In January 2019, the City of Vancouver’s Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program (MIRHPP) comes into effect. The MIRHPP allows up to 20 new rezoning applications to be approved per year, in which 20% of the units are rent-priced for residents whose annual household net income is between $30,000 and $80,000. In exchange for this, some of the City’s regulations and codes (including building height, unit size, parking requirements, etc.) are relaxed. When proposals for over-height buildings are made, the context of the neighbourhood is considered. MIRHPP is a powerful tool that the City can use to battle the housing shortage.
Jameson Development previously proposed and received approval for a 16 floor building containing 153 market rental units on the Denny’s site (1296 W Broadway – DP-2018-00425). With MIRHPP in mind, Jameson is now contemplating a different, more ambitious proposal for this property, which includes a 28 floor building containing 248 rental units (195 market rental and 53 MIRHPP).
Curious about how this new proposal’s height compares to neighbouring buildings, we checked the height of tall, neighbouring buildings and tall buildings along Broadway. The average height of the tall, neighbouring buildings is 11 floors, and the tallest, existing building (above Boston Pizza) is 14 floors. Thus, the new building that Jameson Development is proposing will be twice the height of the tallest, neighbouring building. What's even more concerning is that this building will be the tallest on Broadway.
To get a better idea of the density proposed by this new building, we reviewed the floor space ratios (FSR) that Jameson has requested in its applications. FSR represents the amount of floor space that can be built in proportion to the land it is built upon. Under the former C-3A zoning, a maximum of 3.0 FSR was permitted. When rezoned to CD-1 for the 16 floor building, Jameson was permitted to build more than 2x the floor space - 7.07 FSR. Under this new proposal, Jameson is requesting 10 FSR - more than 3x the original zoning density. To provide perspective, the 54 floor building proposed for 601 Beach Crescent has an FSR of 7.23.