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Robson & Granville Building Demolition


Friday, January 20th, 2012 — 10:03am PDT
Comments 16

In case you’re wondering why Robson and Granville has been so busy with construction lately, there is a large project underway.

Power Block (1888 & 1929)
Photo credit: Heritage Vancouver on Flickr

This involves an overhaul of the Power Block at 817-819 Granville, where Charlie’s Music was located. The building (circa 1888 rear & 1929 front) is designated a category “B” heritage building so its art deco facade is protected under a Designation By-law (circa 1976). The facade will remain intact as a new structure gets built behind it according to Heritage Vancouver.

That new structure will also take over the space right next to it, immediately on the corner of Robson and Granville. The fate of the current building at 720 Robson is looking grim at the moment. Gutted, taped, and boarded, it’s getting ready to come down completely.

720 Robson - Slated for Demolition

720 Robson is not on the heritage reigster so it will be completely demolished. It used to house Granville Optical (on the corner), True Value Vintage, Hitz Boutique, and more.

The development proposal, for the building that will slip around behind 817-819 Granville’s facade as well as take up 720 Robson, is for a five storey building with two storeys of retail and three storeys of office space. This will sit above two levels of underground parking, accessible from the back lane.

Click here to see the rendering of the new 702 Robson via architects Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership

According to the City’s Urban Design Panel (“UDP”) minutes, the developer wanted to achieve LEED Silver status with the new building but the City recommended going for LEED Gold — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) being the Canadian standard for green building. Other recommendations were made by the UDP including the addition of a green roof.

Rumours have been flying around about what might move into this space (and HMV’s old space on Burrard and Robson) and they all involve major American retailers.

Update February 2012 Here’s the latest shot of the building coming down. You can spot an old painted advertisement on the side of Charlie’s.

Building at Granville & Robson is coming down now

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16 comments

  1. annonymous says:

    It’s cool that they’re building something much nicer on the corner, but the real issue is… why hasn’t Aladdin Shawarma reopened somewhere else?!!! I can only assume they were leasing their space, so they weren’t bought out. I miss you Aladdin Shawarma! Now get your act together and bring Vancouver some good shawarma again! The other options I am left with are all disappointing.

  2. nicole says:

    It makes me sad to see buildings with character just disappear. I can’t stand the modern glass filled buildings replacing them. When you walk down streets in Montreal or even Europe, there’s so much character, but here it’s just a mass of glass and metal for the most part.

  3. Jon says:

    I like the tooltip on the 2nd photo: “720 Robson – Slated for Demolition by miss604” ๐Ÿ™‚

    “All involve major American retailers” … grrrrrrr. And it still smarts to see those tree stumps along Granville.

  4. @annonymous That place was always really busy! Surprised they haven’t started up somewhere else.

    @Jon If you get me angry enough…

  5. Shauna says:

    Today’s architecture reflects our world and our city today, and into the future. The best of it will be appreciated in 100, 200 years. The worst of it will be liked by some and ridiculed by others. The character and beauty of our city is reflected in a mix of new and old, classic, modern and just plain weird. I think of all the work, dedication and creativity that it takes to create something as big as a new building, in a world so full of critics and conservatism. We make our own future so we should learn to look forward with optimism and support positive changes, not just defend and protect what was, what has been. Here’s to the dreamers!

  6. vjm. says:

    I wonder if CTV will take over the old HMV and create a street-level studio; kinda like the Today Show in NYC, complete with fans waving in the background.

    The rendering looks nice. Sad to see True Value and that shawarma place go though.

  7. Avril Phillips says:

    ugh what a monstrosity – all steel and glass with neither soul nor character. Just what we need .. more American Retailers!!!!!!

  8. Adam says:

    A bland box for Vancouver’s most prominent intersection? Can’t help but feel this is a missed opportunity for what is supposedly the heart of the city and the entertainment district.

  9. Jen says:

    I believe Urban Outfitters is taking over the old HMV spot
    I am so relieved that the Charlie’s Music building will stay put. It’s stunning!
    Ugh another glass building. Woopdee doo. Looks like they are trying to make
    Granville St a new Robson.

  10. I’m not so sure about Urban Outfitters… could be, but my sources tell me a company (that is based in a different US city) has leased the space.

  11. Lindsay says:

    That new building is a shockingly poor design, fully in line with the poor quality of current Vancouver development. The building it replaced was fantastic – all of Granville Street should be protected from the outright property speculation going on around here. We don’t have the demand for condos or office space that would justify this rampant development – even Mark Carney, Bank of Canada governor for christ’s sake, has warned Vancouver about this. According to The Economist Vancouver is now the second most unaffordable city in the world after Hong Kong, and it is precisely real estate development that drives that bubble. In this context Vancouver is failing to fight for its heritage, the type of heritage that attracts lucrative tourism, a lucrative creative sector, and general happiness. But it’s become a quite douchey city that cares far more about its foodiesm, its hockey, its beer and the gym. The dearth of cultural savvy and architectural sensitivity, something every city really needs, is sterilizing this city very quickly. I’m 4th generation Vancouver and am considering leaving.

  12. […] Wednesday I captured the progress of the demolition of two buildings at Robson and Granville which revealed a “ghost sign” on the side of the Charlie’s Music […]

  13. Reddit says:

    Wow, a Harold Lloyd movie poster PAINTED on the wall? This is a treasure! If this was Charlie Chaplin it would be preserved, no doubt. I wonder if we can get the city to listen and consider a way to preserve this piece of history. Who is with me?

  14. Not only has this site been under threat for the last few years, but several other sites along Granville continue to be threatened with redevelopment – this isn’t the last demolition along the stretch in the future, unfortunately.

    We’ve been raising the alarm in various forms since the early 1990s about unprotected heritage resources on Granville; several dating to the late 1880s which *still* aren’t even listed on the City of Vancouver’s Heritage Register.

    Entry from our 2011 Top 10 Endangered Sites:
    http://www.heritagevancouver.org/topten/2011/topten2011_09.html

    Entry form our 2010 Top 10 Endangered Sites:
    http://www.heritagevancouver.org/topten/2010/topten2010_04.html

  15. Brent says:

    Why do we put heritage Status on buildings? It’s an important idea meant to preserve sense of Place and a towns collective memory. There was a history in those buildings that with Vancouver’s youth, there is a dwindling supply of. Buildings like these now just a heap in the dump; we’re also built brick by brick by craftsmen of that day. To put in its place yet another slapdash soulless glass monolith( no craftsmen need apply, conformist engineers only); disposes yet again of an opportunity to build a culture on our brief but rich past and preserve the old City itself, for those who have spent there lives in it, and those attracted to here by it. Granville St has a rich history and we should avoid fulfilling developers wishes to replace it street corner by street corner with cheap conformist modernity. I for one will miss those buildings and the memories they stirred of nights out on Granville in my Youth. For now at least, I’ll have to walk a bit further on and draw on a bit less to recall that sense of Place. For now?

  16. […] is the Charlie’s Music building but the facade will be saved. images can be found on Flickr. Read the Blog Post Image by miss604 This entry was posted in Building and tagged Building, Charlie's, Coming, down, […]

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