The previously industrial area of downtown Vancouver known as Yaletown has seen a complete transformation in the decades following Expo 86. As the land available for redevelopment in the area is becoming rare, increased pressure for density has been put on the few remaining lots.

The south area of Yaletown is quickly developing, image by anonymous0024

The western half of the city block surrounded by Pacific, Richards, Drake, and Homer Streets is currently seeing a total revamp, as the low-rise structures that previously stood there have been demolished to make way for two brand new residential towers. A photo update provided by our Forum members shows both structures making their way towards street level.

The Charleson, designed by DIALOG Architects, image courtesy of Onni Group

Although both buildings are being built at the same time, each of them is part of an independent development. To the south, at 1396 Richards Street, the Onni Group is erecting a 125-metre condominium tower designed by Dialog Architects. The Charleson will soon add 269 units to the area with a nine-storey mid-rise building along Richards Street and a 43-storey tower featuring unique floor plates at the corner of Richards and Pacific Streets.

The Charleson as seen in late October 2015, image by mcminsen

Indeed, the tower portion will only house 100 dwellings with a maximum of three units per floor, all boasting two to four bedrooms and ranging from 93 to 325 square metres in size. The 169 remaining residences will be located in the adjacent mid-rise building along with the rooftop amenities. 

498 Drake Street, designed by DIALOG Architects, image courtesy of Wall Financial Corporation

Immediately to the north, another development designed by Dialog Architects but developed by Wall Financial Corporation is making its way towards ground level as well. Named for its 498 Drake Street address, this housing complex will bring an additional 300 residential units in a 145-metre, 45-storey tower located at the intersection of Drake and Richards, with a five-storey podium along Richards.

"Milky Way," public art designed by Dialog Architects

While the balconies on the west side of the building will consist of yellow glass as seen in the renderings, the partially blank east wall will become a public art wall. Entitled "Milky Way," it will be made out of 80 wall-mounted light fixtures illuminating the whole height of the stair core wall, with the density of low-wattage lights intensifying as they approach the top level. 

498 Drake Street as it reaches grade in late October, image by mcminsen

While the construction of both these developments proceeds independently, it will be a few more months before they start impacting the cityscape around them. In the meantime, additional information and renderings can be found in our Database files for each project of phase 1, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads for The Charleson and 498 Drake Street, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page.