Tom Durning and Michael Geller have been debating the Kettle highrise proposal (technically a mid-rise) in Grandview.
The No folks are getting aggressive. They recently placed NO signs behind the Kettle building much to the dismay of the residents who were sitting on the grass. As if their lives aren’t difficult enough.
No wonder some of the signs go missing. Bullying the mentally ill. The only way the Kettle can expand it’s over-stretched facilities and get 30 units of desperately needed social housing units is to be part of a ‘tower’ development. The math has to work.
The ‘there goes the neighborhood’ proponents don’t seem to care. Not something you’d expect in or around the ‘Drive’. The Kettle has been there for 40 years.
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While I support public-private partnerships to create supportive housing, and don’t necessarily support the actions of the anti-tower proponents, in this case I too question the appropriateness of a 6.8 FSR project on this site.
In planning terms, this is another example of ‘form following finance’ rather than a building form in accordance with an overall community plan.
It’s also incorrect to suggest that this height and density is required to make the numbers work.
While I have not asked for nor seen the pro-forma, the building height and overall bulk could be reduced if the city wasn’t insisting on top dollar for its site.
If this was a 100 percent condo I am certain the city planners would not consider this an appropriate building form and design for this location.
As an architect and planner I do not believe the inclusion of affordable housing justifies an inappropriate design.
As Brent Toderian has often said, “first we should decide on the appropriate building form and then we can decide on what public benefits are achievable.”
If this proposal was presented to a panel of thoughtful architects and planners, asked to comment from an urban design perspective, I am confident they would conclude the building bulk should be reduced.
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I certainly agree with most of what you say, Michael. I also agree with Patrick Condon on why towers all the time. Who wouldn’t?
However, some are hijacking the process for their own agenda. That is, opposition to density that they think would affect them and their ‘neighborhoods’ under the guise of ‘neighborhood integrity’, ‘good design’, ‘sustainability’
If every project that was ‘controversial’ had to go before a panel ‘of thoughtful (sic) architects and planners’, it would mean a long, drawn out process. Don’t we have an urban design panel at City hall?
Process is often used to stall progress. Reducto ad absurdum, then all development projects should also go the the sagacious bunch you mention. You don’t see a lot of public opposition to some of the towers going up in the downtown area, do you? And I do agree with you that some of them are of great design and innovation.
As far as OCP’s. Michael, puleeezzzz! You know they are a guideline. As a developer I’m sure many times you had to confront the ‘set in stone’ OCPers. Bit of stretch here.
By what right do you or others to see the pro forma of Kettle? Did you let people see yours?
You’re not an elected politician and have no right. You have a column. That’s your power. And, for the most part, I agree with much of what you have to say. It can be used to educated, inform and help people understand the need for change. Bob Ransford tries that effectively, even though he is buried in the Real Estate pages of the Saturday Sun.
It’s no surprise that the most controversial high-rise developments have been the STIR rental projects in the West End, the Brenhill project (off to court again), and now the Kettle project.
There is a society that had been serving those on the east side of Vancouver with mental illness for nearly 40 years gets an offer of land from their next door neighbour, Mr. Astorino, who’s business on the site was no longer viable. He offers the land to the Kettle who he says had been good neighbors for many years. But they couldn’t make it work and tried various methods of fundraising for years. The the city offers them the parking lot in the rear of the site. Then the Kettle makes it work. They get 30 housing units and a 40 percent increase in their operating space which is bursting at the seams. And there goes the neighborhood!