There’s a reason why the ground floor outside may look like a bit of a train station platform.

It’s because the building being proposed is on the site of what is described as the first train station in Vancouver.

The development at 711 Alexander Street is a project by PortLiving in Railtown, the district east of the downtown area, which is the city’s traditional hub for industry.

“The ground floor entry and elevation is a modern interpretation of the station platform, with a long glass canopy, steel columns and maximum street transparency signaling it as a place to visit,” according to the project’s designer, Formosis Architecture.

In a design rationale document that forms part of the development application, Formosis recalled that “Alexander Street and surroundings were home to many factories and businesses with a long and rich history in early 19th Century Vancouver”.

“As ‘Railtown’ is entering a renaissance in the 21st Century, this iconic location is set to play its part,” Formosis wrote.

Commercial real estate company Avison Young prepared a brochure for the development that will be called Railtown Station.

“Railtown Station was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s very first train station in Vancouver, and Alexander Street was home to many factories and businesses with rich historic and sentimental value,” according to Avison Young.

The project is a seven-storey, mixed-use building. It will have retail on ground level, manufacturing on the second to sixth floors, and office on the top floor.

Originally Published in Straight