Woodwards District: A New Condo Development
Completed in 2010
Woodwards District is a new condo development by Westbank at 108 W Cordova St, Vancouver.
The development was completed in 2010.
This was their website.
Images are from the site's archived pages. The site itself was as cutting edge in its presentation with impressive graphics, webcams, and a slick sound track.
Unfortunately the only way you can get a feel for the original site is via the below screenshots.
Content is mainly from other outside sources.
Location Vancouver, BC
Project Size 960,000 sf
Architect Henriquez Partners Architects
Public Art Stan Douglas
The redevelopment of the former site of Woodward’s is perhaps the most significant mixed-use development project to be undertaken in Vancouver.
This high-profile development consists of approximately one million sf of market and non-market residential, institutional and retail. It also includes office, community space, London Drugs and the Woodward’s Food Floor above two levels of underground parking. The redevelopment of the Woodward’s site has revitalized the streetscape of the immediate area and is serving as a catalyst for the economic, social and physical revival of the Downtown Eastside. Covering almost an entire city block, this site, once a major department store, serves as the city’s historic and social heart.
For most residents of Greater Vancouver, the Woodward’s department store had special signiï¬cance. The department store closed down in 1993. A very important element of the Woodward’s project was the heritage conservation plan.
Our redevelopment plan differed signiï¬cantly from previous attempts at redeveloping by concentrating our efforts on the original 1903 – 08 building at the corner of Hastings and Abbott rather than attempting to save what was in fact a series of alterations and additions dating from 1903 to 1956. In addition to this restoration we carried out a number of interpretive zones, including: audio-visual stations; display windows; display cases; fragments from the original building, including a display of the original W sign placed on top of the tower in 1956. Installation of a new W sign on top of the restored 1903 building as well as the public art installation by Stan Douglas, Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971.
Woodward's is comprised of approximately one million square feet of market and non-market residential, institutional, retail, office and community uses including the new home for the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, above two levels of parking.
There is simply no comparison in the level of creativity that goes into something like Woodward’s with a conventional shopping centre or a typical residential tower. With each moving part in the design or program, the complexity goes up in a logarithmic scale. Of all our projects to date, the Woodward’s project is probably the most complex. Three levels of government (city, provincial and federal) were involved on multiple aspects with varying degrees of enthusiasm for the project. Given all of the complexities and stakeholders we had to manage during conceptual planning, design and pre-leasing and pre-sales, construction should have been the most straight forward part of this development, but ironically, it proved to be perhaps the most challenging. You begin to understand that what we strive to do is not something that can easily be replicated as a business model, but is more of an art.
COMMENT: When I was offered a job in Vancouver I considered buying a one bedroom in what is referred to as the west tower. The open concept floor plans and floor-to-ceiling aluminum double-glazed windows that take full advantage of the spectacular mountain, city and ocean vistas were real incentives along with the added amenities on the top floor that included a lounge and a club W fitness center. However, my partner had another relapse and instead of researching places to live in Vancouver I spent my time reading about prescription drugs to stop drinking alcohol and rehab programs. Tired of being demonized as an alcoholic by his family, my partner pushed back against AA or any 12 step program that required abstinence. That also included eliminating the prescription drugs, Disulfiram, also known by the brand name Antabuse, and Naltrexone. I then heard of an online site called LifeBac that prescribes Baclofen, a drug that is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries. However Baclofen's action on the GABA receptors in the brain may help lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms for alcohol. Preliminary open-label studies from Italy demonstrated the effectiveness of baclofen in reducing alcohol use among the alcoholics. In addition, results from a clinical study conducted by Brown University show alcohol-addicted participants receiving baclofen were able to abstain from drinking for longer periods of time than those who didn’t receive the drug. Plus, doctors in Europe have been prescribing baclofen for a while now, as the primary treatment for people who drink excessively. My partner appeared to be a good candidate for using Baclofen to help control his urges to drink excessively and decided to sign up for the LifeBac program. I'm so glad that he did. It's two years later and his drinking is under control.
I'm also glad I didn't make that move to Vancouver. I have since read some negative reports about quality issues at the Woodward's building and then there was that 2017 lawsuit by Woodward’s condo owners. I haven't followed up on the outcome of that suit since I was offered a new position at my company's new Paris branch which I have accepted. Europe, here we come!
The Woodward's Building was a historic building in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The original portion of the building was constructed in 1903 for the Woodward's Department Store when that area of Cordova Street was the heart of Vancouver's retail shopping district. At one time this was the premiere shopping destination in Vancouver. The store was famous for its Christmas window displays and its basement Food Floor, and the "W" sign at the top of the building was a distinctive landmark on the Vancouver skyline.
