49-story tower at West Georgia Street approved by Vancouver City Council

A 22-story structure at the southeast corner of West Georgia Street and Nicola Street in downtown Vancouver will be demolished as part of a project to replace it with a new 49-story tower.

In a public hearing earlier this week, Vancouver City Council approved Wesgroup Properties‘ rezoning application for 1450 West Georgia Street by a 7-2 vote, with COPE councillor Jean Swanson and TEAM member Colleen Hardwick voting against it.

The new tower will be mostly residential, with 162 secured purpose-built market rental homes from levels two to 20, and 193 condominium towers on the upper levels, save from a small 3,300 sq ft retail component.

The rental housing component of the project is a one-for-one replacement of the current rental houses at the site’s Georgian Towers complex, which was erected in 1956. Although city laws do not necessitate this replacement, city administration made it a condition during the rezoning negotiating process for this application.

n addition, 100 current tenants are eligible for relocation aid and reimbursement, as well as first refusal on a new apartment at a 20% discount off market rent. The remaining 62 units are either unoccupied or had tenancies of less than one year when the application was submitted.

According to the city, Georgian Towers was built for apartment use but was transformed to a hotel just two years after it was completed. In 1961, a rooftop lounge immediately became a popular destination.

The tower was converted back to residential uses in 1976, and it has remained that way ever since.

The Vancouver Heritage Commission opposed the building’s demolition in its consideration of the application, and urged it be placed to the city’s heritage register as a Class A heritage building, according to city staff.

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