Archive for the ‘Henriquez Partners’ Tag

Water Street parkade


Water St Parkade

We saw this location in an earlier post when there were more substantial Water Street warehouses here. This is the building that replaced them as it appeared in 1973, and today. The Woodwards parkade stretches all the way from Cordova Street to Water Street, and was built as the Woodwards empire inexorably increased in size. The City of Vancouver acquired the 1957 parkade in 1995, and in the early 2000s spent $17m rebuilding the Cordova side of the structure, which previously had to be closed as the concrete was crumbling and the building structurally unsafe. The Water Street side was a later part of the parkade, designed by Paul Smith & Associates in 1971 (linked to the Project 200 plans), but was also rebuilt by the City of Vancouver at an additional $11m, with seismic upgrades, an extra floor of parking added and a ‘skin’ of office space to hide the parked cars (a significant improvement on the brick screen of the Woodwards structure).

The renovation and reconstruction, designed by Henriquez Partners, includes retail at street level. When it opened there was a huge historically themed underground tourist attraction called Storyeum that quickly headed into bankrupcy. That space has now been re-purposed by the Vancouver Film School. Unusually for a parking garage, the new structure has won multiple accolades – the International Parking Institute gave it an award of excellence in 2005; the Stress Free parking website named it as one of the top 10 coolest parking garages in the world, and Popular Mechanics named it one of the world’s 18 strangest parking garages in 2012 (apparently because fragments of the old bridges from the Woodward’s Parkade were incorporated into the new building, and there’s a storm water recycling system built in).

The justification for the City acquiring, renovating and retaining the parkades are to allow Gastown’s continued revitalization – not so much to provide visitor parking, but rather to permit ‘parking in lieu’ as revitalized heritage residential and commercial projects can develop with minimal or zero on-site parking. Some of the new Woodward’s parking is still included in the structure, linked by a new overhead walkway across Cordova Street.



Posted 9 July 2015 by ChangingCity in Altered, Gastown

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West Hastings Street – 100 block, north side (1)

100 block W Hastings

We’ve viewed this block – or at least a few of the buildings – from the other end. We’ve identified the Selkirk Block, (about halfway down the block) and the former YMCA that became the Hotel Astor. At the eastern end of the street we’re looking at the first building in Woodward’s new departmental store – the company having originally set up further east at Main and Georgia in 1892. This image (although dated in the Archives as c.1900)  shows the street as it looked in around 1904. The foundation for the new store was laid in June 1903, and it was completed as fast as possible. W T Whiteway was the architect, E Cook the builder, at the cost was $60,000. It was a four storey ‘brick and stick’ construction – a heavy wooden frame with a brick facade. A few years later Smith and Goodfellow designed the $35,000 vertical addition (in 1910). Three years later the store got a huge further addition, a $100,000 westwards extension designed by George Wenyon with a steel and concrete frame.

We’ve been unable to identify the two-storey building that was demolished to make way for the 1913 addition. It was built after 1903 – that year the site is clear (and it looks to be under construction in this image). The first name of a business appears in 1905 when John A Flett was running a hardware store, presumably in the new building. A year later they’re joined by White & Bindon, stationers, J W Gilmer selling carpets and Richard Mills, boots and shoes. In 1908 the hardware and stationers are still there, but the other tenants are the American Type Founders Co, Fraser and Pride clothing and H E Munday had the boot and shoe store. In 1909 the building was apparently owned by Mahon, McFarland & Mahon who paid for alterations to the storefront.

Today just the 1903 store still stands – looking more like the 1903 photo today than it has for a century. The Woodwards redevelopment (designed by Henriquez Partners for Westbank) retained the wood-frame building but added a concrete reinforcement on the western facade to give the old frame seismic stability, while the brick facade was tied back and the original lettering was faithfully restored after being covered in layers of paint for decades. New retail uses including a TD Bank now sit underneath office space, while further west the new part of the project here included non-market housing and Simon Fraser University’s Arts campus, as well as a London Drugs store.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 371-2102


Dougall House – West Cordova and Abbott – se corner

Across Abbott Street from the Wilson Block, Dougall House was built on Cordova in 1890 to the design of the Fripp brothers. It has many of the architectural characteristics of both its neighbour and the Boulder Hotel; rustic stonework, robust design, and an open parapet roof. It replaced a wooden hostelry built very quickly after the fire also called Dougall House. This building wasn’t wasted – after all it was only 3 years old, and had seen many important functions including the Citizen’s Banquet for the city’s first mayor. Instead it was moved back to the other half of the block, where it seems to have remained part of Dougall House.

