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‘Iconic’ residential tower to change face of Vancouver’s downtown

Drawings presented at a city council meeting in Vancouver on Oct. 25, 2013, show a residential tower slated for the north end of the Granville Street bridge.

Vancouver city council has voted unanimously in favour of an 'iconic' residential tower for the north end of the Granville Street bridge, calling it an extraordinary addition to the downtown cityscape.

The 52-storey residential tower, destined for the corner of Howe Street and Beach Avenue, will occupy the odd-shaped space through which a bridge on-ramp currently runs. The bottom of the tower will be triangular while the top will be rectangular.

Councillor Raymond Louie called the Westbank development an innovative way to tackle the challenge of the "under-the-bridge neighbourhood" that council has contemplated for many years.

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"It is the first truly iconic building in our city that merits that description," he said Friday, one day after the vote. "The Shangri-La is a beautiful building, and so is our library, but this one certainly stands out in my mind. It's unique in that it uses up that space."

The tower, which at completion will be the city's fourth-tallest tower, will include 407 residential units and 98 secured market rental units.

The project, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), will also include two six-storey buildings for office and retail use, with a grocery store, drug store, liquor store and bank proposed. Vancouver firm Dialog is working with BIG on the project.

Westbank has offered the city $4-million as a community amenity contribution. The city plans to allocate $1-million toward the Granville Street Greenway, $1-million toward Davie Street Village public realm improvements and $2-million toward the completion of the Southeast False Creek theatre production space on West 1st Avenue.

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