Concord Pacific to build two towers on CBC site

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Broadcaster plans to upgrade facility on Hamilton Street

John Bermingham

The CBC is pushing ahead with plans to develop its site in downtown Vancouver, despite an 11-day lockout of 5,500 employees across the country.

The CBC has applied to the city for permission to add two highrise condo towers and renovate the CBC/Radio-Canada building at 700 Hamilton St.

The project includes 17-storey and 29-storey residential towers housing more than 400 condo units, new retail space and a five-level parkade.

It’s undeveloped floor area,” said John Greer, the city’s project facilitator.

“The CBC building probably only takes up a third of what can be done.”

The CBC block is bounded by West Georgia, Cambie, Robson and Hamilton, and the towers will stand side by side facing Robson.

Architect Joost Bakker said the development will allow the CBC to upgrade its broadcast facility.

“The very reason CBC is doing this is to create this integrated newsroom and to allow them to bring in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Bakker.

CBC is selling the development rights to Concord Pacific to finance the newsroom overhaul.

“They want to have a building that’s more accessible and has a friendlier public face,” he said. “It’s a bit of a hostile building at the moment.”

The public area and open spaces within the building and outside on the plaza will be expanded.

The plans include a proposed courtyard and music stage, along with a blank, interactive “soundscape” wall to display graphics, as well as a new glass TV studio.

“The [CBC] building will remain. They’re not going to demolish it,” said Greer. “But they’re going to do a lot of improvements to it.”

City staff have given approval in principle to the scheme.

The application goes before the Development Permit Board next Monday. The meeting is open to the public.

The major sticking point in CBC’s dispute with the Canadian Media Guild is that it wants to increase contract workers and reduce the number of full-time employees.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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