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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Five more units added to controversial Kitsilano rental project

Rental building at 1805 Larch Street faced stiff opposition from neighbouring homeowners

The development permit for a surprisingly controversial Kitsilano rental building has been filed — and it includes five additional rental units, which could further raise the ire of neighbourhood residents.

The five-storey building is slated for 1805 Larch Street, on the former site of St. Mark’s Church, and includes 68 units, 14 of which will be rented under the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Rezoning Program (MIRHPP). That’s five more units (one of which is MIRHPP) than were originally approved in the rezoning application process.

This could be significant, because the project faced stiff opposition from a small but vocal group of homeowners, who rallied against the rental building during the rezoning process, saying the project was like “dropping the ghetto in Kitsilano.”

The group also waged a lawn sign campaign against the project, with the non-sensical headline of “Affordable housing for people in Kitsilano” alongside a demand to stop the 1805 Larch Street project — which includes 14 units of Moderate Income Rental Housing for people earning between $30,000-$80,000 per year.

As for the development itself, the design is by Metric Architecture for Jameson Development Corp.; a developer who currently has several other rental projects in the works across Vancouver, including a tower on the Denny’s West Broadway site, and a project near Broadway and Commercial.

In response to concerns from the neighbourhood about the scale of the Larch St. building, the upper floors have been setback “significantly” and the roof edges “slimmed down, to lighten the overall massing,” according to the architects.

The amenity room and its trellis and guardrails have also been moved to the centre of the building “keep any further appurtenance out of sight from the ground level.” 

Roof Top Amenity- Looking from above at Corner of Larch & West 2nd Ave
Rooftop amenity looking from above at corner of Larch & West 2nd Ave. Credit: Metric Architecture

To help improve compatibility with the streetscape on West 2nd Avenue, individual stairs and entrance porticos to the Level 1 units have been added, mimicking a rowhouse feel.

1805 Larch Street rental units entrances
West 2nd Avenue streetscape of rental units at 1805 Larch Street. Credit: Metric Architecture

The architect states outdoor lighting will be limited on the project “to respect proximity to neighbours and the residential quality of the surrounding.”

Address lights will be used on the ground level entry plinths for way-finding and ambience, and additional lighting will come off the building. 

There will be 42 underground parking spaces and 126 bike parking spaces — substantially more than required for a 68-unit building. 

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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