An 18-storey student rental building being developed by GEC Living is much closer to fruition now, adding much-needed rental units to the supply pipeline of the rental market, which has been particularly tight for students.

GEC Living specializes in developing off-campus rental housing for students, near some of Metro Vancouver's biggest education institutions and/or transit hubs, such as one a 15-minute bus-ride away from Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus, or one in Downtown Vancouver about a 30-minute transit from multiple post-secondary schools.

This latest project will be located at 477 West 42nd Avenue (formerly 441-475 West 42nd Avenue) in Vancouver, less than a block away from the monumental redevelopment of Oakridge Centre, and the Canada Line SkyTrain's Oakridge-41st Avenue Station.

The development application was approved in April 2022. Last week, the City of Vancouver approved the Form of Development for the project, one of the final steps before an official Development Permit is issued.

The site was originally zoned as RS-1 (Residential) with three single-family lots, but an application to rezone the site to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) and consolidate the lots was approved in January 2021.

Gec living oakridge vancouver student rental housing 1 1024x640Site context. (GEC Living / Urban Solutions Architecture)

The building -- officially named GEC Oakridge -- will be 18 storeys including a four-storey podium, with 124 secured market rental units, 29 of which will be allocated for below-market rates. GEC Oakridge will also have one and a half levels of parking, including 291 spaces for bicycles and 43 for vehicles. The rooftop level will serve as an indoor amenity space, in addition to amenity space on the roof of the podium.

"The character of the development expresses a contemporary style of contextual urbanism for a tower/podium form, integrating with the architecture along the Cambie Corridor, while respecting the context of the evolving neighbourhood along W 42nd Ave," Urban Solutions Architecture, who is designing the building, said in the project's Design Rationale.

Gec living oakridge vancouver student rental housing 3

Gec living oakridge vancouver student rental housing 2

Gec living oakridge vancouver student rental housing 4Renderings. (GEC Living / Urban Solutions Architecture)

Aside from the redevelopment of Oakridge Centre mall into the 10-acre, 3,000-home, mixed-use urban living hub Oakridge Park, the surrounding neighbourhood is set to undergo extensive redevelopment as well. A 15-storey mixed-use building has been proposed for the northeast corner of Cambie Street and West 41st Avenue. The row of single-detached homes currently right next to that site is the proposed site of a two-building 439-unit rental development.

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Toby Chu, Chairman and CEO of CIBT Education Group, the parent company of GEC Living, tells STOREYS that GEC was also in discussions this past weekend to acquire a site in the same area of West 41st Avenue. Chu said the site already has a development application tied to it and is near-permit-ready, so construction on the 10-storey rental building -- GEC Langara -- could begin as early as February. Chu did not confirm the address in time for publishing, but there is currently an application for a 10-storey rental building tied to 325-343 West 41st Avenue, at the intersection of Alberta Street, next to the aforementioned two-building development.

Development Projects