Net zero is achievable in Vancouver. Why is it not the minimum standard for all developments?

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65% Rental Housing

Net Zero Carbon Lifecycle

Broadway & Commercial will create 438 rental and below-market rental homes within a project that is certified as net zero carbon across its full lifecycle. From an emissions perspective - it will be as it was never constructed.

In the context of a climate crisis, net zero should be the standard. This project represents a commitment to making low carbon development a priority in Vancouver.

65% Rental Housing

Net Zero Carbon Lifecycle

Broadway & Commercial will create 438 rental and below-market rental homes within a project that is certified as net zero carbon across its full lifecycle. From an emissions perspective - it will be as it was never constructed.

In the context of a climate crisis, net zero should be the standard. This project represents a commitment to making low carbon development a priority in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver's Housing Strategy aims to deliver approximately 2,000 units of purpose-built rental housing a year.

The revised concept for Broadway & Commercial will provide 438 rental and below-market rental homes, close to 25% of the City's annual rental target. It would also increase the housing stock in this neighbourhood by 3.5%.

We have heard from this community that there is a need for housing across the continuum now.

Support diverse net zero housing options in Vancouver.

Q: Why here?

This proposal would transform a surface parking lot into a new expanded Safeway and 653 homes, the majority of which are rental, with 93 below-market rental and the remainder being home ownership opportunities. It’s immediately adjacent to one of the busiest transit hubs in the region. This project’s site has been identified for densification by the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan and this project complies with the densities prescribed by the Plan. It will support approximately 300 full-time jobs in the community, which is estimated to increase spending at community restaurants and shops by $5 - 7M / year. It’s also designed to be extremely low-carbon — the operational carbon will be under 10 kg CO2 / MWh — 90% lower than Vancouver’s building code requirements.

This project is an important step towards realizing the goals set out in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan to support this neighbourhood’s future success, and it will directly contribute to this city and community’s future success.

Q: What is the engagement process on this project – how is the community being consulted?

Public engagement on this project, both City-led and Developer-led, has been ongoing since 2016. Prior to this, extensive community consultation resulted in the approved 2017 Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, the context for our proposed project. The project’s full range of commentary has been misrepresented, by selectively using limited data from small portions of a multi-year engagement process that is still ongoing. What we have seen and heard throughout our 6 years of engagement is that there is significant support for our project and housing projects of this kind on transit, as well as a need for more rental in our city.

Q: How does this project help address the need for housing?

This project will create over 653 new homes, on an underused site, half of which is currently a surface parking lot.

In 2016, the project was originally conceived as a primarily market condo housing offering. However, the proposal has been redesigned so that 438 out of the proposed 653 homes are rental, with 224 designed as family housing. The project also provides 93 below-market rental homes, which was not required by the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.

For a balanced city, density needs to be distributed in all communities. The Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood and specifically the Broadway & Commercial site has been identified by City Planning for additional density, because of its location immediately adjacent one of Vancouver’s busiest transit hubs. The City anticipates that over 10,000 new residents will be coming to the Grandview-Woodland Community alone in the next three decades. We have heard from our city and community that there is a need for housing across the continuum now.

Q: What is happening to the Safeway Grocery store?

Once Broadway & Commercial is complete the new project will include a 50,000 sf store, 30% larger than the store there today. With the increased space, we will be able to expand services and offer a greater selection of products, with a variety of new diverse food options like a sushi bar. Safeway has been serving this community for over 50 years and they are looking forward to serving this community even better in the future through this project.

Q: What makes Commercial-Broadway such an important transit node in the city?

Commercial-Broadway Station is already one of the busiest stations in Western Canada — In 2019 data from Translink shows the station served over 30,000,000 passengers in a year. The Broadway-Millennium Line Extension is expected to increase traffic significantly at this node, projected to double the ridership of the current 99 B-Line and add another 50M passengers a year to this line alone by 2050.

Q: Does Broadway & Commercial conform to the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan?

The Broadway & Commercial proposal meets the use requirements and overall density of 5.7 FSR outlined by the 2017 official Community Plan . Compared to other municipalities in Metro Vancouver this is a relatively modest density, particularly in the context of the climate crisis and Vancouver’s need for housing. While the Community Plan allows for up to 5 buildings on the site with 4 being tall towers, Broadway & Commercial proposes only 3 buildings, which provides more open space and reduces shadowing. To achieve this, the tower heights deviate slightly from the 24 storeys specified in the Plan, with one tower at 24 storeys, one at 28 storeys and one at 29 storeys — a move proposed by the architects Perkins & Will, working in consultation with the City Planning department, over multiple years and using best practices in urban design. As a result, 2 of the 3 buildings proposed are now rental, which would create 438 rental and below-market rental homes for the community.

