Big changes are in store for two iconic buildings in West Vancouver and for those who live in them.
The owners of Villa Maris, also known as the Pink Palace, and the nearby Shoreland Apartments on Bellevue Avenue, plan to demolish these buildings over the next seven years. Shoreland apartments would be replaced by a new rental building, including a smaller building for civic workers. The Villa Maris or Pink Palace will be replaced by a new condo building.
In a letter to the residents, representative William Lachman said the owners had always worked to maintain the properties to provide a pleasant home for many residents but it had become increasingly difficult. “We are also quite aware that buildings were built in the early 1960s and are far from compliant with today’s seismic and life-safety codes. In short, both buildings are nearing the end of their lives,” he said.
The Shoreland Apartments will be the first to go. The owners are exploring the idea of replacing the current 62-suite building 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. There will be ample underground parking for the residents. The present tenants would receive compensation. The new buildings could be ready by 2025.
The owners are also discussing the future of the nearby Pink Palace building, whose demolition they emphasise is a few years away. If all goes according to their plan, the residents of the Pink Palace would be accommodated in the new Shoreline building which would include modern amenities such as on-suite laundry and air-conditioning.
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.
“Most importantly, it is our intention that the new Villa Maris would possess many of the same features that make the “pink palace” one of the most recognized, and admired residential buildings in West Van today,” the owners say.
The new Villa Maris could be a condo building targeted towards residents who are looking for a condo and not a house. The owners say they are excited about the “positive impact” it would have on the community as there would be an increase in the number of units.
“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 works such as police fire and other civic employees, and additional housing supply for West Van,” say the owners.
More open houses on the issue will be held soon.