Hycroft Towers

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1445 Marpole Avenue, Vancouver, BC

Hycroft Towers
HycroftTowers-vancover.jpg

Hycroft Towers
Building Information
Developer Marwell Construction
Architect Semmens & Simpson Architects
Management Company Vancouver Condominiums
Number of Units 158
Number of Floors 8
Year Built 1952
Construction Method Concrete
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1445 Marpole Avenue, Vancouver, BC
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region Vancouver
Municipality Vancouver
Zoning CD-1
Title of Land Strata


Contents

Background

In 1907, Alexander Duncan McRae, a successful businessman and politician, moved to Vancouver with his wife and three daughters. When he arrived, he began building a mansion, Hycroft Manor, for his family. He chose a 5.5 acre lot at the top of the hill at 16th and Granville for the house and formal gardens. He also established kitchen gardens on a triangular piece of ground between 15th and 16th avenues at Granville Street.[1]


In 1942, since the family was spending most of their time on another estate, McRae sold the house and formal gardens to the government for the sum of one dollar. Hycroft Manor was used as a veteran's hospital until 1960. In 1962, the property was sold to the University Women's Club. Hycroft Towers was built in 1952 on the land that had been the kitchen garden for the Hycroft Manor.[2]


Hycroft Towers in 1952

Marwell Construction, Semmens & Simpson Architects (Harold Semmens & Douglas Simpson), and engineer Otto Safir were in charge of the construction of Hycroft Towers. When built, Hycroft Towers' stark Modernist design drew acclaim from the architectural community. Hycroft Towers was one of Vancouver's first "high-rise" buildings and the apartments were very upscale. Some even included maids quarters.[3]


By the 1970s, the Capozzi Brothers owned Hycroft Towers. When the building was constructed in the 1950s, it was built as a rental property, but during the rise of strata titles in the 1970s, the Capozzi Brothers converted the building to condominiums and the units were sold. Today, rentals are not allowed in the building.


Location

Hycroft Towers is located on a triangular plot of land at Granville Street and 16th Avenue in the Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver. Historically, Fairview was a primeval rain forest, as was much of Vancouver. Fairview was one of the first areas to be logged in the mid-nineteenth century. Despite this, it remained largely undeveloped until the 1890s when the city began to expand the new electric railway system outside the Burrard peninsula. With the ease of access to downtown opened up, the area quickly filled up with commercial and residential buildings. The name Fairview was coined because of the area had such great views of Downtown and the North Shore mountains. Views can be enjoyed from the roof of Hycroft Towers as well as from many of the units.


Hycroft Towers is close to restaurants, shops, schools, and all other amenities. It is across the street from the Hycroft Manor house and gardens. Bus stops are less than 100 metres from the building and it takes just minutes to get to Vancouver hot spots such as Downtown, Granville Island, UBC or the airport.[4]

Construction

Hycroft Towers

Marwell Construction, Semmens & Simpson Architects (Harold Semmens & Douglas Simpson), and engineer Otto Safir constructed Hycroft Towers in 1952. The eight storey concrete building is built on a T-shaped floor plan. The building was constructed in the Modernist style and has since been designated a Modernist landmark.


The exterior is plain concrete with banks of large windows running the length of the building. The flat roof of the North tower sports a communal rooftop deck.


Interiors are also very simple, in keeping with the Modernist style. Apartments tend to have large open rooms which allow apartment owners to design their homes to fit their own style.


Layout and Features

The Hycroft Towers is a unique Modernist landmark in Vancouver. The units offer details such as original wall-to-wall windows, hardwood floors, and efficient use of space. Most of the units coming for sale have been recently renovated and include modern conveniences such as spa tubs and Bosch appliances.

  • Granite counter tops in many units
  • Lots of built-in cupboard space
  • Spa-like bathrooms
  • Heated floors in many units
  • Critall windows from Britain
  • Oak floors
  • Bosch/Fisher Peykel appliances in many units
  • Wall-to-wall built in closets

Floor Plans

Hycroft Towers has numerous floor plans available from 540 square-feet one bedroom suites to 1254 square-feet two-bedroom & one-bedroom plus den suites to 1699 square-feet three-bedroom penthouse suites.

Amenities

Building amenities include:

  • Strata-owned caretakers suite
  • Interior murals by artist Lionel Thomas
  • Garden
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Laundry room
  • Lockers
  • Bike room
  • Parking on both mezzanine & ground levels

Bylaws

Hycroft Towers Bylaws
Rentals No
Pets Yes
Age No


  • Some pets are allowed, but there are restrictions.
  • Rentals are not allowed.
  • There is no age restriction.

Sustainability

As it was built in the 1950s, Hycroft Towers is not designed as a green building.

However, amenities such as the bike room and the nearness of public transportation options make it easy for residents to keep their carbon footprint small.

Restaurants, shops, schools, and many other amenities are within easy walking distance.

Renovations have also installed energy-efficient appliances and windows in some of the units.

The apartment garden and rooftop terrace also add beautiful green touches to the building.[5]

Trivia

part of the original marketing brochure
  • Hycroft Towers was originally marketed in 1952 as Canada’s Largest Apartment House.[6]
  • The stark, clean, Modernist lines of Hycroft Towers were so striking that they influenced a line of contemporary ceramic tableware. It was even named after the building.[7]
  • In 1973, the owners converted Hycroft Towers from rentals to condominiums. This move sparked outcry as many elderly rental tenants were evicted. Hycroft Towers became a touchstone for people concerned about the loss of rental housing. In June 1973, council reconsidered a previous motion to have a one-year moratorium on conversions from rentals to condominiums. The motion narrowly passed.[8]
  • Numerous movies and TV shows have been filmed at nearby Hycroft Manor. This includes movies such as Little Women and Titanic as well as TV shows such as X-Files and 21 Jump Street.[9]
  • When the University Women's Club bought Hycroft Manor in 1962 from the government they had to pay for the building outright as women were not legally able to hold a mortgage at the time![10]
Hycroft Manor
  • Hycroft Manor is reportedly home to several ghosts. Some people have reported seeing a ghost in a World War One General's uniform, which is assumed to be original owner A.D. McRae. Other people report seeing a female dressed in clothing from the early 20th century, which is thought to be Mrs. McRae. Not to be outdone, the next residents of the house thought they'd hang around as well. There are reported sightings of a nurse and at least three different veterans. Some people also report the sound of a man crying. The ghosts seemingly prefer to appear on film sets instead of during functions such as weddings or parties.[11]


References

  1. South Granville: Hycroft apartments and pottery
  2. Vancouver Vagabond: The Hycroft
  3. The Province: A visionary who changed the city
  4. Walk Score
  5. Walk Score
  6. Jennifer Sale: Hycroft Towers
  7. South Granville: Hycroft Apartments and Pottery
  8. Condominium and the City
  9. University Women's Club: Hycroft Highlightd
  10. Vancouver Vagabond: The Hycroft
  11. Vancity Buzz: The Many Ghosts of Hycroft Manor


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