Century Tower

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789 Drake Street, Vancouver, BC

Century Tower
CenturyTower-Van-Exterior.jpg

Century Tower against the Vancouver skyline
Building Information
Developer PCI Group
Management Company Century21
Number of Units 122
Number of Floors 20
Year Built 1990
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof Tar & Gravel
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789 Drake Street, Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Over 50 options nearby
Region Vancouver
Municipality Vancouver
Zoning CD-1 (199)
Title of Land Strata


Contents

Background

Century Center is a 20-storey high rise located at 789 Drake Street right in Vancouver’s downtown core. Conveniently sandwiched in between two of Vancouver's most prolific neighborhoods: Yaletown and the West End, this building is a freehold strata with 118 contemporary apartments and four commercial units on the ground floor.

Once an industrial district, Yaletown is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Vancouver. Up until the mid 1980s when the Canadian Pacific Railway moved all of their maintenance yards from Yale, a then-large town and centre of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, Yaletown used to be a large warehouse district. In 1986, it began to turn into a small urban, yet trendy community. It now has a mix of expensive condos, design companies, fancy waterfront restaurants, gourmet markets, boutique shops, and business offices. While little or no original housing from the 19th century survives, several older buildings from the industrial days still exist. Hamilton Street and Mainland Street are the most significant, having two intact street-scapes from that era.

Originally a forested area, the West End was purchased in 1862 by Samuel Brighouse, William Hailstone and John Morton, who were the first white settlers in the region. As a result to purchasing land at a surcharged price, they gained the nickname "Three Greenhorn Englishmen”. Home to the richest railroad families, the West End was Vancouver’s first upscale neighbourhood and was known as "Blue Blood Alley” at the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today it is the most culturally diverse area of Vancouver’s downtown district. Family-oriented and gay-friendly this ultra-urban part of town boasts hilly traditional tree-lined streets and is home to the city's busiest and best beaches. At the northern side of the neighbourhood is Robson Street, the most famous shopping street in Vancouver.

Location

Located at the crossroad of Drake Street and Howe Street with a 98 out of 100 walk score, The Century Tower is considered a walker's paradise. Some of the downtown neighbourhood attractions include BC Place Stadium, home of the Vancouver Canucks, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Downtown Neighborhood

To the east it is bordered by Yaletown, one of Vancouver’s most densely populated neighborhoods. Its packed high-rise condos and converted heritage buildings constitute one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in North America. Yaletown is located in the southeastern portion of downtown, bordered by Homer Street to the west, Beatty Street to the east, Smithe Street to the north and Drake Street to the south. With restaurants like Chambar Belgian Restaurant, Blue Water Café + Raw Bar, Section (3), and Bar None, Hamilton Street and Mainland Street collection of bars and restaurants make it one of the busiest nightlife district in Vancouver.

On the West side of the building is the West End neighborhood bordered by Stanley Park in the west, West Georgia Street to the north, Burrard Street to the east, and Pacific Avenue to the south. It is packed with tourist attractions such as Stanley park, an urban park that attracts an estimated eight million visitors every year. The park features the seawall, a mostly seaside 22 kilometer continuous pathway for pedestrians, cyclists, and in line skaters. It starts from Coal Harbour and finishes at Kitsilano Beach.

In the downtown area, Denman Street contains five blocks packed with restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and small shops. Davie Village is one of the prime destinations for the city’s nightlife and home to the biggest and most famous nightclubs like Celebrities and Numbers. This area also hosts Vancouver's famous Pride Parade, and is near Robson Street, British Columbia’s premier shopping and entertainment street.[1]

These three neighborhoods combined provide the residents of The Century Tower countless trendy restaurant options, a varied nightlife, hip shopping boutiques, outdoor spots, and access to over 50 transit options.

Construction

Building's side Angle

The construction of The Century Tower started in 1988 and was completed in 1990. The Century Tower is a 20-story postmodern concrete high-rise building with an exterior finish comprised of a mix of wood, ironwork and concrete. The whole building was completely upgraded in 2012 with a rain-screened exterior, new deck membrane & new windows.[2]

A rain screen, also called capillary break, is a space where rainwater and condensation that penetrate a building’s outer cladding can escape from.[3].

It can be constructed from many different materials and is on the outside of the weather-facing surface of an exterior wall. Rain screen requirements for residential buildings west of the Coast Mountains, were adopted as part of the 2006 British Colombia’s Building Code and requires two layers of protection with an air cavity in between. It is also a requirement for buildings that are undergoing renovations.[4]

Its roof made of tar and gravel was completed in 2011, and the re-plumbing was done in 2003. Most homes feature laminate floors, stainless steel appliances, balconies and storage lockers.

Layout and Features

Many apartments have an open layout and a large balcony with views of English Bay. Condominium units on the 19th and 20th floor have an in suite laundry.

Floor Plans

There are 121 floor plans for the Century Tower. The smallest unit is a studio apartment with a deck measuring 383 square feet and the largest is a two bedroom penthouse with a deck measuring 1271 square feet.. A few sample floor plans are below:[5]


Amenities

The Century Tower does not have as many amenities as most recent buildings in the area, but its location more than makes up for it.

It is a very secure building equipped with surveillance cameras including the front entry on Shaw channel 116 or Novus channel 69 to ensure its residents' safety.

Building amenities include:

  • Secure underground parking
  • Bike room
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Shared laundry on the second floor
  • Laminate floors
  • Storage locker
  • Garden
  • Sauna



Bylaws

Century Tower Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets No
Age No
Barbecues Yes


  • This building has a no pet policy at the exception of reasonable number of fish, small aquarium animals, small caged mammals and seeing eye dogs[6]
  • Rentals are permitted
  • There are no age restrictions in this building
  • Only barbecues, hibachis or other like cooking devices powered by propane, natural gas or electricity are allowed on the balcony

Trivia

  • The Century Tower is 53.64 m high
  • Vancouver’s downtown population is expected to reach 110,000 by 2015[7]
  • After Expo 86, Yaletown was sold to a Hong Kong-based developer Li Ka-Shing, who as of March 2013, according to Forbes, is the 8th richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of US $31 billion.[8]

References

  1. Stanley Park on Vancouver.ca
  2. Century Tower on Emporis.com
  3. Do rain-screen requirements for BC buildings make sense in Georgia Straight
  4. New BC Building Code Rain Screen Requirement on Journal of Commerce
  5. Century Tower on VancouverFloorPlans.com
  6. Century Tower Bylaws from Strata Document
  7. New York Times's Article
  8. Li Ka-Shing in Forbes


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