Beatty Street – 500 block

We’re on the 500 block of Beatty Street in 1927, looking north to the World Building which is now covered in the advertising for the Bekins moving and storage company. There are a series of warehouses coming up the hill, ending with one designed by Parr and Fee for Robertson-Godson in 1909. That building was removed to make way for the SkyTrain station and public plaza and steps down to International Village, but the rest are still there, often with alterations.

These days the bottom of the hill has the Sun Tower (as it’s been known since the Sun newspaper moved in in 1937). The steel dome is painted to look like copper, and although W T Whiteway gets the architectural credit it was suggested by G L Sharp that he actually drew the initial design. Storey and Campbell’s 1911 warehouse also designed by Whiteway is next up the hill, converted to apartments in 1996. The Bowman Lofts were converted in 2006 and the Crane Building next door two years later. Both have extra new-build floors added on top as part of the residential conversion. The Bowman building was built in 1906, added to in 1913 and then rebuilt to Townley and Matheson’s designs in 1944, while the Crane building had Somervell & Putnam as architects and cost over $120,000 in 1911.

At 548 Beatty Bruno Freschi took a 1904 warehouse and radically reinterpreted it in 1983 by pushing the front wall back leaving a front windowless screen as balconies. 560 Beatty is a bit of a mystery, although it dates back to 1909. Next door at 564 Beatty the original architect is also a mystery up to the top of the first floor. It was also built in 1909, but in 1912 J P Matheson added two more floors. This view will change if an approved four storey addition by IBI/HB gets built, with new windows replacing the never-meant-to-be-seen side of the building, and a cafe added to the plaza.

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