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Victoria council approves development catering to residents less dependent on cars

Harris Green neighbourhood will add 162 new rental units by 2023

The transformation of the Harris Green neighbourhood continues as a six-storey, 162-unit market rental building was approved by council at its Feb. 10 meeting.

Developer J. Gordon Enterprises’ project, planned for the southwest corner of Vancouver and View streets, includes 33 studio apartments, 98 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedrooms, seven ground-floor two-bedroom suites and one three-bedroom apartment. Responding to a question about affordability, the applicant told council about 20 per cent of the one-bedroom rentals will go for less than $1,500.

Company vice-president Don Butt said the goal is to provide a practical choice for people at all stages of life and bring housing to an “under-utilized site.”

A variance was granted for a reduction in parking. The plan calls for 30 resident parking stalls, 14 visitor spots and two for Modo car share vehicles – one on the street and one in the parkade. There will also be 202 bike storage spots and a bike-service area.

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While only a handful of people participated in the Feb. 10 public hearing, about half voiced concerns over the reduced parking and how that could squeeze the neighbourhood’s street parking.

The site design includes about 12,500 square feet of outdoor community space, divided between the shared rooftop, a courtyard, and an indoor amenity area with a kitchen, lounge and seating. The courtyard will have plant beds and seating nooks while the roof design includes a sun deck, an outdoor kitchen, a kids play area, garden plots and a putting green.

Streetscape improvements include a boulevard rain garden and three new trees along the View Street side of the building.

J. Gordon proposed including seven adaptable units that could be converted into accessible ones, as requested by prospective tenants. Council secured that with an amendment that also stated any unit conversion would be done at the developer’s expense. Another amendment dealt with the creation of two accessible parking stalls, one solely for residents, that did not affect the parking variance.

Council heard that late 2023 is the most ambitious completion date for the development.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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