Preservation proposed for the Aquilini Empire Center and Vancouver Heritage Foundation office

The City of Vancouver has received a development application for one of the oldest office towers in the city center.

The application includes seismic upgrading and rehabilitation and preservation of the structure and exterior of the standard building.

High Street 510 West Hastings Street is home to the Aquilini Empire and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

The Aquilini family runs real estate development, energy, agriculture and entertainment, including ownership of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a charity created by the City of Vancouver to promote the preservation of cultural heritage.

The plan to seismically upgrade and preserve the 15-story standard building received unanimous support from members of the Vancouver Heritage Commission, an urban advisory group.

The Commission supported the plan for the 1914-era building at a meeting on Monday (November 22).

The standard building is listed in the city’s cultural heritage register, but it has not been designated as a listed property.

Online, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation provides a history of the downtown high-rise building in the center.

This 15-storey Edwardian skyscraper, towering majestically on the corner of the streets of West Hastings and Richard, was built in 1914 and was originally named the Weart Building in honor of its promoter. Designed by Tacoma firm Russell and Babcock in a neo-Gothic style, it was the tallest single-plate office block in town at the time of its inauguration. The original plan proposed a more extensive use of Gothic architectural features than that built.

While the upper floors display neo-Gothic decorations, such as heraldic coats of arms, the base displays classic hybrids, as columns are crowned with urns paired with ionic spirals. The decorative ironworks, like the Birks and Seymour buildings, were supplied by the Chicago Ornamental Iron Company. Although the gothic comb on the upper floors was removed, the original plasterwork from Standard Bank’s former bank hall was preserved along with the unique Cutler Mailbox system in the lavish lobby.

During World War I, Standard Bank Building’s offices were leased to a number of war-related organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross Society. Today, the Standard Building houses the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s office.

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