At the Northwest corner of Kingsway and 12th Avenue in Vancouver there is a 10 storey condo tower going in above a Honda dealership. My first reaction was huh?! Followed by “who would want to live there?”
But the more I thought about it, the more this seems like the cutting edge of a trend.
In a geographically constrained city that is growing in population, it represents a needed land use. Car dealerships — necessary in our automobile oriented society (or a necessarily evil, if you prefer) — tend to occupy a lot of space in order to display vehicles and service them. As land prices rise, putting a condo tower above makes it affordable to the dealership, and makes the dealership much less of a “waste of space” than if it stood alone.
But the location still leaves something to be desired. With a muffler shop and a Toyota dealership across the street, this condominium residence at first struck me as a post-modern, urban version of living on a freeway frontage road lined with automobile related businesses.
However, because “location, location, location” is what drives up real estate prices, perhaps units in this tower will be more affordable than those in trendy Yaletown, Fairview Slopes or Kitsilano. And, a good elementary school is only two blocks away. Major transit lines are equally close and downtown Vancouver would be just 5-10 minutes away by car, or perhaps 20 using the bus and 10 minutes by bike.
The next unique use I’m waiting to see are residences above a gas station.