Vancouver’s New $155 Million Jewish Community Center Moves Forward

The plan to provide Metro Vancouver’s Jewish community with a new and expanded cultural, institutional and recreational center is now underway.

A new development permit application has been filed for the first phase of Greater Vancouver’s Jewish Community Center (JCC) redevelopment of its existing facility at 950 West 41st Avenue, located near the southeast corner of the intersection of Oak Street and West 41st venue.

This application concerns the first of two phases of the redevelopment of the community center. It follows the 2020 Vancouver City Council approval of the revised rezoning application for the entire site of the project, aiming for greater elevations for the second-phase rental properties.

For the first phase, a new eight-storey community center – with a floor area of ​​245,000 m² – will be built on the existing parking lot, immediately east of the existing community center building. This allows the existing community center and its programming to remain operational during construction.

According to the application filed by Acton Ostry Architects, the new community center will include a new underground replacement and expanded underwater center complete with recreational, training and therapy pools, and a wellness center.

Stacked uses of the community center include a new 450-seat replacement theater, Holocaust Education Center, library, gallery, office space for community partner organizations and internal governance, lounges and centers for all age groups, and community areas and food services, including a cafe.

Gymnasiums and fitness facilities will be located on the sixth and seventh floors, designed to project outwards to accommodate athletics and spectators.

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Layout of the first phase of the new Community and Recreation Center (left) and the second phase of rental housing (right) of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

950 West 41st Avenue Vancouver Jewish Community Center

Map of the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Center at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, showing the rental towers (left) and the new replacement Community Center (right). (Acton Ostry Architects)

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Artistic rendering of the first phase of the new Community and Recreation Center (left) and the second phase of rental housing (right) of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center. The Oakridge bus depot redevelopment is also pictured (below). (Acton Ostry Architects)

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Artistic rendering of the first phase of the new Community and Recreation Center of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center, replacing the existing surface parking lot. (Acton Ostry Architects)

The top floor of the building will be dedicated to the Early Childhood Education facility, which will have a childcare capacity for 108 young children – more than double the existing childcare capacity of 50 children. This is in addition to the new replacement space for JCC’s existing after-school program for 100 primary school age children. The south side of this Early Childhood Education floor will be a dedicated outdoor play area.

The application notes that while the new community center is intended to be an open and welcoming hub, it has also been designed in a way that addresses “the important security considerations and amenities common to Jewish institutions.” A world-renowned security consultant provided input to the building’s design to achieve the delicate balance between optimizing security and meeting the needs of the public community center.

A future building permit application will cover the second phase of the redevelopment, which involves the demolition of the existing building for the construction of two new towers of up to 26 floors — containing 500 secured rental units for different incomes — and an underground parking garage .

Existing state of the JCC:

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Existing street view of Greater Vancouver’s Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Future State of the JCC:

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Future streetscape of Greater Vancouver’s Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Existing state of the JCC:

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

The layout of the existing building of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Future State of the JCC:

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

The two phases of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center redevelopment. (Acton Ostry Architects)

In 2021, the provincial government provided the JCC $25 million towards the construction costs of the project. At the time, the total cost of the redevelopment was pegged at $427 million, with $155 million for the first phase based on completion in 2025 and $272 million for the second based on completion in 2028.

Also across the street, big changes are in the pipeline. Immediately north of the JCC site is TransLink’s former bus depot in Oakridge, recently acquired by international development company Grosvenor. In 2020, the city council approved the rezoning of the 14-hectare site – a redevelopment with 1.5 million square meters of total floor space with 1,630 homes, including 330 social rental homes, 180 market rental homes and 1,120 condominium homes. These homes are being realized in 17 buildings ranging from four to 26 floors. There will also be 24,000 square feet of locally serving retail and restaurant space, a 69-square-foot childcare space, and a two-acre central public park. Grosvenor plans to begin construction on the first phase of Grosvenor Oakridge, the project’s name, in 2025.

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center

Artistic rendering of the first phase of the new Community and Recreation Center (right) and the second phase of rental housing towers (left) of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Artistic rendering of the first phase of the new Community and Recreation Center (right) and the second phase of rental housing towers (left) of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center 950 West 41st Avenue

Layout of the redevelopment of the Greater Vancouver Jewish Community Center. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Oakridge Transit Center

2020 model of the Oakridge Transit Center redevelopment, topped by the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver. (James Cheng Architects/Modern Green Canada)

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