The towering forms of the upcoming Senakw redevelopment at the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge will effectively create a new visual gateway into the downtown Vancouver peninsula.
And there will also be a visual gateway within this larger gateway, based on newly released renderings of the TransLink bus exchange proposed for the deck of the Burrard Street Bridge.
As reported last month, as part of Senakw, Squamish First Nation and local developer Westbank are envisioning a widening of a segment of the south end of the bridge to accommodate the space needed to fit bus-only curb lanes and bus stop shelters.
The pedestrian and bike pathways on either side of the bridge would also be reconfigured in the bridge widening.
Furthermore, the on-bridge pathways and transit hub would be linked to the surrounding development by new walking and cycling ramps further to the south.
The new renderings show expansive sculptural bus shelters and twin arching form structures with a design bearing contemporary First Nation motifs, matching the architectural detailing of the canyon-like tower forms flanking either side of the bridge.
One other new rendering illustrates the easternmost end of the reserve, where a parcel is set aside by the First Nation for the Senakw-serving station of the potential future streetcar system planned by the City of Vancouver.
The municipal government has long-term plans to create a streetcar network in and around the downtown Vancouver peninsula, utilizing the Arbutus Greenway and the existing railway corridor in South False Creek.
The Senakw team is pushing for these public transit infrastructure concepts to help manage the transportation demand expected from the surreal residential density and the minimal vehicle parking supply. Only about 10% of Senakw’s 6,000 homes will be provided with vehicle parking.
Another measure to help address transportation demand is the provision of thousands of bike parking stalls and ample bike share availability.
First Nation spokesperson and councillor Khelsilem told Daily Hive Urbanized in an interview last month that Senakw’s scope has expanded greatly since the project was approved by band members in late 2019.
The total floor area of all towers combined has grown from 3.4 million sq ft to four million sq ft from increasing the heights of towers, and adding a small 12th tower for a minor office space component.
Newly released drawings also show the detail of the significant retail and restaurant space component planned for the base of the towers on the east side of the bridge, with these uses clustered around sunken courtyards and an indoor mall-like space called the Atrium Gallery — the core of the cluster of about 80,000 sq ft of neighbourhood-serving commercial space. This includes a 29,000 sq ft grocery store and 9,000 sq ft daycare.
Minor retail and restaurant components are also located on the westernmost and easternmost ends of the Senakw site, while resident amenities and public spaces are scattered throughout. The parcel on the west side of the bridge, the first phase of the project, features a 22,000 sq ft fitness and wellness centre.
The housing tenure mix remains roughly the same as originally proposed, with at least 70% of the units set aside as purpose-built market rental housing. Most of the remaining units could be leasehold stratified condominiums.
Only about 300 units will be dedicated for below-market rental housing for Squamish members, but the primary goal of Senakw is to generate significant and stable long-term revenue for the First Nation. Proceeds would go back towards creating social programs, educational and economic opportunities, and other housing for its members.
Between $16 billion and $20 billion will be generated from the rental income of Senakw throughout the entire lifespan of its buildings, with the First Nation receiving half of this income under its 50-50 partnership with Westbank. In 2019, the construction cost of the project was estimated to be $3 billion.
By the end of this year, site preparation for construction could begin on the Senakw development, squeezed into the area around the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver. The first phase of Senakw is the parcel of the reserve on the west side of the bridge.