First Baptist Church tower inching closer to reality

“Divine” proposal for site of historic church to change face of downtown Vancouver

An astute reader spotted models at city hall of Westbank’s tower proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard at Nelson streets.

The developer is proposing a 56 storey market condo tower, a new, eight storey social housing building owned by the church, plus restoration and seismic upgrades to the existing church building (Class A Heritage). The church will also get new multipurpose spaces, including a daycare, gym, counselling centre and offices, as part of the redevelopment.

The upcoming tower will be high-end, aimed at the luxury market with mostly two bedroom and larger units. Penthouses will make a splash with rooftop pools and hot tubs. Buyers can expect prices per square foot similar to Vancouver House, another luxury development, also by Westbank.

Architectual models of Westbank’s stunning proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. Credit: Sergio Magro
Architectual models of Westbank’s stunning proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. Credit: Sergio Magro
Architectual models of Westbank’s stunning proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. Credit: Sergio Magro
Architectual models of Westbank’s stunning proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. Credit: Sergio Magro
Architectual models of Westbank’s stunning proposal for the First Baptist Church on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. Credit: Sergio Magro

There’s no name yet for the project but expect an announcement from the developer soon. The building will make a big impact on Vancouver’s skyline as it’s situated at the high point of downtown, across the street from the very prominent Wall Centre.

1060 Barclay was recently purchased by Bosa Properties.

The area between Burrard and Thurlow is seeing a flurry of activity lately, with Bosa snapping up an old three storey condo building behind the Patina/YMCA.

Bosa reportedly bought out owners in the 30 year old strata with offers of nearly double the assessed value for their units. No word yet on what they have planned for the site, but expect it to be tall as well.

The heightened interest in the area comes after the City of Vancouver identified it a couple years ago as an area where iconic, tall buildings up to 60 stories would be permitted.

Just behind the First Baptist Church, Wall Financial recently unloaded a pair of three storey walk up apartment buildings, after receiving an incredible offer they couldn’t refuse.

Two modest three storey walkup apartment buildings on Nelson Street were recently purchased for a jaw-dropping $68 million.

Two modest three storey walkup apartment buildings on Nelson Street were recently purchased for a jaw-dropping $68 million.

Wall purchased the two buildings back in 2014 for $16.8 million and was planning on constructing a tall residential tower on the site called Nelson in the Park. Plans were drawn up and their concept even won a prestigious global architecture award.

In January, Wall was approached by a consortium of investors from SunCom and offered $60 million for the two buildings. Talk about an incredible return. The deal was signed and the properties were handed over to SunCom –for a couple months.

That’s because SunCom flipped the property this Spring yet again – this time, for $68 million.

The story is still making news as you can see from the video below, from Global News:

New plans for the property have not yet been revealed, but the previous plan created by Wall Financial, certainly shows the potential of the site.

The “Nelson on the Park” proposal was designed for Wall Financial. The site has since sold again for $68 million.

Read our original (February 2016) post, with additional renderings of the First Baptist Church redevelopment, here.