Edge (289 Alexander Street)

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Vancouver, BC

Edge (289 Alexander Street)
289Alexanderstreet-Vcr-exterior.jpg

the Edge Harbourfront Lofts on the edge of Gastown, Chinatown and Strathcona
Building Information
Developer Pemcor Developments Corp. and Southland Development Corp.
Architect David Hepworth
Management Company Vancouver Condominium Services
Number of Units 165
Number of Floors 10
Year Built 1999
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Nearby
Region Vancouver
Municipality Vancouver
Zoning CD-1 (361)
Title of Land Strata


Contents

Background

Historic building near the site of Hastings Mill


In 1865, Captain Edward Stamp started a sawmill company named Stamp’s Mill and located it on the waterfront just down from 289 Alexander Street. Challenges with funding and equipment meant that the sawmill was not able to be operational until 1867. Soon after, in 1870, Captain Stamp retired and his old company found itself in liquidation. The sawmill soon re-opened under new ownership with the new name of Hastings Mill.[1]

A company town emerged around the Mill and by the 1880’s the Gastown area formed the center around which Vancouver was formed. Completely rebuilt after a devastating fire, this area known as Gastown, thrived once again. The railway and ships serviced all the commercial needs of the local community and Gastown was soon home to many warehouses and retail stores. After the depression the area was left abandoned and dilapidated. It was not until the 1960’s that recognition of the architecture and value of restoring the area to a vibrant community was recognized.[2]

Many of the old warehouses have been rebuilt and are now upscale loft style apartments, restaurants, modern furniture and interior design stores and tourist shops. The Edge was designed to fit into the gentrification of the area with its brick facade and loft style homes.


Location

The Edge is situated on the corner of Alexander Street and Gore Street and on the edge of Gastown and Railtown and a neighborhood now known as Strathcona.[3] Alexander Street started out as a trail connecting Gastown and the mill and is named after R.H. Alexander who was one of the managers at Hastings Mill.[4]

It's location is just a few blocks away from the action of Gastown’s nightlife, restaurants and pubs, while offering unobstructed views of Burrard Inlet and the mountains of the North Shore across the water. This area has been experiencing an active rebuilding phase as many of the old buildings are either completely restored as historic designation or are torn down and rebuilt.

There is a rich mix of service businesses, office use, residential rental and resale, commercial, and artisans. As a neighborhood like this transforms, many of the city's poorer people are displaced. Vancouver is working hard to implement plans for affordable and safe housing for less fortunate people.

The Edge was one of the first live/work loft style buildings in the area, often being described as an urban artist's dream. It features artist focused amenities including rehearsal and performance space, kilns, workshop space and more. It is on the edge in design as well as location true to its name.[5]

Construction

Built in 1999, this concrete building was ahead of its time in offering loft style studios fully committed to artists. It's brick facade is in keeping with the historical feel of the area.

Superior ventilation, electrical capacity, thoughtful lighting including skylights where possible were all considerations in the building of the Edge in order to service the special amenities and focus for artists. Additionally, oversize industrial elevators allowing for movement of big pieces within the Edge and rear loading doors were practical and extremely useful features built in during construction.[6]

Architect David Hepworth is known more recently for his design contributions for developers Concorde Pacific and well known restaurants such as Feenie's, Lumiere, and the upscale Vancouver Club on West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver.

Layout and Features

The Edge is home to 7000 square feet of amenities like no other building in Vancouver.

All the units have built in lofts and double height ceilings and windows.

South and west facing units have the best views of the Harbour, North Shore mountains, parks and harbour activity.

All the suites have gas fireplaces and stoves, in-suite laundry and storage.

Homes here have powder rooms on the main level and full four piece ensuites on the loft level.

Floor Plans

The basic floor plan is an open main floor area with an upper level loft and 17 foot ceilings. Here is an example:


Amenities

Amenities are specialized to inspire creativity. The long list of equipment and tools has been fully funded by rental income from storage units. Saws, microphones, wood planers and other equipment is all purchased through this system.[7]

  • Acoustic rehearsal and performing studios
  • Metal working
  • Wood working
  • Ceramics room with kilns
  • Dark room
  • Meeting room
  • Paint room
  • Gym
  • Bike storage
  • Roof garden with views of harbour
  • Double height ceilings and windows
  • Parking
  • Storage
  • industrial elevator with rear loading doors


Bylaws

Edge (289 Alexander Street) Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes


  • Barbecues are allowed on the many balconies and terraces at the Edge.
  • Pets are allowed and there is a dog run at nearby Crab Park.
  • There are no age limits in this building.


Sustainability

There were no guidelines for sustainable building in 1999 nor was there much awareness around the impact of current building practices of the time.

The building is constructed of concrete with polished concrete floors and concrete walls.

As much as is available, residents can choose more sustainable appliances and materials if renovations are done.

Daily needs are easily met on foot.[8]

Trivia

Vancouver Artist's Eastside Cultural Crawl logo


The areas of Chinatown, Japantown, Strathcona, Gastown, and Railtown are all roughly part of a larger area known as the Downtown Eastside. The Edge is in the neighborhood of Strathcona by one street. Strathcona is the main geographical boundary for the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Crawl that started back in 1997. When it started the Crawl featured 45 artists that were in 3 main buildings. Since that time in 2012 there were a record number 430 artists exhibiting and over 15000 attendees. It is an annual event over a three day period that sees painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, musicians, weavers, potters, writers, print-makers, photographers, and glassblowers open their studios to the public.[9]


Some other annual events include:

  • The Crab Park (or Portside Park) Festival - hoping to save the Park from development.
    Powell Street Festival Taiko drummers
  • The Powell Street Festival - An annual celebration of Japanese Canadian arts, culture and heritage that features something for everyone: dance, music, film and video, visual arts, martial arts demos, amateur sumo tournament, craft vendors, traditional displays, and of course, tons of scrumptious Japanese food! The PSF Society's mission is to celebrate and cultivate Japanese Canadian and Asian Canadian arts and culture; to encourage Asian Canadians to take a leadership role in the development of the arts in Canada; and to foster community development, environmental sustainability, and support for the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood area.[10]
  • Labour Day Victory Square Block Party with many bands raising money for charities in the Downtown Eastside
  • The Women’s Memorial March on Valentine's Day[11]
  • Chinatown summer night market

References

  1. wikipedia-Hastings Mill
  2. wikipedia-Hastings Mill
  3. Blu Realty Blog
  4. James Johnstone History Walk
  5. Blu Realty Blog
  6. BC Condos
  7. Blu Realty Blog
  8. Walkscore
  9. Eastside Cultural Crawl
  10. Powell Street Festival Society
  11. Wikipedia Downtown Eastside


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