Victoria’s skyline could soon be reaching higher

Half of Townline’s Hudson Place project could extend up to 29 storeys high.

At a towering 29 storeys and 84 metres high, Townline’s Hudson Place 1 building would be the tallest in the city.

The proposed $100-million project would be the first to climb higher than Victoria’s current maximum residential building height of 74 metres.

That is, if Victoria council approves the company’s application for a height variance for the building, one of two new structures planned for the Hudson District bordered by Herald, Blanshard and Fisgard streets.

While the increased height would extend the city’s upper limits on buildings, Justin Filuk, Townline’s director of development, hopes the project’s design enhance the city’s skylines.

“I’ve heard people say they don’t want Victoria to turn into a metropolis like Vancouver or Seattle,” he said.

“I think that is a legitimate concern … Victoria is still a small, intimate community.”

Mayor Lisa Helps echoes those concerns but is also looking down the road at Victoria as a 21st-century city.

“People are attracted to Victoria because of its human-scale feeling; we wouldn’t want buildings that interrupt (that),” she said.

The official community plan preserves the small-scale of Old Town, Helps added, while modernizing New Town, an active development area east of Douglas Street.

“Victoria will not become a city of skyscrapers.”

For Filuk, the project isn’t about building further upwards, but rather about good design, livability and creating a good experience for residents, pedestrians and people who work in the neighbourhood.

“[Being the tallest] could last conceivably for a year or two, and then it goes away. Our legacy is that we’re building out; we invested in what was previously a blighted, underdeveloped area and we’ve turned that into a vibrant community,” he said.

Creating that pleasant pedestrian experience, according to Filuk, includes adding mid-block connections between Fisgard and Herald streets, a lower-level plaza, a water feature, lighting and street furniture.

The design for Hudson Place 1 is contemporary, with walls of glass, terraces and greenery on higher levels, and geometric grid patterns mimicking the facade of the old Hudson’s Bay building, which Townline transformed into suites and opened in 2012.

Inside, residents will find such amenities as a fitness centre, yoga studio, a guest suite for visitors, a business centre with meeting rooms, a common kitchen and lounge and hobby rooms.

Pre-sales for one, two and three-bedroom condos is expected to start soon.

Construction is projected to begin next spring. For more information, visit townline.ca.

lauren.boothby

@vicnews.com

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