Vancouver’s new $155 million Jewish Community Center is moving forward

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

A new development permit application has been submitted for the first phase of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Vancouver’s 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 covers the first of two phases of the community center’s redevelopment. It follows Vancouver City Council’s 2020 approval of the project’s revised site-wide rezoning application seeking taller heights for the second phase’s rental housing.

For the first phase, a new eight-storey community center — spanning 245,000 sq ft of floor area — will be built on the existing surface 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 submitted by Acton Ostry Architects, the new community center includes a new replacement and expanded aquatic center below ground, complete with recreation, training, and therapy pools, and a wellness centre.

Stacked uses of the community center include a new replacement theater with 450 seats, Holocaust Education Centre, library, gallery, office space for community partner organizations and internal administration, lounges and centers for all age groups, and common areas and food services including a cafe .

Gymnasiums and fitness facilities will be situated on the sixth and seventh levels, designed in a way to project outward to accommodate athletic and spectator space.

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

950 West 41st Avenue Vancouver Jewish Community Center

Site plan of the Jewish Community Center redevelopment at 950 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver, with the rental towers (left) and new replacement community center (right). (Acton Ostry Architects)

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

Artistic rendering of the first phase of the new community and recreation hub (left) and the second phase of rental housing towers (right) of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver. The Oakridge bus depot redevelopment is also depicted (bottom). (Acton Ostry Architects)

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

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

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

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

A future development permit application will cover the second phase of the redevelopment, which will involve the demolition of the existing building for the construction of two new towers reaching up to 26 storeys — containing 500 units of secured rental housing for a range of incomes — and an underground parking facility.

Existing condition of the JCC:

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

Existing streetview of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Future condition of the JCC:

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

Future street view of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver. (Acton Ostry Architects)

Existing condition of the JCC:

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

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

Future condition of the JCC:

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

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

In 2021, the provincial government provided the JCC with $25 million towards the cost of building 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 a 2025 completion, and $272 million for the second based on a 2028 completion.

Big changes are planned just across the street as well. Immediately to the north of the JCC site is TransLink’s former Oakridge bus depot, which was recently acquired by international development firm Grosvenor. In 2020, city council approved the rezoning for the 14-acre site — a redevelopment with 1.5 million sq ft of total floor area with 1,630 homes, including 330 social housing units, 180 market rental homes, and 1,120 condominium homes. These homes will be achieved in 17 buildings ranging from four to 26 storeys. There will also be 24,000 sq ft of local-serving retail and restaurant space, a 69-space childcare facility, and a two-acre central public park. Grosvenor intends to commence construction on the first phase of Grosvenor Oakridge, the name of the project, in 2025.

jewish community center of greater vancouver

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

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

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

Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver 950 West 41st Avenue

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

oakridge transit center

2020 model of the Oakridge Transit Center redevelopment, with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver redevelopment also depicted at the top. (James Cheng Architects/Modern Green Canada)

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