High-rise with a twist

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Proposed tower would showcase Concord development on False Creek’s north shore

Bruce Constantineau

Some people say it has a helix shape, like DNA. Others call it a building with a twist.

Concord Pacific director of development Peter Webb says it reminds him of a Wankel rotary engine.

All the buzz surrounds renowned Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson’s latest project — a unique 20-storey waterfront residential tower designed to be the showcase development on the Concord site along the north shore of False Creek.

A meandering, top-to-bottom curved design feature dominates the exterior of the proposed tower that Concord wants to start building next year on the current site of its presentation centre. The floor plate rotates several degrees on every floor, creating the unique curve.

“It was Arthur’s idea, totally,” said Webb. “We charged him with the task of creating a new look for a residential tower in Vancouver, something that hasn’t been seen before, and this was it.

“He told us he wasn’t interested in doing just another residential tower. He’s at a stage in his life where he wanted to do a centrepiece building.”

Erickson, who recently turned 80, has designed other residential buildings in Vancouver, but Webb said this is his first residential highrise tower in the city.

Webb said the building, scheduled for completion in late 2006 or early 2007, will be Concord’s signature high-end development, and most suites will have views of the water.

Units with about 2,000 square feet of living space are expected to sell for $2 million, or more than $1,000 a square foot.

“It’s a very high-end project,” Webb said. “We’re trying to punch through the barrier in Vancouver and go into a new level of high-end residential.”

The highest price ever paid for a Vancouver condominium is believed to be $1,056 a square foot, which was paid by an unknown buyer last year who purchased a 5,700-square-foot Coal Harbour penthouse for $6.02 million.

Webb said the building’s unique design creates significant complications in the construction and cost of the building.

“The building rotates around while some of the vertical elements in it, like the elevators, stay in the same place so it creates unique construction issues,” he said.

Webb said the unnamed new Concord building will have three suites on each floor and four elevators, allowing each unit to have its own direct elevator that will open up into the living room. A full-time concierge will escort visitors to suites.

The building will also feature private two-car and three-car garages, an indoor/outdoor pool with fitness facilities and a media room for private functions.

Concord has submitted its plans for the project to the city and is scheduled to go before a design panel in October and meet with the development permit board in November. Webb said Concord expects to begin marketing the project late this year or early next year and many well-heeled buyers have already expressed a keen interest in the development.

“There are people who are putting down $10,000 deposits or reservations to try to get spots to see the project as soon as we’re ready to market,” he said.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

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