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Latest Brickhouse proposal pays tribute to Hogan’s Alley

The proposal for a mixed-use development on the site of the Brickhouse bar at Main and Union is back, but reduced by four floors.

The height has been reduced from 150 ft. to 114 ft. (11 storeys), and the number of strata units reduced from 99 to 75. The architect remains the same, Studio One Architecture.

728-796 Main Street rendering rear
Rendering showing Union Street and laneway entrance. Credit: Studio One Architecture
728-796 Main Street Union Street rendering
View of Union Street frontage. Credit: Studio One Architecture
728-796 Main Street current condition
Current condition. Credit: Studio One Architecture
728-796 Main Street northeast rendering
View looking northeast. Credit: Studio One Architecture

There will be 19 units of social housing on levels two and three, and the social housing indoor and outdoor amenity spaces have been expanded, although the project still has a so-called “poor door” — a separate entrance and lobby for social housing residents from the strata residents.

Over 30 per cent of the strata units will be two bedrooms or larger.

Built like a Brickhouse

Most Vancouverites know the project site as the location of the Brickhouse, an iconic bar on Main Street. The building was built at the turn of the century, and renovated in the mid-1960s. It has served as a popular watering hole for decades. Although it will be demolished, the developer plans to save elements of the façade and incorporate them into the design of the new ground floor retail units.

Brickhouse Main Street demolished
Elements of the façade of the Brickhouse bar will be incorporated into the new design. Credit: Studio One Architecture

Tribute to Hogan’s Alley planned

The development site was part of Hogan’s Alley, a popular neighbourhood for Black Canadians at the turn of the century, many of whom worked as porters at the nearby Great Northern Railway Station at Terminal and Main.

At its height in the 1940s, the black population in Strathcona was approximately 800, according to Heritage Vancouver.

In the 1960s, much of the neighbourhood was demolished to make way for the Georgia Street viaduct project, which was meant to be the first phase of a freeway network connecting Highway 1 to downtown Vancouver. The project was never completed due to massive community protests led by Chinatown and Strathcona residents.

Part of the development site, now a parking lot, was once home to Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, as explained in this video from Black Strathcona.

It’s well known that the grandmother of musician Jimi Hendrix — Nora Hendrix — worked at Vie’s Chicken and Steak House for many years.

207 Union Street Jimi Hendrix shrine
The Jimi Hendrix shrine existing on the site. Credit: Studio One Architecture

Because of this, a small building on the development site has served as an unofficial Jimi Hendrix Shrine for decades.

The small building will be demolished to make way for the development, but elements of its façade will be incorporated into the new building, on the corner of Union Street and the laneway.

Hogan's Alley tribute
A tribute to Hogan’s Alley that will be incorporated into the new development.
Hogan's Alley tribute
A tribute to Hogan’s Alley that will be incorporated into the new development.

Overall, the project will include four levels of underground parking with 67 parking space and 195 bicycle spaces.

A community open house will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the Chinese Cultural Centre’s Multi-Purpose Hall, 50 East Hastings Street, Vancouver.

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