Rendering: MA+HG Architects

A historic Vancouver music venue is slated for redevelopment as part of a new mixed-use project in the city’s Downtown Eastside.

Happy Harvest recently submitted an application to redevelop 305 Main Street, replacing several buildings including the Imperial Theatre, which would see a scaled-down version incorporated into a new 11-storey mass timber development called MAC — referencing the property’s two cross streets, Main and Cordova.

MAC will feature 117 wood-framed housing units — 47 market rental homes and 70 social housing units — perched above two concrete non-residential floors. The two storeys facing Main Street are being reserved for commercial retail and restaurant development, while the side fronting Cordova Street will house a 13,500-square-foot learning space “to support marginalized voices and storytelling.”

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The 6,000-square-foot Imperial Theatre was built in 1974 and originally known as Golden Harvest, featuring a 750-seat theatre that screened Hong Kong cinema. The venue hosted Montreal-based pop band TOPS last week and has an event scheduled in early December to celebrate health care workers.

The proposal would replace the Imperial Theatre with a 2,600-square-foot performing space called New Harvest on the building’s second level, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing musicians to perform for spectators on the street level. In addition, developers plan to install a “Golden Harvest” sign in Chinese characters on the Cordova Street facade to acknowledge the venue’s history.

A C-listed heritage building constructed in 1892 currently sits at the corner of Main and Cordova, although a report by Donald Luxton and Associates Inc. found that a 1972 fire and resulting alterations have diminished the structure’s heritage integrity.

Rendering: MA+HG Architects

MA+HG Architects and New Orleans-based ​​Eskew+Dumez+Ripple are handling design aspects for the project, which secured a $475,000 grant earlier this year through the provincial government’s Mass Timber Demonstration Program. Upon completion, the building will encompass one four-bedroom unit, eight three-bedroom units, 36 two-bedroom units, nine one-bedroom units and 63 micro units.

Inspired by maple trees that once stood in the area, colourful panels on the building’s residential levels intend to represent “the colours of foliage across seasons, as well as the soft line of a tree canopy meeting the sky. This articulation serves to reduce the visual mass at each corner of the building,” the proposal stated.

Amenity spaces include a landscaped courtyard on the second level’s rooftop, as well as indoor and outdoor amenities on the building’s L-shaped rooftop. A single underground level would contain parking spaces for six vehicles and 213 bicycles.

The site falls within the Downtown-Eastside/Oppenheimer Official Development Plan area.

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