Posts Tagged ‘Bowman Block’

Recognition: Salient Group wins 4 City of Vancouver Heritage Honour Awards

May 26th, 2009


The City of Vancouver Heritage Commission has awarded four of the Salient Group’s developments for building rehabilitation as follows:

The Flack Block, 163 West Hastings Street, an Award of Honour for structural, seismic and building systems upgrading, sustainable interiors, locally crafted stone façade components, reinstated areaways, extensive exterior restoration, and a compatible contemporary rooftop addition.

The Bowman Block, 528 Beatty Street, as Award of Merit for the mindful, restrained exterior preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse to commercial and residential, including a compatible contemporary loft addition.

The Paris Block, 53 West Hastings Street, an Award or Recognition for its rescue, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse, and for the social and economic benefit the project provides to the downtown neighbourhood.

The Lumbermen’s Building, 509 Richards Street, an Award of Recognition for its rehabilitation and structural upgrade, including exposing the original banking hall ceiling, and providing high quality ground floor use and office space.

>> See the complete list of our awards on the Awards page.

Westcoast Homes: Are you living in an award winner?

October 13th, 2007
>> See the complete list of our awards on the Awards page.

The insertion of apartments into an Edwardian warehouse generated an honour for the Salient Group and its principal, Robert Fung.
The insertion of apartments into an Edwardian warehouse generated an honour for the Salient Group and its principal, Robert Fung.

Westcoast Homes – Are you living in an award winner?
Vancouver Sun
October 13, 2007

The UniverCity community atop Burnaby Mountain was among new home projects and communities taking the spotlight in an industry competition. 

Home to 2,000 people currently and 10,000 eventually, UniverCity was judged the best entry in the “innovations in creating a livable and sustainable region” category. 

Verdant, a new home project at UniverCity, was the recipient of two awards – in the “innovations … in more affordable housing” and the “innovations in more sustainable development” categories. 

UniverCity is a Simon Fraser University undertaking. 

Verdant is a Vancily Enterprises project. 

The judges were all members of the local development fraternity, industry and government. The organizer of the competition is the local chapter of the Urban Development Institute. 

The importance of the awards to local developers and builders was identified in a statement from Gordon Harris of SFU Community Trust: 

…”With the kind of exposure we receive from awards such as this, more and more people will consider UniverCity’s spectacular views, and innovative sustainahility features when they are looking for a quality home in a great community.” 

Another new community, Garrison Crossing in Chilliwack, was recognized as best “master-planned development.’ Randy Fasan of Canada Lands Co. thought the award a recognition of the “new urbanist and ‘Smart Growth’ principles” that have guided the company in its transformation of the formcr CFB Chilliwack into a residential neighbourhood. 


Other award-wilmers include: 
– The Melville, by Amaton, best ‘”mixed use.”
– Bowman Lofts, by the Salient Group, best “revitalization, renovation or heritage.”
– Pomaria, by the Qualex Landmark Group, best “residential highrise.” 
– 1168 Richards, by the Townline Group, best “mid-rise.”
– Folio, by Intracorp, best “low-rise.”
– Bedford landing – Cedarmill, by ParkLane Homes, best “ground-oriented” single family. 
– Somerset, by Leddingham McAllister, best “ground-oriented” multi-family, 
– Towne by Mosaic, best “urban infill”


>> See the complete list of our awards on the Awards page.

Bowman Block wins UDI Award of Excellence

October 4th, 2007

Bowman Block 2007 UDI Award

The Bowman Block, located at 528 Beatty Street in Crosstown, received the Urban Development Institutes award of excellence for best heritage redevelopment.

The building undertook a complete transformation changing from a relatively unasuming office/warehouse building, into 38 heritage lofts with a character and flair unlike anything in Vancouver. The original heritage framework of the building such as Douglas firm floors, huge wood beams, and brick walls, were all retained to give the lofts a true heritage character, while pretty much everything else was completely reconstructed, making sure all the luxuries of a modern apartment were available and in turn making the spaces highly livable. 

