It looks as though prep work has begun for demolition of the concrete shell at 1153 West Georgia, future home of a new 57-storey hotel condo tower to be developed by the Holborn Group.
Here is a tribute to the existing building and its past. The reason I remember the building is that my dad used to work on the 7th floor for most of the 1980’s and I used to visit. It was nothing really that special, certainly not fitting of being on West Georgia. However, I don’t think anyone could’ve anticipated what would happen to the building over 15+ years. It certainly came as a shock to my dad’s company and the rest of the office tenants when leases were not renewed and it was discovered that an Asian company had plans to convert the office building to some sort of fitness and leisure club.
Photo of the building in 1985:
1991, Terasen under construction next door:
1992, Terasen topped out
I don’t recall all the details, so if anyone can add anything, please do. Here is what I’ve found:
The original nine-storey office building was built sometime in the 1960’s. In 1994, permits were issued to strip the existing office building of its exterior walls and interior finishes and to change the use of floors one through six from office use to a fitness club known as the “Newport Beach Club”. After work began, for unknown reasons, construction was suspended, with cranes, tarps, railings, etc left intact. After a while the permits expired. The site would sit as a vacant and derelict building for many years.
Main elevator lobby:
Lobby, looking Southeast:
In July 1996, a development application was submitted to replace the existing structure with a 27-storey office/retail development. That application was withdrawn in July 1997.
Cadillac Fairview then bought the land in early 2000 with plans to either redevelop the site, or renovate as offices. After a year or two of no proposal for redevelopment, the City of Vancouver threatened to declare the building a nuisance. Cadillac Fairview, however, promised to either apply for rezoning to build a new structure or use the building shell for a renewed project. They wound up selling the property to Simon Lim and the Holborn Group in 2003.
The covered walkway and crane are finally removed in 2003, believed to be a request from the City of Vancouver in light of the 2010 Olympic bid. The new wall would become a popular postering site.
In 2005, Holborn announced plans to build a 57-storey, 600-foot mixed use building on the site. In light of difficulty with development approvals and rising construction costs however, it would take over two years to begin demolition, and the new project is not expected to be completed until 2010 earliest.
April 26, 2007: Prep work for demolition finally begins: