In the mid-1980's, the District of West Vancouver identified a need for affordable seniors housing. The District concluded that the best way of achieving its goal was to acquire a site and then lease it to a community based housing group. Subsequently, four lots on 14th Street were acquired. The District's original plan envisaged the construction of non-profit housing on the site, but submissions for funding to the BC Housing Management Commission were turned down. Eventually, the District published a request for proposals from interested proponents. The wording of the proposal is summarized below:
“West Vancouver Municipal Council requests submissions for private development of a non-profit non-subsidized housing project for senior citizens. Cooperative ownership, or its equivalent, is required. The 26,135 sq. ft. municipally owned site is proposed to be leased upon a long term (60 years) prepaid basis. Site development criteria includes provision of residential units, predominantly one and two bedrooms, with appropriate amenities for seniors (no care) in a low rise structure up to a density of 1.5 (Floor Area Ratio).”
The successful proponent was Robert Isaac-Renton, a local architect. The architect's first proposal was for a mixed seniors/family project for low income households. Although the exact sequence of events following this proposal is unknown, it was evidently not regarded as feasible on the site for a number of reasons.
The next proposal was for a low income seniors’ project, but at that time, there was no funding for such projects. The notion of a seniors’ equity co-op was devised as a way of combining the dual objectives of developing affordable seniors housing on the site without the requirement for public funding. Although a resource group was involved in the development of Ambleview, its role was minor; basically limited to some public education functions such as explaining the concept of co-operative housing at meetings organized by the architect or the District.
The largest development role was assumed by the architect. In addition to assembling the site and undertaking the proposal call, the District also held a public meeting intended to generate interest in the project's development.
.• 42 suites in a four-storey wood-frame building.
• 7 A-suites (one-bedroom - 589 sq. ft.)
• 8 B-suites (one-bedroom + den - 726 sq. ft.)
• 2 C-suites (one-bedroom + den - 783 sq. ft.)
• 13 D-suites (one-bedroom + den - 852 sq. ft.)
• 12 E-suites (two-bedroom - 925 sq. ft.)
• 42 underground parking spaces.
• The site is 26,136 square feet (0.6 acres), very attractively landscaped.
Ambleview Place is located just two blocks from Marine Drive, the main thoroughfare in West Vancouver, which offers services such as shopping, banking, medical services, and restaurants - all easily accessible on foot, by car, or by public transit.