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Vancouver high-rise complex application not filed yet for Robson Street archdiocese site

Stephanie Ip, Postmedia Network

No rezoning or development applications have been made yet on a proposal to build a 30-storey residential, hotel and commercial complex adjacent to the Terry Fox Plaza downtown.

Proposed plans for the future of 118 and 150 Robson St. have been available publicly since September 2016 when a community open house was hosted by development firm Amacon, which bought the property in 2012 for a reported $32.55 million, according to investment news blog Real Estate News Exchange. The lot, which is the former home of the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver head offices, is now assessed at $40.68 million, according to the most recent B.C. Assessment figures for 2016.

However, no rezoning or development applications have been put forth to the city yet though it's believed Amacon is in the process of refining its application, expected later this year.

"No formal development application has been made yet so I cannot provide you with a timeline until that process has been completed by the developer," said City of Vancouver spokesman Tobin Postma.

Amacon has not yet responded to a request for an update on the status of the project.

The half-acre Robson Street site is bookended by Cambie and Beatty streets, and leads to the Terry Fox Plaza at B.C. Place Stadium. The space is currently occupied by Back Forty restaurant and pub plus the former Northern Electric Company building. Until its sale in 2012, the brick building at 150 Robson St. was owned by and served as the head office for the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver for more than 50 years.

Plans detailed by Amacon include the restoration and preservation of the Northern Electric Company building facade, which has been identified as having heritage value, and the construction of a residential tower located above several floors of retail and hotel facilities.

The residential tower, the entrance of which will face Cambie Street, will offer 125 suites ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. Meanwhile, the hotel will boast 120 rooms and facilities — including a spa, gym and restaurant — across the first five floors of the complex. Plans for the complex also include 280 parking stalls, 250 bicycle stalls and 56 electric-vehicle charging stations.

The sidewalk along Robson Street directly in front of the building will also be doubled in width, from 12.5 feet to 36.5 feet, in anticipation of crowds leading to and from B.C. Place on event days.

The Northern Electric Company building was built in two parts, in 1928 and 1947, and was purchased by the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver in 1958 for use as its head office and as a men's hostel.

The hostel, which is Yaletown's only shelter, will be relocated elsewhere though a new location has not yet been identified. Amacon's plans note that a new location for the shelter will be identified once an application is put forth to the city and community consultations are held.