension of mass within this site which will be quite distinct from the scale of the immediate neighborhoods.

Resultant large building masses will rise above the skyline, and create a landmark reference for the Broadway Commercial Drive intersection.

Residential floor plate considerations result in tower forms. The number of towers which can be accommodated on the site is limited due to tower off-sets. A three tower scheme balances the target residential densities whilst allowing the site to open to the south. In this configuration, the towers become staggered rectangular blocks rather than slender towers.

The stepped form of the towers, introduction of sky garden horizontal breaks within the tower forms and the external expression of the tower superstructure are appropriate means to introduce scaling devices to the composition of forms and mitigate against an impression of monolithic dominance.

Residential Floor Plates
The proposed form of the residential towers creates a range of floor plate sizes. Rather than a uniform tower plan form, the stepped massing and the introduction of sky gardens at the levels where the towers are set back avoids the creation of a simple extruded form for the vertical elements of the architectural composition.

As a consequence of this approach to the design, proposed is a decreasing floor plate area with increased height. The average floor plate for the towers is below 7,000 sf.

The placement of the residential towers has been carefully considered to create a south-facing orientation to the interior heart of the scheme, visually open towards east 10th Avenue. Towers A and B are placed orthogonally to the west and north to frame the interior gardens, and whilst tower C frames the interior to the east it is also rotated about its center to formally address the City along the axis of the cut. The placement of towers A and B opens up the north-west corner to reinforce this diagonal axis through the site.

Below the residential towers, the building mass is built up along Broadway and new plaza edges to create an appropriate urban response to the scale and context of the public realm. As stated previously the scheme steps down towards East 10th where the scale of the development is softened and opens out to the expansive gardens.

The treatment of the building faces reinforces the reading of an urban exterior and a more generous, exuberant interior. However, this compositional approach is prevented from creating an introverted character as the oblique views between the tower forms reveal and present the interior gardens to the harder edges of the site.

The Grandview Woodland Community Plan stipulates that building height on the Safeway site is to be a maximum of 24 storeys above the retail plinth. Pursuant to clause 7.1.3 of the GWCP, which provisions increased height and density in return for additional non-market housing Tower A is proposed to increase by 6 stories. The increase in height for this tower is also seen as reinforcing the site as a landmark ‘gateway’ structure within the wider urban context.

Also through discussion with the City of Vancouver it has been agreed that the relative heights of towers B and C are in alignment with the spirit of the Grandview Woodland Community Plan and that the stepping of height from 27 storeys to 24 storeys is a positive design response to the plan.

The building form and massing must be considered in respect to the landscape strategy. The concept of ‘green urbanism’ is at the heart of the proposal and the configuration of building mass, orientation and treatment of edges have all been critically reviewed with the intention of creating a range of spaces where nature can flourish.

Conceptually, the building forms occur within the spaces between the landscape as opposed to landscape filling the voids between building forms. Paths and routes are overlaid onto the landscape rather than pockets of landscape occurring within the interstitial spaces.

Wild and tamed gardens reveal themselves throughout the various elevations within the project, balcony spaces are colonized and cascade down and across the inner faces of the residential towers. Building edges are blurred as walls are festooned from above.

The place-making power of The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit project has been celebrated with a bold approach to the architecture. This is architecture with heroic scale and presence, a confident landmark for a dynamic, culturally rich, part of the city.

However, great care has been taken to test the modelling of component elements of the scheme to ensure that the project density and distribution of use are composed in a manner that is appropriate and sensitive to the immediate context.

The forms and placement of the residential towers allow visual permeability into the center of the site. The silhouette and profile of the development, both from distance and at closer proximity, is varied and full of incidental interest.

Faces of the building forms are modelled to accentuate shadow play across the masses and to articulate volumetric qualities of the composition.

From the ground plane up, the building forms are ordered with contrasting deep reveals and projecting bays; inhabited and animated beltlines punctuate the massing and respond to the functional layering of the programme.

The architecture of The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit project is ordered with a regular 2 foot (600mm) modular grid. This module is extended three dimensionally to form horizontal and vertical reference planes by which elements can be related to each other within relationships of ratio and proportion.

This arithmetic discipline of composition remains generally consistent, but some modification or deviation is accepted (for example, where tower C rotates, or where the north eastern edge of the scheme recognizes the orientation of the cut, and induces geometric relationships as opposed to strictly arithmetic ones).

Regular planning from the primary order of the unit and multipliers results in orthogonal, rectangular plans for the individual homes within the residential component of the scheme, and avoidance of peculiar shaped units.

Structural discipline and clarity is a consequence of this approach, and the expression of the structural framework in turn reinforces the architectonic qualities of the building forms.

Transfer of load-paths within the frame to accommodate the stepped form of the tower, and the change in planning grids between the grocery store and the development above is given poetic expression. It is at these points of transfer that changes in programme are celebrated and communal functions and garden spaces punctuate and modulate the forms in a meaningful way.

The modular approach to the design is also expressed within the various cladding systems employed throughout, the base grid allowing a high degree of variety and play within the compositional framework without undermining the principles of that framework.

The rigor of the dimensional order of the The Broadway & Commercial by Westbank & Crombie Reit project is manifest in its structural clarity. The structural elements are afforded clear expression within all elements of the design and it is through this expression that the ordering principles of the design are manifest.

Great care has been taken to ensure that the structural format of the building is resolved to reinforce the arithmetic compositional approach of the architecture and to synthesize the engineering and the architectectonic aspects into a cohesive expression which is both poetic and pragmatic.

The dimensional purity of the scheme is revealed in the two grid forms of 6 meters above the podium deck and 9 meters below. The transition between the two grid systems is resolved at the garden courtyard providing expressive, but logical, column interplay rather than shifts in the load paths concealed within transfer decks.

The structure of the building is fully revealed at the skygarden levels where the stepping of the building is acknowledged in the raking perimeter columns, which provide a motif element for the architectural expression of the scheme itself.

This poetic expression, derived from the purity of the structural arrangement is classical in inspiration, not only in terms of the ordering of the architecture into a compositional language of bays, but also in its resonance with the heroic age of nineteenth century engineering, which is itself reflected in the industrial heritage of the city.

Due to the constraints placed upon the site by the grocery store and its functional programme the placement of the main cores for the residential buildings was a key design driver.

Building Name: Broadway & Commercial
Address: 1780 East Broadway, Vancouver BC
Developer: Westbank Corp. & Crombie Reit
Architect: Perkins+Will
Interior Design: N/A
Year Built: N/A
Prices: N/A
Unit Sizes:
Levels: Tower A 30 storeys above retail plinth, Tower B 27 storeys above retail plinth & Tower C 24 storeys above retail plinth
Suites: 520 Strata units & 160 rental units
Property Type: Residential, Commercial
Area: Vancouver
Neighbourhood: Grandview
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 Broadway & Commercial, floor plans & pricing.

vancouver4life@gmail.com      MLA Realty      778.991.5881

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