The new Pink Palace and Shoreland Apartments on Bellevue Avenue will be “special” buildings that will provide a mix of housing options to West Vancouver, says William Lachman, the owner of the two iconic buildings.
The changes to them, however, will be coming over the next several years years In the case of Shoreland, the process could take three years. With Pink Palace, it could be six years before the change happens.
“We are only at a very initial “proposal stage” with the municipality. We have not even received a go ahead from West Vancouver Council to begin the rezoning process for the Shoreland redevelopment,” Lachman said.
Lachman says the multi-year project would strengthen West Vancouver by delivering a mix of housing options including below-market rent suites for young families and local workers such as first responders and teachers. The Lachman family has just started the process of community consultation and municipal approvals.
The new market rental suits, he says, would be more affordable because they would be more efficient and better designed. The owners are also proposing a net increase in the number of units compared to what is available in both the buildings now.
“Currently the Shoreland provides 62 suites, and Villa Maris provides 101 suites, a total of 163 rental apartments. Our proposed project would deliver 230 rental suites including a greater mix of housing options, such as rent-subsidised units for civic workers such as police fire and other civic employees, and additional housing supply for West Van,” Lachman says.
The plan will work in two phases. The current 62-suite Shoreland Apartment building will be replaced with a new 21-storey rental building consisting of 206 suites as well as an adjacent building with 24, rent-subsidised homes for West Van’s civic workers and their families. The residents of Pink Palace would move to the new Shoreline building.
The current Pink Palace would then be demolished, most likely by 2026, to be replaced by a new condo building with the same height and building footprint allowed within the current zoning. “The Villa Maris (Pink Palace) will be a new condo building for local residents wishing to downsize,” Lachman says.
The news of the change has provoked surprise and anxiety, especially among heritage lovers in West Vancouver. North Shore Heritage Preservation Society president Peter Miller is “alarmed” and hopes that the two buildings, and particularly Pink Palace, could be redone without changing the exterior form and colour. “Should this not be feasible, we would like to see the new buildings embody as many of the buildings’ character-defining elements as possible,” he said.
Lachman says the buildings would be beautiful and special, but recreating the exact design isn’t desirable. “The circular design, although beautiful, created problems with efficiency and caused a waste of space. There are no balconies on the front and back and people hated that because it got very hot in the apartment.”
Lachman says he is working on creating a building that would retain the same colour and parts of the architecture. “With new buildings that have curvy balconies, you can give a feel for that architecture. I don’t want to build some ugly boxes, and that is our commitment,” he says.