GWL Realty Advisors Breaks Ground on the First New Rental Tower on Robson Street
February 20, 2019
The 128-unit building will bring much needed rental housing to the West End; Groundbreaking ceremony attended by Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Vancouver, BC; February 20th, 2019 – GWL Realty Advisors, joined by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, formally broke ground today on a 21-storey market rental tower at 1500 Robson Street. Located at the corner of Robson and Nicola in the West End, the new building will add 128 purpose-built rental units to a neighbourhood experiencing extremely low rental vacancy rates. GWL Realty Advisors is developing the project on behalf of the project owner, the London Life Insurance Company.
“We are proud to be increasing the supply and diversity of rental housing in the West End of Vancouver,” says Ralf Dost, President, GWL Realty Advisors. “This new development will provide the neighbourhood with desperately needed rental units – especially those suitable for families – in a professionally managed building with great amenities. This project represents the type of community building we want to undertake in the City of Vancouver and for our investment clients”.
In response to the shortage of family-oriented rental housing, a third of the building will be made up of two- and three-bedroom units suitable for families.
The resident experience is also a focus of this development with high-level indoor and outdoor amenities such as fitness, yoga and lounge rooms as well as a rooftop patio with an outdoor fireplace, seating area and dining space being incorporated into the building’s design. The entire penthouse floor of the tower has even been set aside as a common area for all tenants. The building will also be pet and cyclist friendly.
The Lower Robson neighbourhood has some of the highest land costs in the city and new developments have tended to take the form of luxury condominiums. However, this new building at 1500 Robson breaks with this trend by being a purpose-built market rental tower from an institutional developer that intends to hold and manage the building on a long-term basis.
By increasing density in a highly walkable neighbourhood like the West End, this development will help reduce car dependency as residents will be able to live, work, shop and play within the downtown peninsula. Designed by IBI Group, this building will further support a car-free lifestyle by offering substantial bicycle storage and maintenance facilities.
“Developments like this one at 1500 Robson are adding much-needed supply to the downtown rental market,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “In order to alleviate the housing shortage in our city, we need more of all types of housing – especially purpose-built rental. By incorporating larger units suitable for families into the design, this new tower at 1500 Robson will also help diversify the housing mix in the Lower Robson neighbourhood”.
This development is the first project on the Robson corridor to be approved under the new West End Community Plan and is in line with the City’s policy of increasing rental housing density in the area. With construction now underway, the building is expected to be finished in early 2021. Following construction, the building will be professionally managed by GWL Realty Advisors.
GWL Realty Advisors Inc. is a leading North American real estate investment advisor providing comprehensive asset management, property management, development and specialized real estate advisory services to pension funds and institutional clients. GWL Realty Advisors Inc. manages a diverse portfolio of office, industrial, retail and multi-residential assets as well as an active pipeline of new development projects.