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City preparing to open pair of childcare centres on Gastown parkades

The project cost $17.6 million
The view from one of the daycares.

Two adjacent parkades have had their top floors turned from parking spaces to childcare spaces.

Located in Gastown, the project cost $17.6 million to bring 74 new spaces for children on top of parkades at 150 Water St.and 151 West Cordova St. (which are connected by a short bridge over Blood Alley).

"These are the first childcare facilities in Canada to be located atop a parkade, representing an innovative solution to underutilized space and the lack of space for childcare in Vancouver’s downtown core," states the City of Vancouver in a press release.

Of the 74 spots, 24 will be kept for "low-income area families."

The twin childcare centres offer 10,000 sq. ft. of indoor space and 11,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. They also have been designed to meet LEED Gold certification and be net-zero energy buildings.

"(It) is surrounded by breathtaking views of the North Shore and Burrard Inlet." adds the city.

The project was initially approved in 2017 and doubled in 2018. In early January 2019, the budget was estimated to rise from $12.3 million to $14.3 million but that rose to $17.03 million by March of 2019 after more precise cost estimates were submitted, according to reports to city council. In a report from January of 2019 city staff noted the costs were rising due to material costs and the complexity of the project.

"The project has extremely challenging site conditions which impact several design aspects such as structure and security. Passive house requirements have also added to the cost of the project," write staff in the January report.

In an email to Vancouver Is Awesome a city spokesperson stated the final cost was $17.6 million. The bulk of that was $13.5 million for construction, with design costing $2.1 million. Soft costs and upgrading the base buildings were each $1 million.

Money came from two sources; the province and the Union of B.C. Municipalities provided a $1 million grant and Community Amenity Contributions (CAC) covered the rest. CAC's are contributions to the city from property developers paid when the city allows developments to go through via rezoning.

The two centres will be run by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.