610 Granville – 35-Storey Residential Building

Sunday, June 27th, 2004

Wendy McLellan

Where: 610 Granville St.

What: 35-storey residential building with four levels of retail shops, one below ground. The 423 suites sold in five weeks.

When: The building is scheduled for completion in spring, 2006.

Who: Joint project between Macdonald Seymour Development and Wall Financial Corp.

How much: 2004 assessed value is $24.2 million.

For more than a decade, the neo-classical heritage building on the corner of Dunsmuir and Granville was vacant, its ornate bronze windows boarded up with painted plywood.

Built in 1928 by the B.C. Electric Railway Co. as a showroom for modern domestic electrical appliances, it has been the home of Germain’s, a high-end women’s fashion store and most recently, the Art, Technology and Science centre.

A few doors up the street along Granville, next to the SkyTrain entrance, another old Vancouver building from the 1900s was slowly deteriorating.

Originally a tailor’s shop with a residence for women upstairs, the storefront has been used for various purposes since it was built in 1892, including a liquor store, drygoods and a confectionery.

In 2001, Vancouver developer Rob Macdonald purchased the strip of dilapidated buildings between Dunsmuir Street and the Bay, including the B.C. Electric building and the old tailor’s shop.

In exchange for higher density and a zoning change to live/work from the normal commercial-use only, the developers agreed to retain the facade of the two heritage-designated buildings and include public access to the SkyTrain for people with disabilities in the project.

The building in the core of Vancouver‘s central business district is currently the only one with live/work zoning. The 423 suites range in size from 419-square-foot studios to three-bedroom, 1,450-square-foot units. Prices ranged from $141,000 to $599,000 when the development was listed for sale in August, 2003.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

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