Developers of an integrated residential and social services complex slated for East Vancouver's Commercial Drive say they have scaled back the development from 15 to 12 storeys.

The changes come after residents voiced their concerns about increasing density in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood, saying the development doesn't fit the neighbourhood.

But proponents of the project by Boffo Properties say the development's market-rate housing will fund its social component — 30 supportive housing units.

The building, slated for the intersection at Commercial Drive and Venables Street, will also house a drop-in centre to support people struggling with mental health issues, run by the Kettle Society.

"It's a legacy to ensure that the folks we serve will still be a part of the Commercial Drive community — that they will have a safe place to come," said Nancy Keough, executive director of The Kettle Society.

The centre will provide a range of services including a medical treatment, meals, haircuts, as well as housing music and art rooms.

"It's not just a meal, there are so many other things and it'll ensure that people feel and remain part of our community," said Keough.

Self-sustaining

Boffo development Commercial and Venables 1

The project is four years in the making and will revitalize the neighbourhood at an intersection that is currently industrial, says Kettle Society's executive director, Karen Keough. (Boffo Properties)

Developer Daniel Boffo says the company has already adjusted its plans according to community feedback. The development will contain about 200 residential units.

Boffo says that level of density is necessary in order to ensure the residential component can fund the social project.

"We do need to be able to fund the social component of it and this is a project that is self-sustaining."

About 25 per cent of units will be two or three bedrooms, according to Boffo. This addition of family-friendly housing stock is something analysts say Vancouver desperately needs.

Next steps

Both Keough and Boffo say they continue to welcome community feedback on the project.

"We've been on Commercial Drive for 40 years, it is our community," said Keough.

"It's always been an active community and that's one of the things I love about Commercial Drive and Grandview-Woodland."

Boffo Properties will submit a rezoning application after the city releases a draft of its Grandview-Woodlands community plan in the coming months, according to Boffo.


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Boffo Commercial Drive development scaled back to 12 storeys.