105 Keefer Street, Vancouver
Beedie Group says proposed development brings life to Chinatown
The Beedie Group is defending its recent development application for 105 Keefer Street after the Chinatown Action Group said the scaled-back proposal still didn't meet the needs of the community.
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- New developments upset Chinatown residents concerned about heritage
"This particular site is an empty vacant parking lot. We're not displacing buildings, homes, businesses, etc.," said Houtan Rafii, vice president of residential development for the Beedie Development Group.
"It is a derelict brown field service station that has been empty for years," said Rafii.
The group just held its third open house to get feedback on the proposed 13-storey building that comprises of 119 market units plus 25 social housing units dedicated for seniors.
The Chinatown Action Group has asked for 100 per cent social housing.
'People need to live, shop, socialize'
The spokesperson for the neighbourhood group, Sophie Fung, said the area is of great cultural importance to Chinese Canadians and to Vancouverites and that's why she and others are calling for a neighbourhood-wide halt to all new developments.
Rafii said he shares the same concerns as Fung when it comes to keeping Chinatown's heritage alive, but that it is important to create commerce and activity to keep the area buzzing.
"For Chinatown to be successful people have to return, need to shop, need to live and need to socialize," said Rafii.
The development also offers a cultural space for seniors but is only available to them for 10 years.
Rafii said that agreement was made because the seniors weren't sure of their long-term ambitions, but the group would be happy to make the space available for a longer period if desired.