The new stone building had lodging on the upper floors and street level retail. A number of the stores were used as offices, including those of Dr W J McGuigan who became mayor of Vancouver in 1904. Unlike many of the building of the era Dougall House still stands today, almost unchanged from when it was built, and from this 1949 Vancouver Public Library image. These days it houses the offices of the Army and Navy store company. The wooden building was replaced by the Travellers Hotel in 1910, which later became known as the Metropole, which can still be seen today. The new neighbour to the east is 60 West Cordova, a new residential building attempting which provided (initially at least) low cost market residential units in an increasingly high cost city. Designed by Henriquez Projects for Westbank, the final design includes light box figures on an otherwise black facade.

Image sources: VPL and City of Vancouver Archives Hot P34 and Hot P28.


108 West Cordova Street

In 1898 the Klondike gold rush was in full swing, and having a doubly important impact on the 12 year old City of Vancouver. While successful prospectors were already returning with enough money to commission investment buildings (like Thomas Flack), Vancouver merchants were making money equipping the miners scrambling to catch the tail end of the boom. William Kerfoot ran a clothing and furnishing business with his brother-in-law James Johnston (who had married William’s sister, Deborah, in Emerson Manitoba in 1881). They opened their store in G W Grant’s 1887 Wilson Block in 1890 or 1891 (when they appear in the street directory for the first time).

Like other city businesses they quickly cashed in on the massive upsurge in demand that accompanied the would-be miners, and this 1898 image shows a mule train about to head out loaded with supplies. In the background is Dougall House, built in 1890. Today this corner of the Woodwards development, designed by Henriquez Partners, is partly occupied by the Nesters Market supermarket, part of Jimmy Pattison’s retail empire, reintroducing a food store where Woodwards Food Floor used to be.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Str P336


Victory Square

The three significant buildings seen in the view from Victory Square in 1927 are still there. On the left is the 13 storey Dominion Building. Started in 1908 by the Imperial Trust Company it was designed by J S Helyer and Son. John Helyer handled the architectural aspects of their projects, while his son Maurice was more involved with the engineering.  An over optimistic belief that the necessary $600,000 would be easy to raise led to a shotgun merger with the Dominion Trust Company, and the building was completed in 1910. Perhaps it would have been called the Imperial Building if the merger hadn’t been needed.

The Dominion is said to be the first steel-framed building in the city, and on completion the tallest in the British Empire. When it was built it was across the street from the Courthouse, which was replaced in 1913, and later transformed into Victory Square with the Cenotaph, which can be clearly seen in this 1927 photograph. Several books and websites carry statements like this “Tragically, the Dominion Building’s architect, J.S. Hellyer, is said to have tripped, fallen and died on the interior staircase during the opening party for the building. His ghost reportedly haunts the staircase.”

It may well be true that Mr Helyer (not Hellyer) did fall at some time during the building’s construction, but the fall was not fatal and father and son went on to design other buildings. John Helyer finally died in 1919, having seen the building suffer further financial crises, with the Dominion Trust Company selling the building to the Dominion Bank, the Trust Company President W R Arnold committing suicide and the main financial backer Count Alvo von Alvensleben bankrupt.

The smaller building in the centre, the Flack Block was completed in 1899 to William Blackmore’s design for Thomas Flack who made his money successfully prospecting in the Klondike. On the right is the Carter-Cotton building, also steel framed and completed in 1909. Designed by Cox and Amos, it was home to the News-Advertiser newspaper. Later acquired by the Province newspaper, it continued as editorial offices until 1960. The Flack Building has recently had an expensive and superb restoration designed by Acton Ostry Architects that has added a new fifth floor. And the only significant addition to the picture? The 43 storey Woodwards W Tower designed by Henriquez Partners and completed in 2010.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives Park N19


West Cordova and Abbott (and Woodwards)

We’ve already referenced the Wilson Block on the corner, owned by real estate broker W B Wilson. He had a series of important tenants including Rand Bros real estate (who initially set the development of the Alhambra Hotel going before George Byrnes took it on), a barrister, D S Wallbridge and the Vancouver Gas Co (C D Rand secretary-treasurer).

