Richards and Helmcken Street – south-west corner

In the 40 years between these two images another building was constructed, and has already been replaced. In 1981 this was a Chevron gas station, across the lane from Brookland Court, developed by William and Joseph Lightheart and originally called the Lightheart Apartments.

This site was originally developed with four houses facing Helmcken, with the Star Laundry next door to the south on Richards. They had been developed in 1905 by Mrs. Desrosiers, and they were obviously investment properties as M A Desrosiers carried out repairs to them in 1921. Magloire Desrosiers had arrived in 1888, and became the city’s best-known cornice maker, having started out as a tinsmith. Marie, Magloire’s wife, who had (nominally at least) developed the houses here, died in 1934, and his death was in 1936. The houses were still standing in 1955, so the gas station was developed after that (and the gas bar design has a 50s style). It was one of two gas stations on the same corner – we saw the Shell station on the south-east corner in an earlier post. We also looked at the houses still standing on the north-east corner.

In 1985, Jubilee House was developed here, a low-rise building with 89 units of non-market housing. By 2015 it was described as “falling apart”, with no sprinklers and poor accessibility to those with disabilities. The building was owned by the City of Vancouver, who subsequently swapped the site with developer Brenhill for one they owned across the street. They built the larger New Jubilee House first across the street, to allow all the tenants of the old building to stay in the same area (and 73 more below-market rental units to be added in the new, larger building). Brenhill were then able to develop 8X on the Park, a 36 storey condo and rental tower with a total of 388 units. This fourth development to be built on the site, it’s likely to last a lot longer than all the previous buildings.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 779-E07.02



Posted 17 March 2022 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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