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Human Studio Architecture + Urban Design has applied to the City of Vancouver to develop a 1,882.2-square-metre site at 338 East 2nd Avenue in the city’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

The proposal would replace an existing Lordco Auto Parts outlet with a five-storey, mixed-use building by Vancouver-based developer CAPE Group, with two levels of underground parking and rental units designed for artists and creatives.

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Called ‘The Raphael,’ the proposed 95-unit apartment complex is named in honour of Ralph James, the late founder and owner of Ralph’s Autobody, which opened its first location on the site in 1961. According to the proposal, “the James family wishes to see the history of the site retained as part of the story of the building, while the land is used to contribute to the vibrant, arts-focused community as much needed rental housing.”

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If approved, the development will feature commercial spaces at grade — including potential long-term tenant Lordco Auto Parts. The residential portion will consist of standard rental studios, live/work artist studios with naturally-lit spaces for the creation of art and a selection of family-sized, two-bedroom artists suites. The project will also boast a shared amenity space with access to an exterior courtyard, touting a large common area with tables, a covered area, urban agriculture opportunities and barbecues.

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Artist-focused features and amenities include oversized elevators, extra-wide corridors and doorways to accommodate the movement of larger art pieces and supplies. Designated interior spaces will provide opportunities for future art installations that will be developed in collaboration with CAPE’s local art partners. The building’s exterior design also provides space for creatives with areas identified for future murals along the rear lane.

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Situated off the lobby is a gallery/multi-purpose workshop with abundant natural light providing an ideal space for working, socializing, and hosting events or art shows. It will also meet the Artist Unit Design guidelines for ventilation and electrical power supply with 220-volt outlets. Finally, each floor will house two flex rooms that residents can use as storage spaces to allow artists to store their supplies outside of their suites.

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