The building behind it, up Abbott Street is the first Metropole Hotel, built in 1892 to N S Hoffar’s design for English investors Town and Robinson. For 1894 and 1895 there’s an odd Directory entry “Hotel Metropole vacant” but by 1898 Hodson and Dempsey are proprietors, and in 1900 when this VPL photograph was taken William Hodson was the proprietor, and George Parker was the Manager.

By 1904 Woodward’s Department store had been established on the vacant lot on the corner of West Hastings, next to the Hotel Metropole (at that time managed by Atkins and Johnson) . The Hotel remained standing until 1924 when Woodwards expanded southward, and the Metropole name transferred to an existing hotel, the Travellers Hotel on the opposite side of the street. W T Whiteway designed the 1903 4-storey Woodwards building, and Smith and Goodfellow the vertical expansion of Woodwards in 1910. Today’s heritage restoration was designed by Henriquez Partners as well as the 32 storey tower on the corner.


Here’s a Vancouver Sun image dated to 1908 that shows the 1903 store with its new addition on the Abbott and West Hastings corner and the restored (and seismically rebuilt) Woodwards building, now used as offices and a childcare. The Metropole Hotel can be seen a bit further down Abbott Street. As the addition by Smith and Goodfellow wasn’t added until 1910, the image must really date from at least then.


West Cordova from Abbott (1)

We’re looking west up West Cordova Street from the junction with Abbott in this 1889 Vancouver Public Library image. Somebody at the studio of Bailey and Neelands took the photograph – both the Bailey and Neelands families moved west from the same small area of rural Ontario that a number of other successful Vancouver pioneers came from. The only building in common in both pictures is right at the end of the street and almost out of sight. That’s the Arlington Block, developed by Dr. James Whetham in 1888, almost certainly using N S Hoffar as the architect. The pink building is the Panama Block, built in 1913. The block on the left is G W Grant’s first known project in Vancouver “commercial block for W B Wilson, 1887”. It was illustrated in an 1887 promotional publication “Vancouver – Pacific Coast Terminus of the CPR”.

There are several businesses that will be very successful on this side of the street including G E Trorey, whose business was later bought by Birks jewellers. (When Birks took over they also got the clock Trorey bought in Boston for $2,000 in 1905. When they moved their business to its new location they also moved the clock, which became the Birks Clock). Johnston and Kerfoot are there, who outfit many Klondike excursions in years to follow, and McClennan and McFeely, who will grow a trading empire in the city. Bailey Brothers, the photographers, are based about half way up the street, just before Kurtz and Co’s cigar factory. On the right is the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the Savoy Theatre (designed by William Blackmore), a Chinese company, Kwong Hang Chung Co (showing they weren’t all confined to Chinatown) and Rae’s Boot and Shoe Co, among others.

In between the two photographs Woodwards took over the entire south side of the street, and these days it’s the base of the 43-storey Woodwards W tower by Henriquez Partners with a mix of condo and non-market housing above retail, including Nester’s Market. Most of the right side is Henriquez’s redesigned Gastown Parkade, but the Cook Block from 1901 and the 1911 Runkle Block designed by G L T Sharp are both still standing.


Hotel Astor – 147 West Hastings Street

Here’s the Hotel Astor in 1910.  The Ormidale Block is just to the west, Woodwards Department Store is to the east, and it was probably designed by Dalton and Eveleigh for Crowe and Wilson and finished the year before. Swain Sherdahl, who also owned the Dominion Hotel on Water Street, had a controlling interest in the building. Until recently we hadn’t realised that the hotel use took Thomas Hooper’s 1890 YMCA building and converted it for hotel use, adding a canopy but removing the fancy cornice.

By 1917 it was owned by Mr Frank McIntyre of W H Malkin and Co decided to have the hotel remodelled for store purposes, and T A Fee got the design job.

Now it’s the western end of the huge redevelopment of the Woodwards property, and part of the Simon Fraser University presence in the scheme. Developed by Westbank and designed by Henriquez Partners it was completed in 2010.

Image source: BC Archives