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Green, dense, rezoned: Marine Gateway, Vancouver’s next big thing

The journey of the Marine Gateway project through city hall is one worth following.

This, for those who haven’t read it before, is the largest development ever considered for rezoning outside the downtown. It will also, I believe, set a certain level of expectation for the kind of density that might be considered for other transit stations on the Canada Line and elsewhere.

As those who were at the urban-design review panel meeting Wednesday heard, as part of the planning context for the building, the city is considering density for much of the length of Cambie between 25th and Marine Drive to capitalize on the new Canada Line and its stations. Four to six stories in some areas, like around Queen Elizabeth Park, six to eight stories around King Edward, potentially something similar around 33rd, where a future station might go in, a node of even higher buildings around Oakridge, more density along the "transit corridor" from 41st to 49th, and then a tapering off to residential down to Marine.

Then at Marine, there’s intended to be a very high-density node, with the PCI/Gateway building the highest, but buildings on the other three corners and within 500 feet going up to 15-20 stories in some cases, it looked like to me. The gas station on the northwest corner and the little complex with the Chinese restaurant on the northeast have already been bought or optioned, it sounds like, and developers are already working on towers for those sites. (In fact, three panel members normally there — Jim Cheng, Maurice Pez, and Jim Huffman — had to abstain from voting because they are working for one or the other of those developers and so had conflicts to be avoided.)

So what happens with the node at Marine and Cambie, where the PCI group is proposing a near-million-square-foot development with a residential tower of 350 feet, along with a smaller office tower, an 11-screen theatre, and a retail complex, is important.

The project was not supported at the urban design panel on Wednesday night, as I noted, in a 5-4 vote.

This was first published on Frances Bula’s blog State of Vancouver.

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