Since the bankruptcy of Woodward's in 1993 the building remained vacant except for a housing occupation in 2002 that initiated the redevelopment process. Redevelopment was seen by many as a key to revitalizing the Downtown Eastside, but the demolition of the structure in 2006 and redevelopment of the site has been met with much local resistance from the existing residents of the neighborhood. The Woodward's redevelopment is now complete with many residents and businesses now in the buildings
New construction on the Woodward's site
In 2003 the City of Vancouver, led by City Council member Jim Green, purchased the building from the province for $5 million, and began a public consultation process, asking the community what they wanted from the redevelopment. After a two-stage competition between three developers in September 2004, the city selected Westbank Projects/Peterson Investment Group to develop the project together with architecture firm of Henriquez Partners lead by Gregory Henriquez and structural engineers Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers. The 400 million dollar, nearly one million square foot project, includes 536 market housing units, 125 singles non-market housing units to be operated by PHS Community Services, 75 family non-market housing units to be operated by Affordable Housing Society, Nesters Market, London Drugs, TD Canada Trust, the National Film Board of Canada and civic offices, a daycare, public atrium and plaza, and a new 130,000 square foot addition to Simon Fraser University's downtown campus, the SFU School for Contemporary Arts.
The market housing units constructed in the building feature both modern-look finishes and vintage analog thermostats. The oldest part of the complex (built 1903–1908) was restored, and serves as a non-profit office and community space (31,500 sf), with tenants including W2 Community Media Arts. The development permit for construction was issued on January 26, 2007, and while substantial completion was scheduled for June 2010, delays pushed that completion date back to September 2010.
The "W" neon sign, which topped the building on the Eiffel Tower replica, was removed before the demolition. and was replicated and re-installed on January 9, 2010, now boasting energy-saving LED lights. The original W is now displayed in the open area next to The Charles Bar at the new Woodward's Building. In 2008 the Vancouver artist Stan Douglas completed a 30' by 50' image on glass depicting the Gastown Riots of 1971. The over-sized photograph, together with a basketball hoop, has become the central focus within the atrium of the new Woodward's Redevelopment.
Woodward's building concrete crumbling: $1M lawsuit
Published Monday, August 28, 2017
People walking the streets next to the Woodward’s building in Gastown might want to look up--not to the iconic "W" on the roof, but to watch out for falling concrete.
That’s according to a lawsuit from Woodward’s condo owners that claims the smaller tower, W32, could be a risk to pedestrians as water is rusting rebar and causing concrete to crack.
There is “concrete cracking, creating a weakening of the structure and a falling hazard of concrete breaking off the structure,” the notice of claim says, as well as “concrete spalling (crumbling) due to insufficient concrete depth around rebar enforcement, and corrosion of rebar.”
Exposed rebar is seen at the Woodward's Building in Gastown.
Streaking is seen in the Woodward's Building in Gastown.
A crack is seen at the Woodward's Building in Gastown.
To fix it would cost $1 million, the suit says, demanding that the developer and over a dozen contractors pay up over what the suit claims are deficiencies in the design and construction of the tower. But W Redevelopment Group, which Westbank belongs to, says the crumbling concrete is only in “isolated” parts of the building.
“In 2014, the developer, W Redevelopment Group, was made aware of concrete spalling occurring in a few isolated areas of the project, which were immediately rectified. We are not aware of any further incidents of concrete spalling,” the company said in a statement.
The suit, which was filed in 2016, refers to a 2014 engineering report done five years after the building opened with designs of transforming the Downtown Eastside.
That survey found fourteen cases of exposed rebar in the exterior of the building, and warned: “Unrepaired exposed steel will corrode and cause more of the surrounding concrete to spall and break off, creating a safety hazard for vehicles and pedestrians below.”
The review found nine cases of staining from corrosion, 12 cases of concrete cracks, as well as 13 cases of efflorescence of concrete--a streaking that is a sign of moisture ingress--and two cases of missing sealant.
John Grasty, who fought for owners during the leaky condo crisis, says that there are worrying signs in the report.
“External cracks that are very visible with chunks missing. Obviously something’s wrong,” he said.
A City of Vancouver spokesperson said she would follow up with the Facilities and Estates department to find out if there are additional steps the city is taking.
It’s hardly the first time chunks have fallen from buildings. In Toronto, glass panels from balconies have fallen, injuring pedestrians.
And only a few blocks away from the Woodward’s building, in Pigeon Park, a heavy concrete panel fell from the Merchants Bank building, only about a metre from someone sleeping there