West Van approves 35 more units for Earls site tower

Two years and 35 units later, West Vancouver has once again approved a tower at 303 Marine Dr.

In July 2018, council voted for a 26-storey, 141-unit development. The project, originally put forward by Darwin Properties was later sold to Denna Properties, which sought to rejig the floor plans to include smaller units and more of them.

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At their March 10 meeting, council unanimously approved the 176-unit building at the former Earl’s site.

“The units are smaller and I think it’s more of what we want,” said Coun. Nora Gambioli, calling the project: “exciting for our housing situation.”

Gambioli also lauded Denna for pledging to have the highrise, located a stone’s throw from Lions Gate town centre in the District of North Vancouver, up and renting in approximately 30 months.

While the bulk of the tower is unchanged from the 2018 proposal, the unit mix has been altered to add 40 one-bedroom units and 10 more two-bedroom units. The new project also includes nine fewer three-bedroom units and removes six studio units.

Those changes passed muster with Coun. Sharon Thompson.

“They make a lot of sense and certainly, in my mind, seem to improve the building quite a bit,” Thompson said.

As in 2018, the development is set to include 48 market rental units and 6 non-market rental units. 

The smaller units are ideal to be alone with your thoughts, said Coun. Bill Soprovich, who related a story about spending a night in his son’s 10,000 square foot home.

“I stayed there one night, I got lost,” he said. “I live in 800 square feet, talk to myself a lot. It’s the perfect size.”

Those smaller units might coax single young people to West Vancouver, he said.

That “added affordability” should make the units easier to market, Mayor Mary-Ann Booth suggested, noting the smaller units in the Sewell’s Landing development at Horseshoe Bay were snapped up first.

The development includes a maximum of 204 parking spots and 353 bicycle stalls.

District staff supported the proposal, “as it proposes to deliver housing diversity with smaller residential units within an area served with frequent public transit.”

With an additional 12 to 13 trips generated, the new development “is not expected to have a significant impact compared to what was previously modelled,” according to district staff.

The developer is slated to pay the district a $2,522,628 community amenity contribution. That contribution is unchanged from 2018, which is in accordance with the assessment from West Vancouver staff.

“Staff expect that any higher costs associated with constructing additional units would negate any increases in revenue due to the sale of additional units,” according to district staff.

Council gave final approval to the revised project on March 30.

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