Archive for the ‘Credit Foncier’ Tag

Credit Foncier – West Hastings Street

This elegant office tower was built in 1913, at the tail end of a wave of new office buildings that saw the Downtown office area expand westwards from the area where the city had been founded. Costed at $350,000 the building permit (and the heritage plaque on the building) suggests it was designed by H L Stevens and Co for Credit Foncier Franco Canadian. The architects were from the US, based in Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and were known there for their hotel designs. They established an office in Vancouver around 1911, and designed several buildings, mostly offices, in the next two years as the city’s economy boomed. The Vancouver office employed a structural engineer as well as architect J Glenn Day, with Theo F Moorhead as the resident partner. However, the Contracts Record magazine in 1913 clarified that they were the contracting architects, and the design was by Barott Blackader & Webster, of Montreal.

A later entry in 1913 noted “This building is of reinforced concrete construction and the exterior will be finished with cut stone and terra cotta surmounted by a copper cornice. In the interior the floors will all be finished with rock maple. Marble wainscotting and terrazzo floors will be placed in the corridors. All the offices with the exception of those to be occupied by the Credit Foncier will be finished in oak. Mahogany will be used in finishing the quarters of the Credit Foncier. The Durham system of plumbing will be. installed throughout the entire building. Three passenger elevators will be at the service of the tenants. One of these elevators will be geared to carry 5,000 pounds weight. The plans for this building were prepared by H. L. Stevens & Company, Vancouver, in co-operation with Messrs. Barrott, Blackader & Webster, architects, of Montreal. Construction work is being carried on by H. L. Stevens & Company.” Construction had reached the 2nd floor by August 1913, had topped out in this December image, and the building was completed and occupied by May 1914.

Credit Foncier was a European funded mortgage lender. Headquartered in Quebec, the Annual Meeting took place in Paris as most of the company shares were in the hands of French, Swiss and Dutch shareholders. Founded in 1880, in 1979 a Moncton lawyer and Montreal investor tried to take control of the business, only to be thwarted by the Province of Quebec, who instead permitted the sale of the business to the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. The Corporation was finally dissolved in 1995, but fortunately the building lives on as office suites, now overshadowed by the Jameson House condo, office and retail tower completed in 2011. Our Vancouver Public Library image shows the building in 1927.

Image source: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives M-14-85

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