Along with the conversion of the existing building, two additional stories were added to the building, which by contrast are quite modern and distinguishable from the existing 1906 structure. This is the second building to be completed by The Salient Group, the first being the Taylor Building which was finished in 2003. The Taylor Building was also a winner for best heritage development at the previous UDI awards.

>> See the complete list of our awards on the Awards page.

Home Makeover: Lofts To Love

July 25th, 2007
The 1911 Paris Block building on Hastings Street: next up for conversion.

The 1911 Paris Block building on Hastings Street: next up for conversion.

Lofts to Love
Salvaging the last of Vancouver’s heritage structures

By Peter Mitham
July/August 2007

PULL QUOTE: “Our whole goal is always to touch these spaces pretty lightly” Interior designer David Nicoloy of Evoke lnternotionol Designs Inc.

Turning derelict old Vancouver offices and warehouses into loft condominiums entails some of the challenges that face a homeowner renovating an older house: hidden surprises, higher-than-anticipated costs and a steep learning curve. 

This spring, the Salient Group brought one of the latest projects to market, the Paris building at 51 West Hastings. Completed in 1911, the five-storey former shoe factory is typical of the conversions taking place elsewhere in Vancouver’s historic core. When renovations are completed late next year, the building will feature 29 homes of approximately 750 square feet catering to buyers with a zest for urban living. Currently, Salient has started work on the Garage, which will combine an 1899 rope factory and a 1930-era auto centre into live/work spaces. 

But the demands in crafting trendy homes from old commercial space are daunting. 

“These small, infill sites really have to be in the right location,” explained Rick Ilich, president of the Townline Group of Richmond, which moved into the urban core in 2005 with an ambitious plan for six properties with a total of 197 homes in the Crosstown and Yaletown areas. 

“Construction’s slower, the trades aren’t necessarily making the margins they would on a simple, 30-storey building where they can just fl y, so you’ve got to make sure you’re in the location that can get the numbers that you need to make it worthwhile,” he said.

Two of Townline’s conversion projects – 1180 Homer, which completed this year, and 540 Beatty, set for to open next year – have had to balance economic demands as well as neighbours’ tolerance for the demanding work the projects require. A new, interior shell was built at 540 Beatty, for example, as part of seismic upgrading.


Globe & Mail: Bowman Block: An over-the-top restoration

May 18th, 2007
The Bowman Block's new penthouses overlook Beatty Street.

The Bowman Block's new penthouses overlook Beatty Street.

Architect Gair Williamson has harmoniously blended old and new in a revitalization of Beatty Street’s Bowman Block 

Trevor Boddy
Globe & Mail Real Estate, Architecture spotlight
Friday, May 18, 2007

For the past half century at very least, Vancouver has been a cauldron of innovation for new housing ideas. In the 1960s we developed the West End’s trademark small floor plate, medium-rise apartment tower. Nudged upwards as the small floor plate high-rise condominium tower, this housing form is of increasing interest world-wide from Dubai to San Diego.

More recently, Vancouver has been developing housing hybrids – buildings that combine two quite different uses, or else two quite different physical formats of multiple homes. Divergent uses brought together by an unbeatable confluence of ultrahigh land prices and mandates from our all-powerful urban planners have prompted an unexpected laminate of functions: big box stores topped by the buttons and bows of rooftop condos. Vancouver is home to the world’s first Costco store capped by condominium towers, on Pacific Boulevard. 

Our city’s true main street, Broadway, is the location of a rising number of these large retailers sprouting layers of residences up top. First up was the SportChek store at Ontario Street and West Broadway, where several storeys of suites rise right above the roller blades and designer jogging togs. 

Condos over food stores is the new theme a couple of blocks west on Cambie, where one side of the street will soon see condos over the flagship Save-On Foods. The other side of the street will be home to condos on top of a competing grocery outlet – or American organic food giant Whole Foods. This company recently bought the Capers chain, who (at least temporarily), have a condo-topped store a few blocks up the Canada Line construction corridor. Soon we will all be calling it the “boulevard of munching dreams.”


