If you are familiar with downtown Vancouver, you've probably seen the half-finished, derelict building on the north side of the 1100 block of W. Georgia between Fitness World and Terasen Gas. I have no idea what happened that the building was abandoned part-way through construction years ago (it's been abandoned for alt least eight or nine years). In recent years its only occupant has been a hawk feeding off local pigeons occasionally leaving its prey's dismembered wings randomly scattered around the area. The current owners, who also own the adjacent building that houses Terasen Gas, have for years now been unsuccessful in getting the appropriate permits and zoning to redevelop the site. I've watched several permit application notices go up on the hoarding in front of the site and come back down again when they failed, mostly because the designs failed to stay clear of the view corridor. Vancouver has a number of protected views that ensure various parks around the city don't lose sight of the mountains. The diagonal lines though the map to the left are the limits of the view corridor. The site dead-centre in the map, across the street from the highlighted site is where the 60-storey Shangri-La hotel and luxury apartments, the tower portion of which has a nearly triangular footprint to work around the view-corridor.
It only took the current owners of the derelict building five years of redesigning assorted buildings that blocked the view corridor to look across the street and figure out that they needed to design something with the tower confined to the north-east corner of the lot.
A 56-storey hotel & apartment building has been approved for the lot and as of today, demolition has begun on the derelict building. Including the service structures on the top of the building this new building will be just a shade shorter than the Shangri-La across the street.
That will put the two tallest buildings in Vancouver on the next block over (the image to the right shows the street as it is today with the sky the two new skyscrapers will occupy greyed out - Rotwang's Lab is the red wall on the left). A 42-storey hotel/apartment is nearing completion at the corner of Bute and Melville. Two new buildings in the 30-storey range (33 and 28) are going up on the 1200 block of Melville. Soon the small L-shaped enclave of heritage buildings along Bute and Melville will be completely surrounded, including the two 25+ storey towers on that already exist on the same block.
You might think that I would be worried about this building being torn down for some other development, but it's quite the opposite. The remaining older buildings on this block are all class-A and class-B on the heritage register. Vancouver's heritage bylaw prohibits the demolition of these buildings and the development bylaw requires new development to put money into the maintenance of adjacent heritage buildings.
I love my 98-year old apartment in the middle of the city.