Q: What are some of the community benefits the project will provide?
  • 438 out of the proposed 653 homes are rental and below-market rental. Of the rental homes 35% are 2 Bedroom or larger for families.
  • 93 of the 438 rental homes, are below-market rental homes.
  • 20,000 sf public plaza that aligns with the 2017 Grandview-Woodland Plan, with infrastructure in place for a public theatre and community cultural space.
  • A 50,000 sf grocery store, the most complete in the neighbourhood.
  • Re-wilding of the urban environment through verdant landscaping.
  • New workspace, supporting 250 – 300 full-time jobs in the community. Estimated to increase annual spending at community restaurants and shops by $5 – 7M / year.
Q: What was the design rationale for the public plaza?

The 20,000 sf public plaza was designed by Perkins & Will in alignment with the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan. The architects felt it was important for plaza to be as close to the transit station and to Commercial Drive as possible, to reinforce the importance of the transit hub and allow a North-South connection, from Broadway to 10th Ave and the 10th Ave Bikeway. The plaza is placed for maximum daylight, in the sunniest location on the site, and the inclusion of amphitheatre seating adjacent to the public plaza will provide an added benefit to the community. We are committed to the success of this public plaza and will be working in conjunction with the City and community to help animate it.

Q: How are we responding to the climate crisis at Broadway & Commercial?

It starts with a low-carbon district energy system operated by a regulated utility - Creative Energy. A 3MW central plant made of heat pumps, chillers and electric boilers will provide low carbon heating and cooling 100% powered by clean electricity from BC Hydro, with natural gas only for back-up heating. Two 15,000 litre water storage tanks will act like thermal batteries, with excess energy recovered from cooling commercial space during the day, stored and used to heat residential homes during peak morning and evening periods.

Combining this efficient district energy system with a high-performance envelope and low-carbon building materials, our project will go above and beyond the sustainability requirements outlined in the Vancouver Building Code.

Q: How is this project getting to net zero carbon?

After leveraging sustainable design methods and our district energy system to reduce embodied and operational carbon emissions over a 60 year lifecycle, we will offset our remaining emissions using reliable sources to achieve true net zero carbon. From an emissions perspective, it will be as if our project was never constructed.

  • 90% reduction in operational carbon through our district energy plant powered by clean electricity from BC Hydro.
  • 25% reduction in embodied carbon through the use of lowcarbon materials throughout the structure and envelope.
  • High-quality carbon offsets purchased locally to mitigate residual emissions

By achieving net zero, 75,000 tonnes of carbon will be avoided over the project’s lifecycle, which is the equivalent of planting 88,000 acres of trees, or 88 Stanley Parks.

Q: How does Broadway & Commercial compare in the context of the newly proposed Broadway Plan?

The recently proposed Phase 3 of the Broadway Plan contemplates 30 – 40 storey towers at station areas to the west that attract far less transit and vehicular traffic than Broadway & Commercial. Our project is below these heights and aligns with the current City policies for the area. This is in addition to offering community amenities and targeting sustainability objectives that far exceed those sought by the Broadway Plan.

Q: How tall are the residential buildings?

The built-form contemplated in the Grandview-Woodland Plan allowed for 4 towers at 24 storeys. This project proposes 3 buildings at 24, 28 and 29 storeys, a built-form which produces more open space, better tower separation, and reduces shadowing and bulk. The move was proposed by architects Perkins & Will working in consultation with the City Planning department over multiple years and using best practices in urban design. There are many benefits achieved by this move, and this design was recognized by the Design Panel as better urban planning.

Q: How affordable are the affordable rental homes and how did you arrive at 93?

Though Grandview-Woodland Community Plan did not require any affordable rental on this site, working with City Planning, we arrived at this offering based on 20% of the net new density from the rezoning (57,000 sf) being affordable. With this 57,000 sf, the project has created 93 affordable rental homes, 35% of which will be 2 bedroom or larger, for families. These homes will be offered at 100% CMHC City Wide Rents, a level of affordability determined with the City, taking into consideration this area’s current and future demographics. The table below reflects the current monthly rents.

Home Type 100% CMHC City Wide Rents 2022
Studio $1,309 / Month
1 Bedroom $1,515 / Month
2 Bedroom $2,093 / Month
3 Bedroom $2,583 / Month

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