The group that’s long been in the process of overhauling two blocks in Vic West with housing and hotels has announced millions of dollars for an affordable housing site in their recently updated project proposal.
If the proposal is approved by Victoria council, the donation of a $15-million site by Bayview Place developers Ken and Patricia Mariash aims to create at least 180 affordable units in a building at the southeast corner of Esquimalt Road and Catherine Street. The Greater Victoria Housing Society (GVHS) would operate the site.
The developers, in a news release, called the donation the largest GVHS has ever received. The society’s executive director said they’re excited to partner in building the much-needed homes.
“Land is the number one constraint to developing new affordable housing,” Virginia Holden said in the release. “This once-in-a-lifetime land donation will provide a significant project that will build a stronger community in Victoria West.”
The developers resubmitted their proposal for the Bayview Place/Roundhouse community to the City of Victoria in June. Their release claimed the project may not be able to proceed unless it’s approved soon by council, as they highlighted rising construction costs and interest rates.
The project is a comprehensive reimagining of the area within Esquimalt Road, Catherine Street, Kimta Road and Tyee Road. The updated plans call for almost 2,000 units across seven condo buildings that are now proposed to range from 21 to 29 storeys – after heights were reduced from 2021 plans.
The proposal, currently being reviewed by staff before it goes to council, envisions four mixed-use condos, one hotel/condo building, two residential condos, one rental apartment, the 18-floor affordable apartment and the rehabilitation of three Roundhouse train station heritage buildings.
The first phase of the project, the Bayview Hilltop, is almost complete. That project consists of three condominium towers and a 161-unit retirement home that’s still under construction. That work also included a new off-leash dog run, streetscape improvements, remediation of contaminated soils and new landscaping.
The developers propose $25 million in amenities within the next phase, including a central pedestrian “turntable” plaza that will be the “focal point of community gathering,” improvements to Lime Bay and other city parks and a seven-metre E&N Trail easement.
The developers say the new community would help support the 20,000 additional residents expected in the next two decades and fits the city’s goal of keeping growth close to the downtown core.
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