Agenda Index City of Vancouver


TO: Vancouver City Council
FROM: General Manager of Engineering Services in consultation with the Director of Current Planning
SUBJECT: Coal Harbour: 1100 Block Cordova Street Gap Closure Details

The General Manager of Engineering Service submits this report for INFORMATION

There is no existing policy pertaining to this matter.



On July 25, 2000, Council requested that staff provide information on the design of Cordova Street and the related sidewalks and furniture, etc. on the "Cordova gap" to a Standing Committee on Transportation and Traffic meeting.



At a Public Hearing on June 29, 1995, Council approved Marathon’s application for rezoning of 501 Bute Street (Harbour Green Neighbourhood) subject to a number of conditions, including the obligation to build the extension of Cordova Street between Thurlow and Bute, and to close the gap between Cordova Street and the abutting properties on the south side of this block.



The future Cordova Street between Thurlow and Bute Streets will be built approximately 11 metres above the current grade. In order to achieve this, Marathon is required to build a retaining wall adjacent to the abutting properties on the south side of the 1100 block of Cordova Street. A gap is therefore created between the wall and the buildings which must functionally serve as a ventilation area for the parking garages for 1111 and 1177 West Hastings and an underground loading area for the hotel at 1133 West Hastings.

The loading dock for the hotel is currently accessed via a driveway from Waterfront Road and the plan to elevate Cordova Street will eliminate that access. Negotiations between Marathon, the City, and the adjacent property owners have led to provisions that would allow the hotel continued access at the lower level, underneath the future Cordova Street.

The gap created between Cordova Street and the abutting buildings varies in width from 10m along the eastern half to provide for the underground truck access to the hotel’s loading bay, and 1.2m along the western half to provide ventilation to the parking garages. In order to provide a pedestrian friendly streetscape it is necessary to close the gap to prevent views to the underground access below. Appendix A is a plan of the south side of Cordova between Thurlow Street and Bute Street.

The surface treatment of the western end of the gap is a standard 3m sidewalk bordered by a grassed lawn that extends to the edge of the gap. Between the grass and the buildings are the ventilation grates. The grass surface treatment is possible here as this portion of land is situated over earth supported by the retaining wall. See section G in Appendix B.

The surface treatment on the eastern end of the closure is constrained by the presence of the concrete structure beneath the sidewalk. To compensate for limitations on the amount of natural material that the surface can support, substantial planters with trees and shrubs (e.g. Japanese maples) will be located along the deck surface. Benched seating will be incorporated into these planters to provide an attractive area for relaxation. The plaza surface treatment of textured concrete is reminiscent of the shoreline walkway and the planter benches capture design elements from the light pedestals along the walkway. Street trees will be planted along the length of Cordova Street where location allows (i.e. where the tree pits can be located in fill supported by the retaining wall). The drawing of the Gap Plaza, Appendix A and Section C, Appendix B illustrate these details.

Engineering and Planning staff have been working with the developer and the property owners to create an attractive yet functional solution to the Cordova Gap closure structure. Staff feel that the current design achieves that goal.

Discussions held with the building owners presented the owners with the opportunity to develop their buildings to take advantage of the new street level access (i.e. retail opportunities and street cafes). At this time there was been little interest in this option with the exception of the hotel. The hotel is building a stairway to the gap closure structure that will allow pedestrian access to the hotel lobby and will provide increased pedestrian activity along the street.



The final design of Cordova Street and the related gap closure structure provides underground loading access to the hotel at 1133 West Hastings Street and permits ventilation of the parking garages at 1111 West Hastings Street and 1177 West Hastings Street. At the same time this design will ensure an enhanced streetscape in keeping with other sections of the Coal Harbour development, with little evidence of the gap below.

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