Five Cranes at Once… Yep

Vancouver’s Downtown skyline has yet another tower crane up. The latest was assembled late last week to support the ‘Timberhouse’ project on Block 3 of the waterfront. Vancouver’s urban landscape has seen a dramatic change over the last four years. The metamorphosis continues at a rapid clip with five cranes up at once. There is was possibility of as many as eight but I am pretty sure that the AC/Marriott at Terminal One and Block Ten will have dismantled the cranes supporting those projects before the Block 18 Springs Living and the Terminal One Blocks A and C startup early next year. COVID 19 definitely slowed the start of more than a few projects here and across the world.

The 1998-2008 building boom in Vancouver’s core was impressive for sure, but this current boom is crushing that one. This latest round of urban development started in earnest in 2016 and hasn’t slowed a bit, in fact even with the COVID related supply chain issues and the slowdown associated with COVID restrictions, we have picked up the pace as of the midway point of 2021.

Just to compare, take a look at the two lists of significant projects in each of the two booms. These are all either large full block or multi block projects or tall projects. Projects in boldface have an actual impact on the urban visual skyline of Vancouver from either the River or Highways in the Downtown area.

1998-2008:

  • Heritage Place two full blocks mixed use retail and condos 4 stories each facing the park
  • 500 Broadway 6 stories 4 floors office class A office, 22 condo units on floors 5-6
  • Vancouvercenter 1, 6 floors of apartments facing the park.
  • Vancouvercenter 2, 7 floors of condos facing the park
  • Vancouvercenter 3, 11 floors 7 floors of Class A office and floors 8-11 condos
  • Esther Short Commons, 5 floors retail and apartments two full blocks
  • Angelo Mill Plain 1 Tower, 5 floors of class A office
  • The Hilton Convention Center, 7 floors Hotel and Convention
  • City Hall, 6 floors class a office (originally the Columbian Newspaper)

2013-2023

  • 15 West, 5 stories, apartments two full blocks
  • 13 West, 5 stories, apartments
  • The Uptown, full city block apartments over retail 6 floors
  • The Murdock, 7 floors class A office
  • Rediviva, 6 floors apartments
  • Riverwest, full city block 7 floors apartments over retail
  • Vancouvercenter 4, 7 floors apartments over retail
  • Our Hereos Place, Ed Tower, 5 floors, apartments
  • Our Hereos Place, Dollie Tower, 5 floors, apartments
  • Hurley Tower, 6 floors, office condos
  • The Aria, 7 floors apartments
  • Angelo Mill Plain Tower II, 6 floors office, parking, apartments
  • Kirkland Tower, 12 floors condos
  • Indigo Hotel, 8 floors hotel
  • The Columbia, 7 floors full city block apartments
  • Block Ten Office, 6 floors parking, retail, office
  • Block Ten Apartments, 7 floors parking, retail, apartments
  • AC Marriott Hotel, 7 floors, hotel
  • Broadstone Claro, 6 floors, apartments
  • Aegis at the Academy North Tower, 6 stories, apartments
  • Aegis at the Academy South Tower, 5 stories, apartments
  • Timberhouse, 8 stories, apartments
  • Hurley Washington Street Apartments, 6 floors full block* (starts mid 2022)
  • Terminal One Block A, 7 floors, class A office* (starts Q1 2022)
  • Terminal One Block C, 7 floors, apartments over retail* (starts Q1 2022)
  • The Springs Living, 12 stories, senior luxury apartments* (starts Q1 2022)
  • Kirkland Waterfront East, 8 stories, apartments or condos, multiple retail/restaurant* (starts mid 2022)

So it is pretty clear, this latest boom is really making a huge impact on the city and I believe for the most part a positive one. Nothing is ever really perfect but the complete revitalization of the Vancouver city center that was completely run down and awful just 25 years ago is a good thing for all of us. Vancouver has the most vibrant and bustling urban core in the metro area right now. Sure Portland is the bigger city, but they have all kinds of ugly issues in the city center down there so until they clean up their business in the Rose City, we’ll be happy to wear the crown 😉

Ah the ‘Couv’ life; it is good.

PS if you like the activity in Vancouver’s urban core, follow www.urbanlivinginthecouv.com for news and information on the rising star that is Downtown Vancouver.

3 thoughts on “Five Cranes at Once… Yep

  1. When we moved to Vancouver in 1989 the downtown area was indeed dreary but we loved the downtown neighborhoods; Hough, Arnada, Shumway, Carter Park, Lincoln, etc. About 1992 Main Street was dug up and lots of improvements were made downtown and in the Uptown Village area. I wish I could feel as positive about the building happening now but frankly, they are ugly, boxy structures with little charm. I could wish that the developers had kept a historic point of view when it came to the architecture or at least the facades.

  2. Unfortunately in the late 1950s when Interstate 5 pushed through Downtown, some of Vancouver’s nicest historic mid-rises were demolished. The Columbia Hotel, The Post Office Building, The St Elmo Hotel, and several others. So Downtown doesn’t have a lot of tallish classic looking buildings, there are a few such as The Heritage Building at 6th & Main, The Arts Building at 11th & Main, The Elks Lodge at Evergreen & Main, Franklin Center at 13th & Franklin, and of course the Art Deco delight, our Courthouse. Modern buildings today do not have the attention to detail that buildings of yesteryear did and that is a bummer, but the cost in labor and materials to build facades like that would make the projects so expensive that they would not be able to rent the space. A few of the projects going up are indeed a bit boxy and the styling somewhat pedestrian, but a few are sleek and sexy as well. In the end Vancouver is creating a buzzy and exciting Downtown that people want to visit not only locals but people from all over the region. They come, they visit, they spend their coin putting cash into our local economy. It sure beats the thugs, drug dealers, prostitutes, and vagrants wandering though the Downtown with its vacant storefronts, sleazy pawn shops and card rooms.

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