Western Living Condo: Robert Fung – Character Builder

May 15th, 2007


Robert Fung – Character Builder
By Trevor Boddy
Spring/Summer 2007

It isn’t easy turning funky old buildings in sketchy neighbourhoods into fashionable condos. Just ask developer Robert Fung. 

Robert Fung has become Vancouver’s condo developer of the future by concentrating on the past.

As his fellow real estate tycoons paid ever-higher prices for land to build condo towers downtown and at SkyTrain hubs, Fung followed another path – riskier in someways, more rewarding in others. Confounding conventional wisdom, he purchased historic buildings all around Canada’s poorest and most drug-plagued urban neighbourhood. 

It wasn’t as if he didn’t know how to crank out high-rise condos. He had spent a decade working for other developers, mostly Concord Pacific. Vancouver’s largest developer had hired Fung straight from a B.A. in Anthropology at Western in 1990, though he admits there was a little family influence involved – father Robert Fung Sr. is a prominent Liberal and former CEO of Toronto’s Waterfront Development Corporation. Etobicoke-raised Fung learned how to put together skinny-tower-on-townhouse-base projects, get them approved at city hall, then preset those invisible, yet-to-be-constructed boxes in the air that are Vancouver’s condos-to-come. Eventually, though, this development formula became rote and the land price stakes too high for independent new players like him. 

From his perch at Concord Pacific, watching the brick warehouses of Yaletown get developed, Fung concluded that “Gastown could become what Yaletown did not want to be.” Now, walking around Vancouver’s rapidly changing Downtown Eastside, he is delighted with signs of renewal, such as Sean Heather and Scott Hawthorn’s Salt wine bar located next to a string of his properties along what used to be one of the city’s most troubled alleys. Admiring an old cornice here, sculpted window surrounds there, Fung has a story about nearly every building. He revels in the urban textures of the area. Given the success of his heritage building developments, he is obviously not alone. 

Some of Fung’s competitors grouse that he must have some pipeline to deep pockets in Toronto or Asia, but he demurs, explaining he had to sell his own house for seed capital when Salient Development started in 2000. By the start of this decade, Gastown’s harbourview cream along Water and Alexander Streets had been skimmed off by other developers, with the east-of-Main Edge project through to the Landing at Richards Street picked up by others or priced out of his reach.


Westcoast Homes: Bowman Block: Remaining warehouse apartments released

January 20th, 2007


Bowman – Remaining warehouse apartments released
Beatty Street addresses surge in value between pre-construction release and today

Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes
Chantal Eustace
Saturday, January, 20, 2007

If the walls of the bowman block could talk, they would have a century of stories to spill, with the latest chapter the conversion of the warehouse into 38 apartments, all but 13 held back from the market by the developer until the building was ready, or almost ready, for its second century.

Three years in the “writing,” the Bowman apartments are a statement about the power of contrast in residential interiors, energy-efficient windows, for example, against beams of wood blackened slightly during a fire 80 years ago.

This narrative in juxtaposition is only part of the ”story,” however. For the Bowman Block’s developer, Robert Fung, it is a means of expressing an intention, less to rehabilitate an Edwardian structure and more to elevate the building to the built-environment prominence it enjoyed in its first decades.

”One of our goals with heritage rehabilitation projects is to bring these important buildings back to prominence in today’s environment,” Fung says.

“We try and reinstate each of these buildings as a landmark, with the intent that they become recognized and iconic in the fabric of the city.”

The warehouses of downtown Vancouver have been undergoing conversion into homes for almost 25 years, with the first conversion in the city’s history occurring up the street.

The lessons learned in those 25 years, by the development fraternity and city hall and the market, mean conversions undertaken today inevitably generate better homes than the first-generation conversions, Fung says.

But are they profitable? “It makes sense,” he says. “It’s a successful project all around. We were able to achieve the quality of the project that we wanted and the suites that we wanted. . . . At the end of the day it made sense.”